With 3D Touch (or Force Touch), Apple adds a new way of interacting with your app.

One of the new feature is having app shortcuts when you 3D touch the app icon.

Type of shortcuts

  1. Static - declared in Info.plist
  2. Dynamic - created with UIMutableApplicationShortcutItem

You can have up to 4 shortcuts.

Creating Static Shortcut Item

You add a UIApplicationShortcutItems array to Info.plist, like this:

The title and subtitle strings are localized in InfoPlist.strings.

Creating Dynamic Shortcut Item

You create 1 or more UIMutableApplicationShortcutItem, and set it to UIApplication.sharedApplication().shortcutItems .

// Creating a shortcut
let shortcut1 = UIMutableApplicationShortcutItem(
      type: "com.myapp.shortcut1",
      localizedTitle: "Shortcut 1", 
      localizedSubtitle: nil,
      icon: UIApplicationShortcutIcon(templateImageName: "myimage"),
      userInfo: ["foo": "bar"])

// Set the shortcut items
UIApplication.sharedApplication().shortcutItems = [shortcut1, shortcut2]

Note: You can have up to 4 shortcuts, and the static shortcuts will be listed first.

In the example above, I used a custom icon image “myimage”. You can easily use system provided icons such as UIApplicationShortcutIconType.Search.

You can pass more information via userInfo.

Handling a Shortcut

Unsurprisingly, you handle in your UIApplicationDelegate.

// When app is already launched, performActionForShortcutItem will be called
func application(application: UIApplication, performActionForShortcutItem shortcutItem: UIApplicationShortcutItem, completionHandler: (Bool) -> Void) {

// When app is launched as a result of the shortcut, `didFinishLaunchingWithOptions` will be called
// If `launchOptions` has the shortcut item, then it need to return false 
// so that `performActionForShortcutItem` will not be called (which will result in calling `handleShortcut` twice)
func application(application: UIApplication, didFinishLaunchingWithOptions launchOptions: [NSObject: AnyObject]?) -> Bool {
    if let shortcutItem = launchOptions?[UIApplicationLaunchOptionsShortcutItemKey] as? UIApplicationShortcutItem {
        return false
    return true

// Our private handler
private func handleShortcut(shortcutItem: UIApplicationShortcutItem) -> Bool {
    switch shortcutItem.type  {
    case "com.myapp.shortcut1":
        // Handle shortcut 1
    case "com.myapp.shortcut2":
        // Handle shortcut 2
        return false
    return true

From the UIApplicationShortcutItem, look for the type of shortcut. You can get more details from the userInfo.

That’s it!

Bonus: 3D Touch on Simulator

You can perform 3D Touch on simulator if you have a trackpad that supports Force Touch.

Go to Hardware > Use Trackpad Force for 3D Touch.

Tap lightly on the trackpad, and the quick actions shortcuts will be shown.

Bonus: Peek and Pop

With 3D Touch, another feature you can implement is previewing a view controller.

Krakendev has a comprehensive tutorial on that.




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