The Coolest New Features to Try on the iPhone 6S
Like moths to a brightly illuminated Retina HD screen, people go batshit insane when a new iPhone drops. This time around wasn't any different, considering Apple sold a record-breaking 13 million 6S and 6S Plusses in just three days. But now that the hype's calmed down to a dull roar, you might be wondering whether it's really worth spending half your paycheck on this sparkly new pocket computer.
As someone who just graduated from a decrepit iPhone 5 and has been hands-on with a brand-spankin'-new 6S for a few days, I can definitively tell you yes. The look and feel of the new iteration isn't much of a leap from the 6, and iOS 9 offers some brilliant new features even for older models -- but the new device is capable of some incredibly cool stuff you won't find on any other phone.
Get app shortcuts with 3D Touch
A lot's been said about what's arguably the most useful new feature on the phone, and for good reason. The 6S's screen recognizes variations in pressure from your finger, which means you can do a lot of new stuff, most notably press and hold app icons to get quick access to popular functions. For instance, if you want to compose a new message, holding down the Mail icon opens a shortcut menu so you can jump right to it. Right now, the feature's mostly available on Apple's native apps, but there's no doubt developers will be taking advantage of this.
Peek at links and messages without opening them
Want to see what the gist of an email is without loading the full message? Tap and hold it, and a preview pops up. It also works for links within a message or text -- pressing and holding a hyperlink or street address gives you a glance at the web page or map, before you decide to actually open it.
Create "live" photos
No, this isn't just a fancy way of saying you can shoot video -- it's a totally unique approach to still photography. Rather than just capture a single frame when you hit the shutter, the Live Photo feature actually captures a moment of video before and after the still is taken. The result looks like a regular photo, but it animates when you press and hold. You can even set them as your lock screen.
Unlock your phone even faster than before
For someone who just made the leap from passcode-only unlock to the touch sensor, the fact that all I have to do is place my finger on the home button was big on its own. If you've already been taking advantage, you'll be glad to know Apple's made big improvements on the fingerprint sensor on this model that unlocks your phone much, much faster than before.
Shoot video in 4K
If you thought the "Shot on iPhone 6" campaign proved the 8-megapixel camera was a beast, the level of detail and quality you see with the 6S's 12-megapixel upgrade will blow your mind. It's also capable of shooting video in 4K, which will eat up a ton of storage space, but who cares when you have the power to shoot digital cinema-quality footage with the tiny device in your pocket.
Turn the keyboard into a touchpad
If you're fat-fingered like me and find it nearly impossible to move the cursor when you're trying to copy and paste in a text or email, the 6S has your back. When you press and hold the keyboard, it turns into a touchpad, where you can use your finger to easily slide the cursor wherever you want.
Take front-facing photos with a flash
Not only did the front-facing camera get a huge upgrade (jumping from 1.2 megapixels on the 6 to 5 megapixels on the 6S), but now the screen serves as a flash when you want one. Good news for your selfies -- your duck face won't cast awkward shadows anymore.
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Joe McGauley is a senior editor for Thrillist Media Group.