3D Touch finger pressing screen image 001

iOS 9 has brought out a new feature for iPads called easy text selection which lets you slide two fingers on the screen to turn the keyboard into a trackpad of sorts. While in this mode, you can control cursor movement and select chunks of text with precision.

Thanks to 3D Touch, you can bring up this trackpad-esque functionality on Apple’s new iPhone 7 in order to easily select and manipulate text with great precision, here’s how.

How to turn iPhone 7 keyboard into a trackpad with 3D Touch

Step 1: Launch any app on your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus and tap on the text entry field to bring up the software keyboard.

Step 2: Simply press firmly on the keyboard to enable the software trackpad mode.

Tip: If you want, you can control 3D Touch sensitivity to either require less or more pressure on the screen.

While in this mode, you can do the following:

  • Drag your finger around to move the cursor.
  • Press harder to select text.
  • Toggle between cursor movement and text selection at any time by pressing again deeper.

This is yet another example why 3D Touch is not the new right-click or long-tap. Without the ability to sense varying degrees of pressure it would have been impossible to toggle between cursor movement and text selection without lifting your finger off the screen.

Pressing the keyboard to make it behave just like a trackpad works within stock apps such as Notes, Mail and Messages, in addition to third-party apps that support standard text entry.

easy text selection 3d touch

Read more about 3D Touch

If you like this little tip, share it on social media.

You’re more than welcome to shoot us feedback and tutorial ideas of your own at [email protected].

  • RubbaNeck

    Guess I’m the only one having problems with Live Photos not previewing when peeking or scrolling through camera roll? I hate to be annoying and post the same question in 4 different posts, but I’m getting desperate.

    • TheShade247

      I had this issue aswell, but after updating to 9.0.1 its working fine now

      • RubbaNeck

        Interesting. I didn’t notice if it was working on 9.0, which my phone had pre installed. Guess I’m going to have to do a restore :/

  • ready1take1

    Once again….jailbreak inspired ios features. Where would iOS be if it weren’t for jailbreaking?

    • TheShade247

      Then they would’ve copied android. Oh wait android also copied jailbreak

    • Fanboy 

      I don’t really think Apple copied the JB community on most features. It was more so that the JB community always gets around to creating these things first because a lot of these features are common sense but Apple does love to take their sweet time to implement. Things like quick reply, dragging around videos, notification center, etc.

  • battosai

    Thanks very much i tried to find this feature with no success

    • Rowan09

      Unfortunately I believe it’s only on the iPad.

    • weztimonial

      3d touch the spacebar

  • Bobdole

    To be honest the “press harder to select text” feature doesn’t work like that for me… or at least i’m not sure how it works…

    To make it work reliably, i stay on the first level of 3d touch and press 2 times, a little bit harder

    • RubbaNeck

      I was having the same issue then figured out how make it work every time.

      Initiate it then let up on 3D Touch but keep your finger on the screen. It does not need constant pressure to move the cursor. Then when you want to highlight press again.

      • Bobdole

        You are right. Thanks for the tip !

      • RubbaNeck

        No sweat 🙂

      • djr12

        Would’ve taken me a decade to figure that out. Thanks!

      • askep3

        Do you do that in other places where 3D Touch has three levels? Or only the keyboard?

      • RubbaNeck

        Seems like the keyboard is where that technique works best.

      • askep3

        K, thanks!

      • Steven Gouws

        Thank you for this information. I was trying to figure it out for a while.

      • RubbaNeck

        No problem:)

  • Rowan09

    I remember people saying “3D touch” was just a gimmick but it really isn’t at all.

  • Arsanny Lintang

    “Pressing the keyboard to make it behave just like a trackpad works within stock apps such as Notes, Mail and Messages, in addition to third-party apps that support standard text entry.” This kind of feature should be available for all iPhones in my opinion.

  • Felipe Queiroz Drumond

    This feature is a little buggy. If you move your finger before pressing the screen, it simply doesn’t work. To make it work, I need to press vertically before pressing it.
    Without a new screen, some tweaks do a better job. What a shame Apple!

  • Is there a tweakto disable this on the 6S? I use Swipe Selection so i have no need for it. Having it on makes it take at least 3-4 times to get the spacebar to press while typing.. So typing sucks on the 6S