Apple has just teased bits and pieces of iOS 14 and, of course, most of its features are still left unsaid. You have big ones like the new home screen widgets and the ability to change an extremely small number of default iOS apps. Others, however, would be mostly up to developers to explore and dig up, like this odd but potentially handy option to get your iPhone to do stuff by simply tapping on its back.
No matter how we hold our phones, whether it’s the wrong or Apple-approved correct way, we will always have at least one finger lying on its back. Most of the time, that’s the index finger, a finger that is doing nothing other than providing minimal support. Apparently, Apple thought it was a wasted opportunity and is now using that finger on iOS 14 to tap an iPhone’s back and do something.
Found under iOS 14’s Accessibility Touch settings, the new Back Tap lets you map double and triple tap gestures on the phone’s back to an action from a predefined list. Those actions include showing the notification center, launching Siri, or even turning the volume up or down. As expected, there is no option to launch your own app, even just the camera.
Android users with phones that have their fingerprint sensors on their rears might be familiar with such a feature. Of course, there are also third-party apps on Android that let you do more than just what the OEM has configured. iOS also has one but was only available for jailbroken iPhones.
Users should note that Back Tap is intended as an accessibility option rather than a power user feature, which also explains why it defaults to being disabled and isn’t that widely advertised yet. It will be interesting to see, however, how more enterprising and ingenious iOS developers will be able to get around those restrictions to offer a more powerful version around this new gesture.