Back Tap system requirements: Can my iPhone trigger custom actions when I tap its back?

Back Tap system requirements - hero image

With a new Back Tap feature in iOS 14.0 and later, you have a handy way to trigger custom shortcuts, actions and accessibility features by tapping on the back of your iPhone. But does your iPhone support it? Find out by checking out the official Back Tap system requirements.

System requirements: Back Tap

The following devices and iOS version support the Back Tap feature:

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 8

Back Tap is unsupported on the iPod touch and iPad devices.

About Back Tap

Apple pitches Back Tap as a quick way to trigger accessibility features by tapping on the back of your iPhone two or three times in a quick succession, here’s their description of the feature:

Built to create a simple and easy way to trigger convenient tasks for those with accessibility needs. A quick double or triple tap on the back of your iPhone can be configured to trigger a number of actions, such as opening the Magnifier or starting VoiceOver when your iPhone is in your pocket. It can even map to common system features such as Control Center or accessibility-specific activities such as Switch Control actions.

Actually, it goes deeper than that. Yes, you can configure your iPhone to, say, invoke, the accessibility shortcut when you tap its back two times or the zoom accessibility feature with a triple-tap on its back. But that’s not all, as this feature also allows you to assign common system functions to your Back Tap gestures, including Siri and the Notification Center.

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These are all fine use cases for the vast majority of regular users. Power users, however, will appreciate the ability to run their custom workflows in the Shortcuts app with Back Tap.

How to have your iPhone perform actions like taking a screenshot when you tap its back

Doing so really expands on what’s possible and takes the Back Tap feature to the next level. For instance, you could set your double-tap Back Tap gesture to invoke the Google Assistant and triple-tap for the “Send a message to wife” action or some such.

Using Back Tap

You can configure Back Tap to your liking in Settings → Accessibility → Touch → Back Tap, then choose “Double Tap” or “Triple Tap” and select an action for each.

Back Tap system requirements - an iPhone screenshot showing the Back Tap settings

The Back Tap feature works in tandem with the motion sensors in your iPhone to detect micro-movement that occurs when you tap its back. If you’re unsure what iPhone model you own, Apple’s support document comes to the rescue.