Gestures have been a big deal in Android since well before Android 12 but the latest update packs in a new feature called Quick Tap that brings things to a new level.
What is Android 12’s Quick Tap and why do you want it?
So the biggest reason you will want to enable this gesture stems from exactly what this gesture is. Having access to a new gesture, in almost any context, is going to be useful for quickly getting things done. And this one adds a gesture that allows you to double-tap on the back of your phone to access apps or shortcuts.
For example, you can set it to launch the camera — as we’ll show in this example. And, more specifically, you can set the gesture to launch the camera, launch into selfie mode and snap a photo, or launch into video mode. So, beyond simply adding a new gesture, there’s some deep customization for this gesture. With many apps allowing more than simply launching the interface.
Of course, not every phone that gets Android 12 will support the new gesture either. Although there are still plenty of other new things to explore in the update aside from Quick Tap. Those phones that don’t support it won’t show the settings for the app at all, though. So if you can’t find the setting following this guide, it isn’t likely available for your device just yet.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that your phone won’t ever see the feature. It may be added in the future. But, for the time being, there are some limitations for at least some non-Pixel users.
Here’s how to enable Quick Tap
Now, turning Quick Tap on is a straightforward affair. That is, as noted above, as long as you have a phone that delivers on the hardware needed to access it. Of course, also as noted above, Google may bring the feature to other devices in the future. But if you can’t find it using the following steps, it likely doesn’t exist yet for your handset.
- Open up the Settings app. There are several ways to accomplish this, with the most common being a quick scan of the app drawer for Settings. In our example, we’re swiping down on the notification shade twice and tapping on the gear-shaped Settings icon
- In Settings, navigate to the “System” sub-menu and then to “Gestures.” Conversely, you can also search for the setting. That can be accomplished by tapping on the search field or icon, then searching for “Quick Tap”
- Tap the toggle next to the “Quick Tap” option in the Gestures sub-menu
- Quick Tap will now be turned on, as indicated by the toggle switch changing colors from gray to whatever color Material You has selected for your system accent colors — it’s a blue-gray color in our example photos
Here’s how to customize Quick Tap in Android 12
Once turned on, Quick Tap in Android 12 is automatically set to take a screenshot when the gesture is activated. You can customize that, too. And there really aren’t too many limitations on that customization either.
That’s a good thing since Android already has a quick-access method for screenshots. Having a second, potentially easier method for taking screenshots is useful. But since that’s already available elsewhere and that other method is already pretty easy, it may be a good idea to set the gesture to something else So let’s take a look at how to make Quick Tap do something even more useful.
- Navigate back to the Quick Tap menu, if you’ve already moved back to the home screen — via either the steps above or the Recent Apps menu
- Scroll down the page to the “Tap back of phone twice to” sub-heading. “Take screenshot” will be selected by default
- Select from the other available options, which include “Access your digital assistant,” “Play or pause media,” “See recent apps,” “Show notifications” or “Open app”
- Depending on the selected option, that function will now launch when you double-tap the back panel of your smartphone. With the exception of “Open app,” which can be customized further
- For the “Open app” option, tapping the gear-shaped settings icon will present more options. Giving you the choice to select which app will open. We’ve set the option to the “Camera” app in our example photos.
- For some apps, further settings will be available via a gear icon on the app selection page. Tap the gear-shaped icon to access those settings and shortcuts. For instance, in the Camera app selected in our sample photos, the option is available to open the app, take a video, or snap a selfie on double-tap
- One selected, use the back-arrow icon to navigate back to the Quick Tap sub-menu
- Finally, test your double-tap gesture. If the gesture seems too sensitive, navigate back to the Quick Tap settings page. Scroll to the bottom and turn on the toggle to “Require stronger taps.” Otherwise, the new gesture should be ready to go