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Viral TikTok shows the ‘secret button’ hidden in the back of iPhone that can be used for anything

Andrew Griffin
Friday 28 January 2022 08:03 GMT
Viral TikTok shows ‘secret button’ hidden in back of iPhone

There is a hidden button located in the back of the iPhone, a viral TikTok has shown.

While the option to use the button has been in the Apple handset for years, a new video has brought awareness of it to a whole new set of people. More than a million users have viewed just one video celebrating the new feature, which warns that people are using their iPhone wrong if they are not taking advantage of it.

The feature, named Back Tap, is actually in the phone as an accessibility feature, designed to give people more control over their phone. And it can be used for just about anything.

It is activated by tapping twice or three times on the back of the phone, in the same area as the Apple logo. It must be set up within the settings, but then can be used to trigger nearly anything the phone can do.

That includes opening up apps, taking pictures or turning on the torch. But it also involves far more complicated processes, when it is used in combination with Apple’s Shortcuts apps.

All the feature requires is a relatively new iPhone that has been updated to the iOS 14 software, which came out in September 2020.

The feature can be turned on by opening up the Settings app. In there, clicki the “Accessibility” option and then the “Touch” one, where the “Back Tap” setting should show.

You can then click the Double or Triple Tap settings and choose from a long list of various functions that can be switched on or off with a tap. (The double and triple settings operate independently, so the one secret button is really two.)

Once that is done, tapping the back of the phone twice or three times should make the chosen action happen.

The gesture becomes even more powerful when paired with Apple’s Shortcuts app, which allows for the creation of detailed automated processes that can be kicked off with the same tap. Users can make a new shortcut within the app, and then set the gesture to trigger it.

Those shortcuts can be made within the app of the same now, and can be put together to be as complicated or as simple as possible. A whole host of operations can be strung together: you can ask the phone to find directions home, text the expected time of arrival to a contact, and then open up the Music app to choose some songs to listen to on your journey, for instance.

Once that shortcut is created, it can be selected like any other from within the accessibility menus. When the “Back Tap” option is chosen, as above, scroll all the way down to the bottom and the saved shortcuts should be there.

What’s more, because the feature is intended as an accessibility feature, it can be used to replace other settings that people might find harder to use. It can be combined with other accessibility tools such as AssistiveTouch or Magnifier, turning them on with a tap.

Despite being described as a button, and functioning as one, the Back Tap option isn’t really a button at all. Instead, it uses hardware sensors and clever software to identify when it thinks someone has tapped the back of the phone.

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