Back Tap is among those little features and improvements that didn’t get any air time during yesterday’s pre-recorded WWDC 2020 keynote presentation, yet is tremendously useful.
Back Tap is a new assistive technology in iOS 14 that allows you to choose a custom action the operating system will automatically execute when you tap the back of your handset.
Available by venturing into Settings → Accessibility → Touch → Back Tap, this cool new feature makes it real easy to assign a custom action for when you double or triple-tap the phone back. It works in tandem with the motion sensors in your iPhone such as accelerometer to detect micro-movement that occurs when you tap the back of your phone.
Back Tap in iOS 14 shouldn’t be confused with the existing Tap Back reactions in Messages for iOS and macOS that include a heart, thumbs up/down, laughter and other reactions.
Here’s a quick video by iDB’s Harris Craycraft taking the new Back Tap gesture for a quick spin.
You can assign a different action to the double and triple-tap gestures separately. On the list of all the available actions for Back Tap are some pretty common common system-wide commands in iOS, such as Control and Notification Center, App Switcher, Siri, Spotlight etc.
For instance, you can assign the Volume Up and Volume Down actions to these gestures in order to quickly adjust the volume by tapping the phone back. Or, you may want to assign the double-tap gesture to Reachability if you have issues activating that feature the usual way.
Similar to Full Keyboard Access in iOS and iPadOS 13.4, the real power of these Back Tap gestures lies in the fact that Apple even allows you to assign a custom Siri shortcut to them. This is huge — now you can have your iPhone quickly perform a chain of complex actions involving multiple apps, scripting and so forth that you previously created in the Shortcuts app.
Back Tap actions are unavailable in iPadOS.
What do you think of this new feature in iOS 14?
Let us know in the comments!