Android 11 introduces a plethora of new features, just like every other major version. However, the hidden back tap gesture introduced in the first developer preview didn’t make its way to the official stable build for unknown reasons. Given that the feature allowed users to tap the back of their Pixel devices to perform different actions, it’s quite unfortunate to see it missing from the final iteration of Android 11.
Fortunately, Quinny899 on the XDA Developers forum developed the ‘Tap, Tap’ app that uses Google’s Tensorflow machine learning model to detect double-taps on the back of not only Pixel devices but also every other Android phone. The ML training solely relies on the device’s gyroscope and accelerometer sensors, so it doesn’t have any special hardware or software requirements.
The ‘Tap, Tap’ app is open-source, and it’s compatible with almost all ARMv8 Android devices running Android 7.0 Nougat or later. Although the app uses the same ML models that Google used for its back tap gesture feature on Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 4, and Pixel 4 XL devices, you can get the app working on most other Android phones with size and dimensions similar to the following Pixel models. I have managed to get it working on the OnePlus 7 and the Redmi Note 7 Pro, and your phone might also support it.
If you are eager to try out Android 11’s back tap gesture yourself, go through the following instructions given in this guide.
How to install ‘Tap, Tap’ on your Android phone?
‘Tap, Tap’ is a work in progress. In its current state, the app is not ready to be published on the Play Store yet. At the time of this writing, the latest beta version of the app is 0.8.1, and it is available for download on this XDA forum thread. Here’s how you can sideload the ‘Tap, Tap’ APK file on your Android device:
- First, get the APK file for the latest version of ‘Tap, Tap’ from the XDA forum thread link above.
- After the APK file is downloaded, open it from the pop-up dialog box on your browser or the notification bar.
- You should receive a security prompt regarding the installation of unknown apps from the browser. Tap Settings under the prompt.
- Tap the slider next to the “Allow from this source” option on the following menu. Note that you can turn off the option anytime from the settings.
- Return to the browser window and click Install under the pop-up dialog box.
- Once the ‘Tap, Tap’ app is successfully installed on your Android device, tap Done, then return to your home screen.
You can launch ‘Tap, Tap’ from the app drawer, or the newly created shortcut on your home screen.
How to get ‘Tap, Tap’ working on your Android phone?
Setting up ‘Tap, Tap’ on an Android device is relatively straightforward and hassle-free. The whole setup process goes as follows:
- First, launch the ‘Tap, Tap’ app on your device.
- Now tap the “Accessibility Service…” option. You will be redirected to your device’s Accessibility settings page.
- Select ‘Tap, Tap’ from the list, toggle the slider next to “Use Service” and tap Allow when prompted. You should automatically return to the app window.
- Now tap the “Disable Battery Optimisation” option in the app, then tap Allow to ensure that the system doesn’t kill the app in the background.
That’s it! You can now take advantage of the ‘Tap, Tap’ app on your Android device. There are plenty of gesture options and additional settings that you can change to your preferences.
Performing back tap gesture actions with ‘Tap, Tap’
Before you try out the back tap gesture features, go to the Gesture settings menu in the ‘Tap, Tap’ app first, and select your Device Model. There are currently three Pixel devices on the list: Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 4, and Pixel 4 XL. If you have any of these devices, then you are in luck. Others have to select the one that matches the build and dimensions of their Android devices.
In the same menu, you will also find the gesture Sensitivity slider. It’s set in the middle by default. Unless you are not satisfied with the default sensitivity, I recommend you to keep it untouched.
Now for the fun part. On the main app window, you should see two gesture options, which are Double Tap Actions and Triple Tap Actions. The double-tap gestures always stay enabled, whereas the triple-tap gestures are optional.
In the “Double Tap Actions” menu, you will find two actions set up by default: Launch Assistant and Screenshot. The actions are performed in the order of top to bottom of the list.
You can change the priority of the actions by tapping and holding the ‘=’ icon on the right of an action card and dragging them to the top. You can also remove the actions by dragging them down to the bottom of the screen.
To add a new action, click the Add Action button below the menu. Here are a few things you can do with the gesture:
- Launch an app, camera, or shortcut
- Open up Google Assistant, Google Search bar, and the power menu
- Toggle flashlight and split-screen mode
- Take screenshots
- Open notification bar and QS panel
- Lock the screen and wake the device
- Simulate Back, Home, and Recents button presses
- Use media playback and volume controls
- Trigger a Tasker Event or Task (for advanced users)
You can also tap the Add requirement option below an action card to add multiple requirements for individual actions. There are dozens of conditions to choose from.
Voila! You can now perform a specific action by double-tapping the back of your Android phone. You can also perform the next double-tap action by doing it the second time. Similarly, you may enable Triple Tap Actions and configure it to your preferences.
The other option that you should check out in the ‘Tap, Tap’ app is Gates. With the following feature, you can block the gestures from working in different scenarios, such as when you are on a phone call, or the device is locked, or a particular app is open, etc. Unlike the Requirements set for individual actions, Gates will apply to all of them.
‘Tap, Tap’ is a must-have utility app for your Android device, considering it makes specific actions much more comfortable to perform, such as triggering the Google Assistant or taking screenshots on the go. I personally use the app for other things as well, and it certainly has changed the way I use my Android device. You should try it out too and let me know about your experience in the comments below.
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