android tap gestures hero
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

Gestures and shortcuts allow you to quickly access things without jumping through apps and menus. What if you could simply tap the back of your phone to perform an action? We’ll show you how to do this on your Android phone.

There are a couple of things you’ll need to get started. First, you must have a device running Android 7.0 or above. Next, we’ll need to sideload an app called “Tap, Tap.” The process is very straightforward.

RELATED: How to Launch Actions by Tapping on the Back of Your iPhone

Open a web browser on your Android device and head to this XDA forum thread. Download the APK file for the latest version of the app. At the time of writing, the app is still in beta, so the appearance of these screenshots may change slightly.

download the latest APK

The file will download and appear in your notifications. Tap the notification to install the APK.

tap the notification

You might need to give your browser permission to install apps from unknown sources. If that’s the case, a pop-up will take you to the app settings.

unknown sources settings

Toggle the switch on to “Allow From This Source.” You won’t have to do this the next time you install an APK from the browser.

toggle allow from this source

Next, go back and tap “Install” from the pop-up message.

tap install

When the app is finished installing, tap “Open” to launch it.

open the tap tap app

The first thing we need to do with Tap, Tap is enable the Accessibility Service. This setting is what will allow the app to recognize taps on the back of your device and perform the various actions. Tap the message at the top of the app.

tap the accessibility service banner

You’ll be brought to the Android “Accessibility” settings. Find Tap, Tap on the list.

select tap, tap

Toggle the switch on to “Use Tap, Tap.” A message will explain that this gives the app full control of your device. If you’re okay with that, tap “Allow.”

allow full control

You will be brought back to the Tap, Tap app. Next, we need to disable battery optimizations to make sure the app isn’t killed in the background.

disable battery optimizations banner

A message will ask you to allow the app to always run in the background. Tap “Allow” to proceed.

allow to run in the background

The app is now ready! There are a lot of things you can do with Tap, Tap, so let’s take an overview of the options.

First, the “Gesture” settings allow you to choose your “Device Model” and adjust the sensitivity of the gesture. At the time of writing, the “Device Models” are only a few Pixel phones, but the app works with many other devices.

gesture settings

There are two gestures you can set up: “Double Tap Actions” and “Triple Tap Actions.” The Double Tap gesture is always enabled, but Triple Tap can be turned on or off.

double tap and triple tap

If we open the “Double Tap Actions” settings, we can see a few actions already in place. The actions run in order from top to bottom. In this case, a double-tap will launch Google Assistant, and a second double-tap will take a screenshot.

double tap actions

To change the action order or to remove an action, tap and hold the “=” icon in the corner of the action card. Drag it to the trash to remove it.

drag card to trash

To add a new action, tap the “Add Action” button at the bottom of the screen.

tap add action

There are a few different categories of actions from which to choose. We encourage you to explore each one to see what you can do. Here are some examples:

  • Launch: Launch specific apps, shortcuts, Google Assistant, web searches, etc.
  • Actions: Take a screenshot, open the notification shade, lock the screen, app drawer, play/pause, etc.
  • Utilities: Flashlight, reachability mode.
  • Advanced: Hamburger Menu/Back button, Tasker.

action categories

Tap the “+” button next to an action to add it.

add an action

Actions can include “Requirements” as well. The Requirement needs to be met for the action to run. You can use Requirements to prevent accidentally launching an action. Tap “Add Requirement.”

tap add requirement

Scroll through the list of Requirements and tap the “+” button to add one. Multiple Requirements can be added to an Action.

add requirement

Configuring the “Triple Tap Actions” works in the same way, but you’ll need to enable it first.

enable triple tap

The next thing we’ll set up is “Gates.” These are situations, similar to the Requirements, that will prevent the gestures from running. Requirements are for individual Actions, while Gates apply to all of them.

Toggle the switch on for any of the Gates, or tap “Add Gate” to add more.

add gate

That’s it! As mentioned, there are a ton of options in this app. The only limitation is your imagination. You can create some very useful shortcuts if you take some time to explore.

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
Read Full Bio »