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How does iOS 14’s back tap function work?

This feature has a ton of potential.

iphone with ios on table
Image: Unsplash

The public beta of iOS 14 is now available to everyone, bringing the best of Apple’s mobile operating system development to devices everywhere. Along with the features that are getting column inches, such as widgets on the home screen for the first time, are a bunch of features that didn’t even manage a mention on stage back in June.

One of these that I feel is shaping up to be an unsung hero for iOS 14 is Back Tap. This unassuming feature lives in the Accessibility menu, and lets users assign actions to a simple double- or triple-tap on the back of the iPhone. What techno-wizardry is this? It’s one thing to take user input from the touchscreen, that is, after all, what it was made for. But tapping on the glass back? Amazing.

So, what can I use back tap for with iOS 14?

ios 14 back tap settings

Image: KnowTechie

Short answer: Almost anything

See, buried in the Accessibility section of iOS 14’s settings menus, is the Back Tap feature. It’s intended to make iOS easier to navigate for those users with reduced mobility, and you can set everything from system actions to custom Siri Shortcuts to either a double or triple-tap on the back of the phone. Pretty nifty.

I’ve got it set to take a screenshot from a double-tap, as I can’t time the two-button press that it’s bound to by default, and Notification Center as a triple-tap cause stretching to pull the notification center down isn’t my idea of fun. Because of Siri Shortcuts, you could really make the touch actions relate to almost anything, however. The feature also comes with a long list of built-in features, so if you don’t want to mess with Shortcuts, there are still plenty of options available.

It’s going to be interesting to see how people implement this new feature into their iPhone experience once iOS 14 fully releases later this year.

What do you think? Could you see yourself using this iOS 14 feature? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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