Facebook is bringing 3D Touch to its Timeline, the company says – meaning that users of Apple’s latest devices, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, will soon be able to press on links, profiles and more, in order to preview content without having to navigate away from their current spot. This previewing feature, dubbed “peek and pop,” was introduced last fall on Apple’s new smartphones, where it was touted as a way to add another dimension to the iPhone’s multi-touch interface.
Instead of just tapping, swiping and pinching, 3D Touch takes advantage of the new hardware’s pressure-sensitive screen to allow users to hard-press on items to preview content and then optionally act on it.
For example, today you can “peek” at emails from your inbox with a light press, then press a little harder to “pop” into them.
To date, a number of app developers have introduced support for 3D Touch as a function that can be accessed via their app icons. That is, when you hard-press on the icon on your homescreen you’re offered a variety of shortcuts for that app in a pop-up window that appears. In Facebook’s case, it added 3D Touch support to its iOS application back in October, offering users the ability to take or upload photos and videos, or write a status update, via this menu of shortcuts.
Arguably, 3D Touch is more useful within apps than on the app icon. Though studies on 3D Touch user adoption have yet to surface, it seems likely that many people forget that these app icon shortcuts exist, and continue to use their apps as they would normally. However, when you’re actually within an application and tapping on content, it’s easier to remember that 3D Touch is an option. I find myself using it a lot more within email but almost never remember to hard-press on my app icons.
To some extent, 3D Touch still suffers today because not all iOS developers have rolled out support for 3D Touch for their applications, so you’re not always sure if the feature will work. Without universal support across the entirety of your homescreen, it can be difficult to adjust your ingrained behaviors.
That’s why implementing 3D Touch within Facebook’s Timeline sounds a lot more practical, I believe.
Says Facebook, you’ll soon be able to lightly press on a Facebook story or profile to view a preview, then hard-press to “pop” to see the full story or profile.
This feature will work with web links, profiles, Facebook Pages, Facebook Groups, Facebook Events, photos, profile pictures, and cover photos. Effectively, that’s the majority of the content that users on Facebook will care about, and such broad support on the world’s most-used app could help push user adoption of the 3D Touch feature forward.
“We are excited to start rolling out support for 3D Touch in our iOS app so people can quickly and easily peek into a preview of anything they are interested in on Facebook, and pop into that content to see more,” a Facebook spokesperson said, confirming the addition.
Note that you might not have 3D Touch just yet, however. Facebook says it’s just beginning to roll out 3D Touch on the Timeline to a “small group” of people, and will later expand the roll out more broadly in the “coming months.”