iPhone 6s has a hidden 3D Touch feature: zoom


Early buyers of Apple’s new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus discovered that settings for 3D Touch were buried within the Accessibility section of the Settings app, and very few in number: turn on/turn off, adjust sensitivity, and test the feature. But it turns out that there’s a hidden 3D Touch setting that’s disabled by default — Peek Zoom. Here’s how to find it, how it works, and who will want to use it…


Peek Zoom is hidden within Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom, and to activate it, you need to take two steps: turn on Zoom (which you’ll need to double-tap three fingers to activate/deactivate), then turn on Show Controller. When you press hard on the Zoom Controller, you’ll notice that the entire screen zooms in, then zooms out when you release pressure. A setting called Zoom Region can restrict the zoomed-in area to a small, movable window if you prefer.


Apple’s addition of Peek Zoom is a blessing for users with reduced vision, as it makes enlarging screen content as easy as pressing and releasing an on-screen button — previously something that required three-finger gestures that sometimes weren’t detected accurately by the iPhone’s display. The Zoom Controller is necessary for Peek Zoom because it creates a guaranteed circle on the screen that can work as a 3D Touch pressure point regardless of whatever else is being displayed.


To prevent it from being too much of a distraction for users, Apple enables the Zoom Controller’s “idle visibility” to be reduced to a nearly invisible 5% to a fully opaque 100% with a slider; when the Controller is dragged around, it becomes visible, but otherwise — including during 3D Touch presses — remains as transparent as you prefer.

For more 3D Touch features, check out our video below:

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  1. Josh Chace (@JOSHinHD) - 7 years ago

    It’s not exactly “hidden” if it’s under General Settings, now is it?

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 7 years ago

      The only way it becomes evident is if you read a line of small text found outside of the 3D Touch settings, which is the reason it hasn’t been widely reported upon.

  2. airmanchairman - 7 years ago


    Smartphones are inching into a second era of touch screen functionality…

    Will it be called, borrowing from the MIDI/Synthesizer age of the 80’s, the AfterTouch era?

  3. Michael Lichtensteiger - 7 years ago

    The are another hidden feature. If you press the iPhone 6s screen on the right side, you can open directly the program switcher or task manager (I don’t know the exact name).

    • yuniverse7 - 7 years ago

      I can’t get it to work. where on the “right side” were you speaking of?

      • Michael Lichtensteiger - 7 years ago

        Ahhh sorry! I the other right… you have to press the screen on the LEFT side!

  4. Stetson - 7 years ago

    I could only get the touch controller to toggle between unzoomed and the zoom setting set in the popup slider. You’re saying you were able to get it to dynamically zoom more/less based on pressure?

  5. srgmac - 7 years ago

    3D Touch seems like an amazing feature — which begs the question, why the F is it not present in the iPad Pro? That would seem like the PERFECT device to use it with! Apple doesn’t make a whole lot of sense sometimes.

    • mikhailt - 7 years ago

      If you look at iFixit teardown, the 3D Touch sensor bumped the weight of the touchscreen module by 15g for 6s and more than 20g for 6S +. If you scale it to iPad or iPad Pro, the weight might be too much to handle right now. iPad Pro is already heavy as it is.

      I suspect they’re working on shrinking it down or optimizing it for the large screen and simply can’t get it done this year and will put it on iPad Air 3 next year before they put it on iPad Pro 2, which I suspect won’t come out until 2017.

      • srgmac - 7 years ago

        Seriously? There are tablets out there with way more advanced and heavier touch screens than the iPad pro. With the Apple Pencil, it’s the stylus itself that is sensing the pressure, not the display. Plus they’ve had over a year to design it…Sounds like a cop out to me. Plus how do you know the iPad pro is so heavy? I still have the original iPad, and my mom has an iPad 3 — compared to the iPad Air, those are both like bricks; and no one really complained when they came out. I mean, a few nitpickers complained about the iPad 3, but it was not the majority.

      • mikhailt - 7 years ago

        Apple has already announced the specs for iPad Pro including weight here: http://www.apple.com/ipad-pro/specs/

        As for other touch screens, no one else has 3D Touch driving behind their tablet screen, remember the sensors itself is the one adding weight, not the panel. It is a ~13 screen, adding too much weight on back of the panel might not work.

        However you do have a point with Apple Pencil, they could have simulated the same 3D Touch actions with the stylus. I wouldn’t mind using the stylus to do the shortcuts.

      • airmanchairman - 7 years ago

        @mikhailt Good point about the Apple Pencil. I strongly suspect that when a new hardware variant of the iPad Pro comes to market with sensors and haptics supporting 3D Touch, the current model will be kept abreast of the latest features by software updates and enhancements to the Apple Pencil.

        Or more likely, just as iPhone 5S users can use Apple Pay if the purchase an Apple Watch to go with their Touch ID enabled handset, 3D Touch will become available to iPad Pro version 1 users with the purchase of a newer version of the iPad Pencil.

  6. Thank You! I bought this phone (6S Plus) expecting Apple to find ways to implement 3D touch with accessibility. This makes full screen zooming more effective and usable. These are the things that create such a success for iPhone, paying attention to the details. It makes peoples lives better.

  7. Tinny - 7 years ago

    I use this on my iPhone6 with 100% and low brightness filter, associated with three clicks, for an added lower brightness at night

  8. DigitalBerg - 7 years ago

    Nice feature! I wish this feature comes with all Apps.