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Home / Tips and Tricks / Here’s how to quickly open your favorite apps by simply tapping the back of your iPhone «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Here’s how to quickly open your favorite apps by simply tapping the back of your iPhone «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

In the past few years, Apple has paid more attention to iPhone accessibility, which means more people with disabilities can use everything iOS has to offer. These features are also beneficial for non-disabled users, and iOS 14 has an exciting feature that everyone will want to use: Back Tap.

While many of Apple’s new accessibility tools and features are most helpful for people with the deaf, hard of hearing, nonverbality, blindness, low vision, or mobility issues, to name a few, they are beneficial for anyone who owns an iPhone. You can use your device hands-free with voice control. With the magnifying glass, you can easily see things far away. Live Listen helps you hear things around you better. Tone detection warns you of noises around you if you can̵

7;t hear anything The speak selection tells you how to pronounce a word and the list goes on.

Of all of these, Back Tap is perhaps the most fun as it can help you complete a variety of tasks quickly and easily. You can switch between apps, lock the screen, go to Siri, increase or decrease the volume, dim the display and much more – either with a double or triple tap on the back of your iPhone. While Back Tap doesn’t have a built-in option to open a favorite app at your command, it can be done with a little bit of shortcuts trick.


Before proceeding, it should be noted that Back Tap only works for the iPhone 8 and newer versions with iOS 14. So if you have something older then you need to update your device to an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone X.S. or X.S. Max, iPhone X.R., iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE (2nd Generation), iPhone 12 or 12 Mini, or iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max before you can use it.

Step 1: Create a shortcut to open your favorite app

The “tap back” function works with shortcuts. So you need to create shortcuts that will allow you to open the apps of your choice. This is easily possible.

In the Shortcuts app, go to the My Shortcuts tab and tap the plus sign (+) in the top right corner. You can also use “Create Shortcut” from the quick action menu on the shortcuts home screen app icon. This is where you create the workflow and there is only one action. First, tap on “Add Action” or on the search bar at the bottom.

A window with various actions will appear. Enter “Open app” in the search bar and then select the “Open app” action from the list of results. This will insert the Open App script action into your shortcut. Then tap on the blue label “Select” that appears in the action panel.

A list of all the apps on your device will appear, including native and third-party apps. Find the app you want to open with Back Tap by either scrolling through the list or looking for its name. I’ll choose the native camera app, which is great for opening quickly when I need to take a photo or record a video without affecting the lock screen.

Your link is almost complete. Since this is the only action required for the shortcut, click Next and give the shortcut a name. You can keep it simple and name it something like “Open Camera” or whatever the app is. You may or may not choose an icon, then click Done to complete the creation. You don’t need to run the shortcut before you can add it to Back Tap. So don’t worry.

Tip: Open your app in a specific location

Don’t use the Open App script to go one step further than just open your favorite app. Instead, tap Apps at the top of the Action Search page. These are all apps that have specific actions built into them. Some of these can open the app to a specific tab or topic.

For example, Apollo for Reddit allows you to open a specific subreddit or multireddit. The App Store can be opened directly to the search page. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be opened for a new draft. Messages can be opened to a topic or to the Today feed. And these are just a few examples. Find out about the features available in your apps before you just go for the Open App script.

Step 2: add a shortcut to Back Tap

Now it’s time to add the shortcut to the “Tap Back” feature. Launch the Settings app and go to Accessibility. Scroll down this page a little and tap “Touch” below Physically and motorically Section.

Scroll to the end of the Touch Page and tap on “Tap Back,” which should be disabled by default. You will then see two different back tap options: Double Tap and Triple Tap. You can either use it to open your app, but double-tapping might be preferable as it’s an easier action, but both of them work just fine. If you want to create shortcuts for two of your favorite apps, you can assign their own back tap gesture to each.

A list of system actions is displayed at the top of the Double Tap or Triple Tap page. However, if you scroll down you will see all the shortcuts. Select the shortcut you just created and go back to confirm that the shortcut is now connected to either “Tap Back” option.

Step 3: Tap back on your iPhone to open the app

Tap the back of your iPhone two or three times to open the app you have specified. When you have an iPhone case, which most people do, you may need to type heavily or specifically just under the camera to get results. You can do this with both hands (as shown in the GIF below) or just one hand, which is useful when your other hand is busy doing something else.

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Cover image, screenshots and GIF by Nelson Aguilar / Gadget Hacks

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