How does iOS 14’s back tap function work?
This feature has a ton of potential.
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?
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.
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