How to Use iPhone Back Tap Controls for Shortcuts and More

Tap the back of your phone to access this iOS 14 accessibility feature


What to Know

  • Go to Settings > Accessibility Touch >  Back Tap.
  • Tap Double Tap and choose the action you want to trigger when you double-tap the back of your phone.
  • Tap Triple Tap and to set an action for when you triple-tap the back of the phone.

This article explains how to enable and use Back Tap controls on iOS 14 and later.

How to Enable Back Tap on iOS 14

In iOS 14, Apple introduced a feature called Back Tap with almost no fanfare. The feature, part of the accessibility option on iOS 14, allows you to tap the back of your iPhone to trigger an action, such as opening a program or taking a screenshot.

Before you can use Back Tap, you'll need to enable it. Here's how:

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility.

  2. Tap Touch in the Accessibility options, under Physical and Motor.

    Steps to get to Touch preferences in iOS 14.
  3. In the Touch options, swipe to the bottom of the list of options and tap Back Tap.

    How to find Back Tap preferences in iOS 14.
  4. The Back Tap option open. Tap Double Tap and choose the option you would like to trigger when you double-tap the back of your phone. You'll find a good list of available options, including accessibility options and even scrolling gestures or shortcut options.

    Double Tap and Triple Tap options in iOS 14.
  5. Then, tap Triple Tap and choose the action you would like to happen when you triple-tap the back of the phone with your finger.

  6. When you've finished, you can return to the Home screen, and your options will be saved.

What Can Back Tap Trigger?

Back Tap sounds like a simple gesture, right? It is, but it's also a powerful tool to keep your most frequently used apps or functions at your fingertips.

For example, you can enable Back Tap to open your camera when you double-tap the back of your phone. Or to take a screenshot when you triple tap.

If those are options that you don't use often, don't worry. You can also enable shortcuts with your Back Tap, which means anything you can create a shortcut for, you can trigger with a double or triple tap on the back of your phone.

For example, you can create a shortcut that allows you to connect to an AirPlay speaker in your home, then assign it to a double-tap. The next time you're listening to music and you want to send it to that speaker, just double-tap the back of your phone.

Does Back Tap Work With a Case?

Yes. You need to make sure you are tapping with enough force, but the feature does work.

The key appears to be tapping the phone solidly on the back. If your case isn't too thick, then solid taps should trigger the sensors and hardware inside the phone. Some users also report that the double-tap works better than the triple tap, so experiment with it to see if one or both of them work well for you.