Tech

How to use iPhone’s incredibly useful Back Tap feature

Did you know you can tap the back of your phone to quickly launch apps, settings, and shortcuts?

While I’m slightly ashamed that I didn’t know such a feature existed until now, I feel even greater joy that it’s a part of my life. It’s life changing, friends. Here’s how it works on an iPhone — and two ways to get something similar on an Android phone.

Tap iPhone back

On the iPhone, this feature is called Tap Backand it’s been around since iOS 14.

You need to enable it first by going to Settings > Accessibility > Touch and then select Tap back.

From there you can set a double tap to do something and a triple tap to do something.

Here’s what double-tap looks like to turn on the flashlight:

[Animation: Doug Aamoth]

And this is what triple tapping to take a screenshot looks like:

[Animation: Doug Aamoth]

Choose the functionality you want, but if you have young children and the camera app never seems to open fast enough to take photos of them, I highly recommend setting one of the options to open the camera.

Apple’s implementation is pretty comprehensive and great in that it gives you two typing options. Here’s a list of all the things you can assign to the Taps on your iPhone.

System stuff:

  • App switcher
  • camera
  • control center
  • flashlight
  • At home
  • lock rotation
  • lock screen
  • Mute
  • message center
  • reachability
  • screenshot
  • shake
  • Siri
  • headlight
  • volume down
  • volume up

Accessibility things:

  • AssistiveTouch
  • background noise
  • Classic inversion
  • color filter
  • magnifying glass
  • person detection
  • Smart reversal
  • speak screen
  • voiceover
  • zoom
  • zoom controller

A few scroll gestures:

And finally, a handful of shortcuts:

  • Block an hour
  • New shortcut
  • Shazam shortcut
  • Take a break
  • Text last picture

What about Android?

A very similar feature exists for Android, but it’s only available natively for Google Pixel phones running Android version 12 or later.

It’s called Quick Tap and it’s available by going to Settings > System > Gestures and then selecting Quick Tap.

It works the same as the iPhone feature, except you’re limited to just a double tap – which I do right away set to open the camera.

Here are the options you get:

  • Take a screenshot
  • Access the digital assistant
  • Play or pause media
  • See Recent Apps
  • Show notifications
  • Open app – at this point you can assign any app to open (e.g. the camera)

For non-Pixel Android phones there is an app called Tap, tap This gives you the ability to assign actions to double taps and triple taps.

You have to sideload Tap, Tap: it’s not available on the official Google Play Store. It’s not a super complicated process, but it’s not quite as easy as installing regular apps. Do some research online on how to “install apps from unknown sources” on your phone as the process may vary slightly by model.

Does this magic work with phone cases?

I’m happy to report that it does, although I’ve found it works more reliably without a case. Here’s my wife’s iPhone with her fat credit card monstrosity on it:

[Animation: Doug Aamoth]

It takes a little practice, but you’ll be building your way to a better life in no time!

https://www.fastcompany.com/90736377/iphone-back-tap-android-equivalent?partner=feedburner&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feedburner+fastcompany&utm_content=feedburner How to use iPhone’s incredibly useful Back Tap feature

JACLYN DIAZ

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