How to Use the Virtual Trackpad on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max

One of the more useful actions that 3D Touch makes possible is pressing an iPhone's onscreen keyboard to turn it into a virtual trackpad. If you ‌3D Touch‌, the keyboard turns blank and morphs into a trackpad that allows you to quickly move the cursor on the screen through the text you've written.


This popular gesture is useful because it allows you to make quick edits without having to reach up and tap the display. However, in its latest crop of devices, Apple has replaced ‌3D Touch‌ with Haptic Touch, and the way the virtual trackpad activates has changed slightly.

On iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, you have to press and hold on the spacebar to bring up the trackpad. In other words, pressing just anywhere on the keyboard no longer works.

It's a small adjustment, but it's worth highlighting in case you tried to activate the virtual trackpad on your new ‌iPhone‌ in the traditional way and wondered why it wasn't working. Note that the gesture functions similarly on all Apple devices that lack ‌3D Touch‌, including the iPhone XR and all models of iPad.

Related Roundups: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro


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12 weeks ago


RIP 3D Touch. But hello beautiful new iPhone 11 Pro!


I fear this is the logic that encourages Apple to make these moves without reservation.
Rating: 7 Votes
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12 weeks ago
A big step backwards for many of us. Just have to use the iPad muscle memory for this feature. Practicing on my max, this is a far slower way to do a quick edit or highlight.
Rating: 7 Votes
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12 weeks ago
FYI, if you tap with another finger on the "trackpad" while doing this you can also select text.
Rating: 6 Votes
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12 weeks ago
A real shame — gestures like this showed the potential 3D Touch had.

I guess the talking point an Apple exec gave a couple years ago about 3D Touch being a long term investment and something they really believe in was just a bunch of baloney.


FYI, if you tap with another finger on the "trackpad" while doing this you can also select text.


Thank you! This answered my biggest question.
Rating: 4 Votes
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12 weeks ago
You can’t highlight words anymore with it.
Rating: 3 Votes
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12 weeks ago
So basically it’s an inferior 3D Touch. The beauty of 3D Touch is that it allows for more function options in addition to press-and-hold. You can have 3D Touch do one thing and press-hold do another.
Rating: 3 Votes
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12 weeks ago
The only one 3D Touch gesture I'm going miss for a long long time.
Rating: 3 Votes
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12 weeks ago


Did I miss something? That’s not exclusive to iPhone 11, I have it on my X


Yes, you missed the last paragraph.

"It's a small adjustment, but it's worth highlighting in case you tried to activate the virtual trackpad on your new iPhone in the traditional way and wondered why it wasn't working. Note that the gesture functions similarly on all Apple devices that lack 3D Touch, including the iPhone XR and all models of iPad."

This means your X has 3D touch, and these are instructions for those going from an X (or Xs) to an 11 that no longer has 3D touch. Noting the slightly different way of activating the same feature that's available across all phones and iPads, since habits can be hard to change.
Rating: 2 Votes
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12 weeks ago


Also known as: How to Use the Virtual Trackpad on iPads

I use two fingers for the trackpad on the iPad
Rating: 2 Votes
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12 weeks ago


Lol. No. I'm pretty sure it has more to do with the fact that 3D Touch has existed for 5 years and not a single meaningful application for it has arisen in that entire time.
- 99% of it can (and should) be accomplished with long press instead.
- What few things actualized used the pressure sensitivity were gimmicks.

This one here (text selection) was the single meaningful thing that used the hardware, and it came directly from Apple. Despite 5 years of availability to developers, they did nothing with it. Nothing worth keeping or writing home about.

That makes it a dog. Dedicated hardware that dictates several design, engineering, and manufacturing concerns...for one measly feature. Nope. Out. Time for something new.

Pretty sure many people who made use of 3D Touch on a daily basis would disagree. Even the things that were just initially introduced with it have still been overall better/faster with it than with something line long press (which still can't do a number of different things that can be done with 3D Touch, and various things that it can do are now done in a clunkier way because of it).
Rating: 2 Votes
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