I'm designing a feature for a iPhone app where the user can drag and drop an element horizontally through the viewport. In order to start dragging the user would press and hold on the element for it to break free from the timeline. This is differentiate it from a scrolling swipe...

However... I just got my hands on an iPhone 6s with the 3D touch and it's just awesome. My idea was to use 3D touch to make the element break free and become draggable so that the user won't have to wait the time of a long press.

I noticed that Pinterest uses 3D touch to open the context menu of a pinned object on devices with 3D touch and long press for older devices. When the user 3D touch an object it also makes a "peek". I was surprised to see that you can't use long press on iPhone 6s to open the context menu.

What would be the reason for this?

Couldn't they just have kept the long press on iPhone 6s as well?

Maybe it's a way of forcing the users to use 3D touch?

And the main question: Would it be a good idea to use 3D touch as a quicker way of make things break free and become draggable?

I can't see any other downside than the fact that you can't use that interaction for anything else than that.

  • This seems sensible, but it may be hard to get a feel for how users will adopt this paradigm, given how new it is. You probably need to do your own user testing.
    – user31143
    Nov 4, 2015 at 10:53
  • Absolutely! I find it super interesting cause the the technology opens up for so many new features, yet I haven't seen that many. And maybe that's because it's to connected to the Peek and Pop feature? Nov 4, 2015 at 11:01

1 Answer 1


Yes, implement this new feature in your apps. But think of some use cases:

  1. Use it as an enhancement, not as a requirement.

3D Touch should be an enhancement to the user experience, not a requirement to achieving a user task.

  1. Use similar actions for long press and 3D touch, in case, the 3D Touch won't work.
    For example:
    3D Touch on a Link will preview the website (Safari). So if the 3D Touch don't work, the user will visit the website.

So your goal would fit perfectly here.

A important aspect of why you should it's feature is, that the app developer determine if the function will have success or not.

If most apps will not in fact support 3D Touch, the lack of consistent results may make users rely less and less on the gesture. This is what happened with the Menu and Search physical buttons on the initial Android phones: because apps used them inconsistently, users ended up ignoring them most of the time.

Take a look in this article by nngroup about the 3D Touch, where I taken all the quotes.

  • Yeah, it should definitely be a enhancement and not a requirement. It'll be like a quicker long press. Thanks for the answer, just finished reading the article. Great read. Nov 4, 2015 at 15:36

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