What is Back Tap Feature for iPhone?

The new iOS 14 update is now available to millions of users around the world. However, many still don’t know that the new update adds a new button functionality. With this button, you can take screenshots, check the weather, launch favorite apps and other things. When releasing a new iOS version, apple always refreshes the software design. We will get a number of major enhancements, not just some new emojis. The iOS 14 is a quite special version, because it brings real improvements. New widgets could spruce up the home screen. The Music and Messages app also have a new design. The Back Tap itself isn’t a physical button. There’s no way a software update can add any physical enhancement.  

With Back Tap, you can trigger various on-screen features without tapping on the touchscreen. This should be a convenient feature to have. With the iOS 14 update, users can tap the rear case as the device to simulate the operation of a button. By tapping the glass or aluminium case on the back, you can trigger various functions. As an example, you can enable the Mute function and launch the Control Centre. It is also possible to take screenshots and adjust the volume. With the Back Tap, triggering the Siri shortcuts is also incredibly easy. If you have been using Shortcuts, you know that it’s a great thing to have.

There are so many things that you can access with the Shortcuts. It includes checking commute time, resuming podcast playback and opening WhatsApp group chat. It is possible for users to assign separate functions for double-taps and triple-taps. As an example, when you double-tap the rear case, you can go to a WhatsApp group chat. If you triple-tap the back of the case, you can open a blank Twitter draft. You can also open Google Maps before commuting to find the best route in a busy city. It all depends on your selection.

Software Customization

Apple makes Back Tap possible by implementing innovative software customization. Without this, Back Tap functionality will be much more limited. The button makes the user interface much more accessible. Apple has full control on the software and hardware, so it is easier to make close integration. However, it will be harder to develop similar capability for Android devices. Although Google can add the same functionality in Android, there are so many Android variants out there. With hundreds of different Android smartphones, implementing a Back Tap functionality may be very hard, if not impossible.

In fact, Google once had its plan to integrate the same technology into Android 11, but Google opted to exclude it. Even for Apple’s standard, it’s a level of integration that’s unheard of. In the future, it is possible for Apple to allow users to remap hardware buttons. As an example, we could use side buttons to start Apple Pay transaction or tell Siri to do something. It’s no longer something unthinkable. We know for a fact that iOS is a highly optimized and responsive software. In fact, Apple can make the software tell the difference between regular holding of the phone and intentional taps. If you want to have better control on this feature, go to Control Center to access the system settings.

No Limitation?

Apple repurposes current hardware and sensors of the iPhone to add the Back Tap functionality. With such software and hardware interactions, people will wonder how far will it go. It is hard to know what software functionality that we can’t access with the Back Tap. For users, physical buttons are a direct way to interact. However, tapping a flat surface like the back of the phone is different. This makes that rear of the iPhone look like a huge button. Probably, the trickiest thing is to decide what functionality and features that you want to pair with the Back Tap.

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