The new Back Tap feature in iOS 14 may sound like a gimmick that would launch alongside a brand new smartphone. But in Apple’s case, it’s actually an added accessibility feature that uses existing hardware to function, and will work on iPhone models that support the upcoming OS update.
Also discovered by MacStories founder Federico Viticci, the same gentlemen who reported on the Sound Recognition ability in iOS 14, the Back Tap feature allows users to perform customisable actions and shortcuts by double or triple tapping the back of their iPhones. As mentioned earlier, Apple intended to use this new ability as an accessibility function for those with limited motor skills.
iOS 14 has a new Back Tap feature in Accessibility and it's wild. You can perform quick actions by double- or triple-tapping the *back of your iPhone*. Literally quick taps on the back; works with a case on.
These include system actions as well as custom shortcuts. pic.twitter.com/87uJU9qAtu
— Federico Viticci (@viticci) June 23, 2020
Early build testers explained that the new feature relies on an iPhone’s accelerometer to identify user input, which would also work if you have a case attached to your phone. However, it’s not all that perfect just yet with some reporting that Back Tap has the tendency to trigger commands accidentally. Another tester added that it will not activate if your phone is locked or placed face-down.
As far as we know, users can utilise the new ability to quick-launch certain applications such as Spotlight or Notes. Testers have noted that the feature could not launch phone functions such as Camera or Flashlight, however. Back Tap and other new features will be available to all Apple users when iOS 14 is publicly made available later this fall.