In a galaxy long ago and far away — which is to say 2015, the year Apple launched the iPhone 6s — Apple debuted a new iOS interface called 3D Touch, a feature that uses the iPhone’s pressure-sensitive surface to help you view, navigate, and control some aspects of the device’s apps and features. You could use it to evoke an app’s Quick Actions, preview notifications, operate actions from the Control Center, and “peek and pop” with certain apps without having to launch them.
3D Touch was used in the iPhone 6s, 7, 8, X, and XS models before being discontinued. It’s also present on MacBook touchpads and on the Apple Watch. While some people were able to use 3D Touch to their advantage, and will profoundly miss it, others found it unintuitive at best and annoying at worst.
With iOS 13, Apple has ditched 3D Touch, replacing it with something that feels somewhat similar, called Haptic Touch. The difference between 3D Touch and Haptic Touch is that the former responds to different levels of pressure with different responses and features while the latter does not distinguish between the force or intensity of pressure but rather the length of a finger press. This call and response depends on the pressure sensitivity built into the iPhone screen, so depending on which iPhone model you own, you will get one or the other or both. 3D Touch is a hardware-based feature because it is paired with pressure-sensitive screens. Haptic Touch is software-based.
For example, the new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro substitute 3D Touch with Haptic Touch. As on the iPhone XR, the haptic feedback consists of a subtle vibration in response to the long press. Older models with touch-sensitive glass may still retain the original 3D Touch feature. Below is what appears on my iPhone 6s on iOS 13.
Regardless of whether the touch response is 3D or haptic, some people hate both equally, and could never find or get the hang of the feature’s light-medium-firm press subtlety, or did not find the results edifying. If that’s you, there is a way to rid your phone of its constant responses to the pressure of your errant fingers. Here’s how to do it.
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap on General.
- Tap on Accessibility.
- Tap on 3D & Haptic Touch.
- Toggle 3D Touch off.
Once disabled, you will no longer be bothered by a vibrating phone every time you happen to touch the glass or the alerts and menus that may accompany it, depending on where you pressed. You can handle your phone to your heart’s content without triggering any unexpected actions.
And of course, if you find yourself pining away for the feature after all, it’s easy enough to just toggle it back on again.