Triple Tap to Capture

Uncategorized Nov 30, 2021

Have you ever triple tapped the back of your iPhone? No?

I wish I could remember who on Twitter pointed out this Accessibility feature, but I wanted to highlight it here and how I use this gesture because it’s such a fun shortcut for automation nerds.

Watch this.

At any time, from any app, whenever I need to remember something, I can tap the back of my phone three times. An input dialog will appear, wait for me to type in what I need to do, and file away those items into OmniFocus for later. I never have to leave the app I’m currently using or even launch OmniFocus at all.

Here’s how. → Accessibility → Touch → Back Tap

Back Tap gesture options screenshot

From here, iOS lets you assign actions to two different gestures: double tap or triple tap. You tap the back of your phone with a finger in quick succession, just like you would double click a mouse button.

Options include helpful system commands like

  • Open Camera
  • Lock Screen
  • Lock Rotation
  • Take a Screenshot
  • Turn on the Flashlight

as well as enabling iOS’s many Accessibilty affordances and, for our purposes, running a Shortcut.

Back Tap command options screenshot

(I’ll go ahead and add here that I only use the triple tap option because I found double tapping is too easily accidentally triggered during my normal day-to-day phone usage.)

If you have a Shortcut that you use frequently or want immediate access to, these tap gestures are a fantastic way to launch it.

As for my task capturing Shortcut, it’s pretty simple.

  1. It prompts for input
  2. Splits what you enter into individual lines
  3. And creates a new OmniFocus task from each one
Screenshot of Capture Shortcut steps

You can download the Shortcut here.

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