Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple’s New Back Tap Feature in iOS 14 Is Cool, but It Isn’t ‘Hidden’

iOS 14 includes a really nice new feature that allows you to double-tap the back of your iPhone to run a shortcut or perform a specific action. It works pretty well for me, and it seems to be a boon for accessibility. But Steven Aquino, writing for Forbes, understandably disagrees with the way it is often framed:

The real harm, however, in casting Back Tap as “hidden” is to the disabled community. What does it say about society’s collective view on people with disabilities that their needs are reduced to purposeful obscurity? To label Back Tap as “hidden” insinuates it and those of its ilk are of lesser importance. That’s not only stupid and clearly wrong, but it shows profound disrespect to those people for whom Back Tap is truly needed. There’s a lesson in headline-writing here — instead of using the word hidden, why not use a phrase like “coolest features” to introduce Back Tap? Back Tap is undoubtedly cool, whereas “hidden” has a negative connotation and untrue.

There are plenty of new features in iOS 14 that are not easy to find but, as Aquino points out, the Accessibility section is on the first page of Settings. It is wrong to think of Accessibility options, in general, as being solely for those without perfect eyesight or fine motor control. The top-level positioning of this section indicates — rightly — that they are for everyone to set up an iPhone or iPad in a way that works best for them.