Did you know that tour iPhone has a secret button on its back? You can't see or click this button, but you can activate it by tapping the back of your iPhone two or three times.

iPhone in hand with fingers tapping the back

You need to turn on this Back Tap feature in the Accessibility settings first, but once you do so, there are endless possibilities that you can use it for.

What Is Back Tap?

Back Tap is an iPhone accessibility feature that Apple introduced with iOS 14. After enabling Back Tap, you activate it by double or triple-tapping the back of your iPhone.

You can use Back Tap to take a screenshot, open Control Center, enable Reachability, or perform various other tasks on your iPhone. It's also possible to set two different actions for when you double and triple-tap.

You can even use Back Tap to activate a Siri shortcut using the Shortcuts app, giving you even more options for what this feature can do.

Which iPhones Can Use Back Tap?

Unlike other useful iOS Accessibility features, Back Tap isn't available on every iPhone. Even if you're running the latest software, you need to have one of the following devices to use Back Tap:

  • iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, or 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, or 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone X, XR, XS, or XS Max
  • iPhone 8 or 8 Plus

That means you can't use Back Tap on any iPhone older than the iPhone 8. You also can't use Back Tap on the iPhone SE (2nd generation), despite the fact that it came out the same year as the iPhone 12.

The Problems With Back Tap

Sadly, Back Tap isn't a perfect feature. Unlike traditional buttons, Back Tap works by sensing vibrations or movements around your iPhone. This can lead to you accidentally triggering it just by picking up your iPhone or placing it on a desk.

You might also find that your iPhone case is too thick to use with Back Tap. This isn't true for all cases, as my leather case from Apple works absolutely fine. But if Back Tap isn't working properly, try removing the case and trying again.

iPhone leather case in box

The longer this feature is around, the better it should get at distinguishing between intentional and accidental taps.

How to Enable Back Tap on Your iPhone

Follow the steps below to enable Back Tap on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app and select Accessibility.
  2. Under the Physical and Motor section, tap Touch.
  3. Scroll down and select Back Tap.
  4. Tap Double Tap or Triple Tap and choose the action you want to set for it. You can set different actions for each of them.
Image Gallery (4 Images)

What Are the Best Actions to Use With Back Tap?

By default, Apple offers two dozen actions to activate with Back Tap. These actions are split into System, Accessibility, and Scroll Gesture categories.

Here are our favorite default Back Tap actions to choose from:

  • App Switcher
  • Mute
  • Reachability
  • Screenshot
  • Spotlight

Take Back Tap Even Further With Shortcuts

Alongside the default Back Tap actions, you can also use Back Tap to activate a shortcut from the Shortcuts app. You need to create the shortcut you want to use first, but with some creativity, you have it do whatever you like.

After creating your shortcut, select it from the list beneath the default Back Tap actions in the Accessibility settings.

Here are some of our favorite shortcut suggestions to use with Back Tap:

  • Launch a Google search
  • Boost the heating with a smart thermostat
  • Toggle the smart lights in your home
  • Get an activity report from the Health app
  • Open your password manager
Selection of shortcuts in the Shortcuts app

To take Back Tap to the next level, trigger a conditional shortcut that performs different actions based on your location, the time of day, or even your Bluetooth connections.

With these shortcuts, you could use the same Back Tap action to:

  • Mute your iPhone if you're at work, or start playing music if you're in the park
  • Turn on the lights in the evening, or turn them off during the day
  • Open Maps when you're connected to your car, or start playing music when you're connected to your home speaker

The options available with these shortcuts are only limited by your imagination, and your confidence in creating complex processes with the Shortcuts app.

Back Tap Is a Hidden iPhone Gem

You might have missed Back Tap when you upgraded to iOS 14, since it's buried in the Accessibility menu and isn't promoted. But it's a really handy feature that essentially gives you two more buttons to launch whatever you want.

Set it up for your needs and you'll wonder how you got along without it!

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