3D Touch (neé Force Touch) is one of the coolest features on the latest generation of Apple software. From the new MacBook Pros to the iPad Pro to the iPhone 6S, Apple seems to be all about teaching you to push down really hard on your phone screen.

The gesture is supported by a network of sensors underneath the glass. These sense when the screen bends down and activate the proper gesture accordingly. It’s a hardware feature, and impossible to replicate on older iPhones, right?

Well… sort of. Read on to know how can you get similar functionality on an old iDevice.

How to Get 3D Touch on an Old iPhone or iPad

First, this isn’t actually 3D Touch. The real thing requires new hardware that older iOS devices lack. This is a close approximation, though.

In order to use it, you need to be jailbroken. Check out our guide on how to jailbreak an iOS 8 device, assuming you haven’t updated to iOS 9.

This is another downside to the jailbreak replacement for 3D Touch.

You’re using a facsimile, that still can’t reproduce the software bits, because there’s still no iOS 9 jailbreak. iOS 9 on old phones with this 3D Touch replacement would be something.



ForceTouchActivator is a jailbreak tweak that triggers different events when you press down firmly on your device’s screen. While it can’t use hardware sensors to tell where your fingers are, it can track changes in finger size and radius and touch density.

The tweak feeds “force touch” events into Activator, a longtime jailbreak tweak that can do almost anything you want it to. Activator tracks system events (like a double tap of the home button or double tapping the status bar) and assigns them actions (like lock screen, take screenshot, whatever you want).

ForceTouchActivator adds another trigger to Activator that checks for “firm presses.” When that happens, you can activate whatever event you’d like.

To set it up, go to Settings > Activator > Anywhere > ForceTouch. I set mine to activate the app switcher.

That’s it. No respringing or rebooting necessary.


Honestly, the gesture can be somewhat hard to utlize. iOS 8 isn’t built to try to differentiate between a slow swipe and a hard press.

I found the most success with lightly pushing down but trying to keep my push as straight as possible so it wouldn’t turn into a swipe.

I’d also recommend doing it on un-swipeable areas, like the dock, as the system seems better prepared to recognize the gesture there.

Once I got used to it, though, it was pretty cool to have such a fast and easy gesture for activating the app switcher.

Final Thoughts

I’d recommend giving ForceTouchActivator a shot, especially if you’re jealous of the new iPhones and their 3D Touch. It’s a cool feature for someone who doesn’t mind the somewhat janky gesture for activating it.

This thing will be much cooler when there’s an iOS 9 jailbreak. Imagine being able to activate all the 3D Touch features without actually having to buy a new iPhone!