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You can launch apps by tapping the back of your iPhone — here's how

iphone 13 from the back
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Whether you're a new Apple user running one of the latest and best iPhones or have been rocking iOS for years, Apple always has a surprise or two hidden away in its devices. 

As a new user of iOS 15 myself, by way of the iPhone 13, I recently came across a feature tucked away in the Settings app that made me feel less regret about putting my Pixel 6 to one side.

Hidden in the Accessibility section of the Settings app is a feature that's similar to the Quick Tap feature on Pixel phones that's been marketed by Google since it was introduced to the Pixel 5 as part of its Android 12 update.

Though it's similar to Quick Tap, Apple's version is actually more versatile. Unlike Android's solution, which only allows double taps, Apple's also allows you to triple tap the back of the device to do things like launch an app, turn the torch on, or even scroll up or down. 

Know on iPhones as Back Tap, it's baffling as to why it isn't marketed by Apple, as it's a genuinely useful feature that can completely change how you use your device. Follow our guide below to find out how to turn on Back Tap and unlock a world of new possibilities for your iPhone.

How to enable Back Tap on iPhones

1. Open the Settings app.

A screenshot showing the Settings app icon on an iPhone homescreen

(Image credit: Apple)

2. Scroll down and tap "Accessibility."

A screenshot showing the Accessibility menu highlighted within the Settings menu on an iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Tap "Touch."

A screenshot showing the Touch menu highlighted within the Accessibility menu on an iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

4. Scroll to the bottom and tap "Back Tap."

A screenshot showing the Back Tap option highlighted within the Touch menu on an iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

5. You'll now see "Double Tap" and "Triple Tap." Here, you can assign an action to one, or both, of these options. To do this, tap "None" next to the option you want to choose.

A screenshot showing the Double Tap option highlighted within the Back Tap menu on an iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

6. You'll now see a list of available actions. Once you've chosen one, tap it so a checkmark appears by it, then tap < to set it. 

A screenshot showing the Camera option highlighted within the Back Tap options on an iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

There are a wealth of options to choose from: you could use it launch the camera, Control Center or Notification Center, for instance, or to take a screenshot. You can also use it to turn the volume up or down, or to jump back to Home.

In our book, one of the best use cases might be to set scroll up to a double tap and scroll down to a triple tap (or vice-versa) then read long articles one-handed. The possibilities are many.

To test it out, simply double tap or triple tap the back of your iPhone — depending on which option you chose — to see Back Tap come to life. But note that Back Tap may not work if you have a case on your iPhone, and your phone must be running iOS 14 or later.

Now you've unlocked your iPhone's Back Tap feature, check out the Weather app's must-try hidden feature that shows a cool interactive map. You may also want to discover the hidden Code Scanner app, as well as 15 essential Messages tips every iPhone owner should know.

Dale Fox

Dale Fox is How-to Editor at Tom's Guide, helping people get the most out of their technology. He's been a tech nerd ever since childhood, when he used the money from his first job as a paperboy to buy a subscription to GamesMaster magazine, and has a whole room at home dedicated as a shrine to the countless gadgets he's purchased over the decades. Dale was previously a presenter, reporter and editor in China, where he also worked as a copywriter for OnePlus at its Shenzhen HQ.