Adding a button via a software update sounds impossible - but Apple has refused to be deterred. A new feature in iOS 14 transforms the back of your iPhone (assuming it's an iPhone 8 or later) into a touch-sensitive surface.

With the new function, you can perform various actions by tapping on the back of your iPhone, which you can assign yourself. Back Tap also works through a cover, but depending on the cover you may have to tap harder.

You can assign two functions, one for double and one for triple tap. There are a number of suggested functions to choose from, but since you can also assign shortcuts, the possibilities are almost limitless. For example, I set Control Centre to double-tap, while triple-tapping opens a chat app.

The new function is a bit hidden in the settings, but it's easy to set up.

How to set up Back Tap

  • Go to Settings and select Accessibility > Touch. You'll find this in the section headed Physical And Motor.
  • Scroll all the way down. You'll see the option Back Tap. Tap this.
  • Now you can assign functions to Double Tap and Triple Tap.
  • Either select one of the suggested functions or use the Shortcuts app to program your own function.
  • Now you can start your selected functions by either double- or triple-tapping with your finger on the back of your iPhone.

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by David Price.