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Play or pause music by tapping the back of your iPhone

iTunes Logo Hero - August 2020

Using a feature called Back Tap on iPhone 8 or later with iOS 14 or later, you can configure your iPhone to play or pause your music by tapping the back of your phone two or three times. Here’s how to set it up.

Part 1: Create the play / pause shortcut

To play or pause music with a tap, we need help from an Apple shortcut, which is a kind of automated procedure that you can set on your iPhone to perform a task. But don̵

7;t worry – in this case, the task is very simple, so creating it is easy. We will walk you through the process.

First, launch the Shortcuts app. If you can’t find it, swipe down from the center of the screen until you see a search bar. Type “Shortcuts” then tap the Shortcuts app icon that appears.


Once the shortcuts are open, tap the ‘My Shortcuts’ button at the bottom of the screen and select ‘All Shortcuts’.


On the “All Shortcuts” screen, tap the Plus (“+”) button to add a new shortcut.

Tap the Plus (+) button.

On the “New Shortcut” page, tap the ellipses button (three dots in a circle) to rename the shortcut.

In Shortcuts on iPhone, tap the ellipses button to rename the shortcut.

On the Details card, tap the Shortcut Name text area, type Play / Pause Music, then tap Done.

Change the name of the shortcut to

Then tap the “Add action” button.

In iPhone Shortcuts, tap

In the “Actions” panel that appears, type “Play / Pause” in the search bar, then select “Play / Pause” from the list of results below.

In the action list, look for 'Play / Pause

Then you will see an overview of our very simple shortcut. It says “Now Playing” and then a list of the “Play / Pause on iPhone” action. When you’re happy, tap Done.


After that, tap on the “Play / Pause” music button in your shortcut list to test it out. The music starts to play. If you tap it again, the music will be paused. It works!

Part 2: Configure Back Tap

Next, we need to configure the Back Tap feature to use the “Play / Pause Music” shortcut that we just created. To do this, open Settings.


In Settings, navigate to Accessibility> Touch> Back tap.

In Ease of Access, select Touch Settings on iPhone

In the “Back Tap” settings, you can choose whether a double or triple tap activates the “Play / Pause Music” shortcut. Tap the one you prefer.

In Back Tap settings, select

You will see a list of actions that can be triggered when using Back Tap. Scroll through the list until you get to the “Shortcuts” section at the bottom and tap the “Play / Pause Music” shortcut we created earlier. When it is selected, it has a blue check mark next to it.

From the Back Tap action list, select it

Then exit Settings.

Tap the back of your iPhone two or three times (depending on how you set it up) and the music will start playing. Tap the back again to pause the music. You can switch between play and pause as often as you like. Back Tap works everywhere on iPhone, including the lock screen, but your iPhone’s screen must be active for it to work. Have fun listening!

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