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Where to find the iPhone XR's hidden shortcuts

You just have to long-press on these spots on your iPhone XR to find some hidden tricks.

The White and Product (RED) iPhone XR in Apple's Sydney store.
Ian Knighton/CNET

The iPhone XR ($479 at Amazon) doesn't have 3D Touch, a feature that adds a pressure sensitive screen to recent iPhones ($706 at Amazon). Users could press on a display to do things like preview links, trigger app shortcuts or view a list of actions to take on an email.

Now playing: Watch this: iPhone XR: It's the iPhone you should buy

With the iPhone XR, 3D Touch is nowhere to be found. Instead, the phone has Haptic Touch. The feature is similar, but instead of relying on pressure, a long press is all that's required.

But Haptic Touch isn't as widespread throughout the operating system. For example, pressing on a link is no longer possible. App shortcuts, such as pressing on the Facebook app to quickly create a new post, is also no longer possible.

There are currently four places where you can use Haptic Touch on the iPhone XR.

Lock screen

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

On the iPhone XR lock screen, you'll find a shortcut to the flashlight and camera. These two icons use Haptic Touch. Turn on the flashlight with a long-press, after which you'll feel a vibration under your finger. Repeat the long-press to turn the flashlight off. The same goes for the camera — long-press on the icon to launch the camera app.

Control Center

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Another spot where you can use Haptic Touch is in Control Center. Access Control Center with a swipe down from the top-right corner of the display.

Most of the shortcuts in Control Center I tested used Haptic Touch. For example, a long-press on the camera icon brings up a list of options for the camera app. The same goes for the timer shortcut. Do Not Disturb also brings up options for you to dictate when you want to disable DND.

The spacebar

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Need to fix up some text? Haptic Touch can be used on the space bar to activate the cursor, making it easier to edit messages or text. You'll need to long-press the spacebar whenever you're typing, after which you'll feel the haptic feedback, and be able to drag your finger across the screen to move the cursor.

It's a bit tricky to trigger, but once you get the hang of it you should be fine. The key, I think, is to make sure when you place your finger on the space bar that you keep it still. Do not move it until you feel your phone vibrate.


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

When the iPhone XR first launched, there wasn't a way to preview notifications on the lock screen or in Notification Center. With the release of iOS 12.1.1, that's changed. With the update installed, you can now long-press on a notification until you hear a click and feel a tap. Lift your finger to expand the alert to read more information and take action. 

iPhone XR review: The best iPhone value in years

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Originally published Oct. 26.
Update, Dec. 5: Added Notifications section