Last month, your iPhone secret button got attention, and maybe you didn’t even know.
No, Apple didn’t break into your house and stick a iphone secret button on your mobile secretly. But it did announce the new update of its iPhone app, iOS 14, which includes a Back Tap feature. Back Tap introduces to your phone a mysterious new “button” that blurs the distinction between the hardware and software.
Back Tap turns the iPhone’s whole back into a giant touch-sensitive button that you can double or triple tap to activate unique phone features. There’s a fair chance you really haven’t seen it. Apple slipped the Back Tap settings into its Accessibility menu.
But Back Tap also taps into the extremely robust Shortcuts software from Apple, which ensures that you can make these latest buttons do almost everything you can imagine effectively. It’s a curious sort of button: totally invisible to the human eye, completely non-functional until it’s activated by software, but can be tasked with just a fast tap to unlock, connect with, or accomplish almost any task on your smartphone.
The most basic means of contact is physical buttons, of course. This is why Samsung insists on a tailor-made Bixby button and why Netflix pays for a spot on the remote of your Roku. And while Apple may not be able to give up possession of the actual buttons on your iPhone, the next best thing is Back Tap with its near-button.