Living With the iPhone 11 Pro Max: Missing 3D Touch a Little

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It may seem like a small thing, but I do actually miss 3D Touch now that it’s gone from the iPhone. I understand the need for Apple to unify the interfaces across their devices. I understand that this move freed up some space that was used for a bigger battery and also simplified the display, likely cutting the cost of the iPhone’s bill of material. These are all important things. However, for those of us who actually used 3D Touch, this is a small but noticeable step backwards.

There are a couple of things that stand out in my everyday usage. First off, while Haptic Touch replaces the home screen shortcut, peek and pop features that 3D Touch used to handle, it is slower. It is a long press, rather than a pressure-sensitive action. That makes Haptic Touch noticeably slower and it just bogs the experience down slightly.

This is not that big of a deal. However, when you consider how fast the rest of the iOS interface is, it stands out.

I actually use these features a lot for shortcuts to certain functions, such as jumping straight to my route to Work or Home from the Google Maps icon on my Home Screen. I also use it to preview emails. The benefits old the old 3D Touch may not be discoverable, but can be really handy once you do. Now there are all just a little slower to react.

The 3D Touch feature I really miss is the ability to press into the keyboard and move the cursor around the screen for editing (see the photo at the top for an example). I used this one a LOT for editing notes, emails, articles and more and noticed its absence very quickly yesterday.

Apple did replace this feature with new cursor navigation and selection gestures in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. I went over these new features in an article a few weeks ago. However, they aren’t as easy to use on the iPhone’s smaller screen. Also, while I am usually typing on a Bluetooth keyboard on the iPad and don’t have my hands on the screen anyway, I always have my hands on the iPhone’s screen and keyboard. That made pressing on the keyboard and moving the cursor very easy. Now I have to leave the keyboard, grab the cursor and move it directly.

Again, this is not a deal-breaker by any means, but it is a significant change in how I’ve done things on iOS for a few years now. I’ll get used to it, but as with the delay in using Haptic Touch, losing 3D Touch entirely is a step backwards for iOS in favor of unifying the phone with the iPad and Watch. It’s less a knock on a specific phone than the direction Apple has decided to go, but since the iPhones 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are the first to be saddled with this change, I figured I needed to point this out while doing my review series.


James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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