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How to set up back tap gestures on iPhone

iOS 14 has a new feature that allows users to configure gestures that are executed by tapping the back of their phones. The feature is called ‘Back taps’, and it works with two and three taps, each with their own action to execute.

Compatible iPhone models

Back taps is an iOS 14 feature however, that does not mean that all iPhone models that can run iOS 14 will be able to use Back Taps. This feature relies on certain hardware capabilities in order to work so older iPhones are going to be left out.

Back tap compatible iPhone models are listed below.

  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE 2020

Set up Back tap gestures

Make sure you’ve upgraded to iOS 14, and then follow the steps below to set up back taps.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to Accessibility>Touch.
  3. Scroll to the very bottom, and tap Back Tap.
  4. Tap ‘Double Tap’.
  5. Select an action to execute for a double-tap.
  6. Go back to the main Back Tap screen.
  7. Tap ‘Triple Tap’.
  8. Select an action to execute for the Triple Tap.

Execute a Back Tap

A Back Tap will work if you have a case on your iPhone, or not however, some cases are a bit too thick of the feature to work. To test it out, remove the case on your phone.

To execute a double-tap on the back of your iPhone, double-tap on the back with one finger.

To execute a triple-tap on the back of your iPhone, tap the back three times, in quick succession with one finger.

Back tap gestures

When setting up Back Tap on your iPhone, you can choose gestures from those that iOS 14 has pre-configured.

  • Accessibility Shortcut
  • App Switcher
  • Control Center
  • Home
  • Lock Screen
  • Mute
  • Notification Center
  • Reachability
  • Screenshot
  • Shake
  • Siri
  • Spotlight
  • Volume Down
  • Volume Up
  • AssistiveTouch
  • Classic Invert
  • Magnifier
  • Smart Invert
  • Speak Screen
  • VoiceOver
  • Zoom
  • Scroll Down
  • Scroll Up

Custom Back Tap gestures

You can set up custom back tap gestures but you need a Shortcut to do the job. You must first create a Shortcut (or import one) for the action you want to perform in the Shortcuts app.

Once the Shortcut has been set up, and run at least once, it will appear in the list of actions that you can set for a double and triple back tap.

The downside of this method is that you may have to interact with your phone’s screen to execute the shortcut (accept or confirm an action).

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