Shortcuts and gestures can help you do more with your phone in less time – you just need to know what the rights are to use. Thanks to the implementation of iOS 14 and the efforts of third-party developers on Android, you can now access a very useful new shortcut: tap on the back of your phone to launch apps, take screenshots, open the camera and much more.
Tap back on an iPhone
If you use an iPhone, the setup process is simpler because the tap-back feature is built-in iOS 14. You do need an iPhone 8 or later and a phone that supports Tap to Wake, because of the required sensors. You do not get the back-tap option on the iPhone SE, for example.
If you are using a compatible device, go to Settings Accessibility, dan Touch, dan Back tap to turn on the shortcuts and decide how it works. You can enable and configure both Double bitch and Triple tap if you want, give you two different shortcuts that can be activated in one moment.
There are many system shortcuts that you can assign to a double or triple tap, including taking a screenshot, waking up Siri, muting your phone, locking the screen, and opening ‘Control Center’. You can also open various shortcuts for accessibility, including the VoiceOver and Magnifier features.
Further down the list you will see a selection of Siri shortcuts, including custom discounts that you have previously set up. Any Siri shortcut can be assigned to a rear tap, which means that the possibilities are almost endless. The back taps can change the configuration of your phone, work with files, record photos and videos, retrieve information from the internet and much more. Thanks to Siri shortcuts, you can tap back with just about any app you like.
A double or triple tap starts your chosen action, and (where applicable) a second double or triple tap undoes it again. In the event of a mute on your phone, the shortcut path at the back serves as a mute and unmute switch; if you set it to open Control Center, then point to the rear tap and then hide it.
There are quite a few iPhone gesture beyond the normal you would never have discovered or forgotten. Swipe down on the text input box, for example, to hide the keyboard, or to swipe left and right to clear numbers in the Calculator app, or double-tap to zoom in on Apple Maps. You can read some more gestures here.
Tap back on an Android phone
Back-typing is a bit more complicated for Android users, as it is not a feature built into the software on your phone. There were signs that it might appear in Android 11, at least for Pixel phones, but ultimately Google has decided to use the functionality – whether it appears in a future update or not remains to be seen.
Third-party developers closed the gap, specifically Kieron Quinn at the XDA Developers community. Its app is called Tap, Tap, and it should work on most Android phones. However, it’s still in beta, so you may notice some bugs or some inconsistencies with your own device.
Tap, tap is not available in the Google Play Store at the time of writing, so please visit it this forum thread follow the download link in your first message from your phone and then tap through the security warnings that Android shows you about installing unknown software (this is OK, you can trust this app).
After opening the app, you can set and test the touch sensitivity, and run the app with the Android accessibility service so that it can always ‘listen’ to your taps. You also need to make sure that Android does not turn off the app to save battery life, but again Tap, Tap guides you through this process.
When you get to the main screen of the app, you can further configure it: Select Double tap actions and Triple Tap Actions to select what you want with a tap at the back. You can launch apps, take screenshots, activate Google Assistant, and more. With the app you can also set ‘gates’ for when the taps are working and not working – you can deactivate them if, for example, the screen is off or if you are calling.
Tap, Tap is still beta software and can sometimes be hit by an error, but it actually gives you a lot more control than Apple’s built-in solution. It’s great for launching your camera, doing an internet search, viewing your notifications and more. As with iOS, Android supports a variety of other gestures you may not be aware of, and we’ve gathered some of them here.