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Android Secrets: Enable Back Tap on any device now!

Flashlight Smartphone
© NextPit

The back tap gesture has been present in iPhones for quite some time now. Android manufacturers have done their best to mimic it, but the feature still remains a novelty for most devices. Well, this is no more. In this guide, we will show you how to unlock this feature in any Android smartphone that runs Android 7 or later.

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TL;DR

  • TapTap Flashlight is a free app that allows you to replicate the back tap feature.
  • It works on any Android device with Android 7 and up.
  • The app contains no advertisements.

When my colleague, Antoine Engels, wrote his guide on how to create shortcuts with the back tap feature on MIUI smartphones, I was quick to try and replicate it on my Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro. Unfortunately, as I was looking through the settings and following the steps, I could not find the selection! I discovered that Xiaomi only enabled the feature for some devices, and the same is true for other Android manufacturers.

I was almost ready to write another opinion piece about Xiaomi neglecting its consumers. Instead, I overcame the feelings of disappointment and envy and started surfing the internet to discover how to get this feature on my device. Lo and behold, I found an app that can replicate the feature... to some extent.

How to use the back tap feature on any Android device

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TapTap Flashlight has a few options to customize your experience. / © NextPit

So the app that we are going to use to make that happen is called TapTap Flashlight, which is based on open-source code used to replicate the feature. The application allows you to toggle your flashlight without pressing any buttons, simply by tapping the back of your device twice.

As I said earlier, the application will work on any Android phone after Android 7. Or at least that is what the developer claims. I tested it with two devices, one running Android 11 and one running Android 12 and it worked almost perfectly (more about that below.)

I found TapTap Flashlight very useful since when I usually need my flashlight — for a quick visit to the bathroom at night, for example — I have no time to unlock my device and fondle through menus. The application uses a few workarounds to make this happen, but everything is clearly explained in the app itself.

To set it up, you basically have to allow the application to use the accessibility features in your device. To do that, you simply press the button "Accessibility Service", which will take you to the appropriate settings menu. There you will see a list of applications that you can enable. Select TapTap Flashlight and toggle it on. You will be prompted to confirm giving this access since the application can theoretically read the content of your screen (something used by dictating apps, for example). And this is it!

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Here is how to set up the application. / © NextPit

Then you can further improve the service by turning off battery optimization for this specific app, but keep in mind that this may reduce the battery life of your device. I did not see any noticeable change in the week I used the feature. Additionally, you can set the sensitivity of the tap, allow it to work while the screen is off, or vibrate every time you use the gesture successfully.

The only bug that I encountered was that sometimes, after leaving the device sleeping for long periods, the gesture would not work. To fix that on my Oppo Find  X5, I simply restarted the application, while for my Xiaomi (that the bug happened more often), I had to toggle the application off and on again on the accessibility page.

Would you use this gesture if it was widely available?
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Is TapTap Flashlight safe to use?

When dealing with applications that use Accessibility Settings, one must be cautious because these applications need extensive permissions to function. But with TapTap Flashlight, I found no such issues. In the Privacy Policy, the developer, Gaurav Saxena, states that the application is free to use and that he collects no personally identifiable information. Any information collected is by third-party libraries used for the app, like FireBase Analytics.

Scrutinizing the application further through the Exodus platform confirms these claims. TapTap Flashlight has two trackers by Google and requires nine permissions, which are a lot, but looking closer they are in line with the features that the application provides.

Did you like this trick? Do you know of any other gesture apps that make your life easier? Please share it with us in the comments!

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