iOS software updates have historically often had features built for accessibility that have been utilised by other users to find quick ways to achieve tasks. Whether it’s the cursor support in iOS BEFORE it appeared in iOS 13.4 or simply inverting colours to create a ‘dark mode’, people have always found ways to add little tricks that weren’t meant to be there.

So it is again with the back tap feature in iOS 14. Along with custom home screens on TikTok, lots have people have discovered the accessibility feature for triggering actions by simply tapping the back of your iPhone twice or thrice.

So I thought I’d create a couple of quick shortcuts that allow you to either create a voice memo or dictate a quick note to yourself—just by double or triple tapping the back of you iPhone.

With ‘Quick Voice Memo’ the shortcut will launch a full-screen timer showing how long it’s been recording. To end it just tap the screen. It will then prompt you to choose where to save it on your iCloud Drive.

With ‘Quick Dictated Note’ a small box will drop down from the top of the screen showing what you’re saying as it dictates. To end, just stop speaking. It will then create a note in your Notes app with the dictated text. Simple!

  1. First, download my two shortcuts, here and here. Locate them in the Shortcuts app and tap the three dots on each to open them. Then allow access to dictation and the microphone.
  2. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap (right at the bottom).
  3. Tap either ‘Double Tap’ or ‘Triple Tap’ and scroll down the list of shortcuts to find either ‘Quick Voice Memo’ or ‘Quick Dictated Note’ and select it.
  4. That’s it! You can refine the settings of each shortcut by opening it up and changing the language (it’s currently set to UK English), refining when it stops dictating or recording and what quality of the audio recording.

Are you using any custom shortcuts activated by the new back tap feature? Let me know on twitter.