Google Testing New Double-Tap Gesture on Back of Pixel Phones for Launching Camera, Assistant, and More

Google is reportedly testing an interesting new gesture for its Pixel smartphones that lets users double-tap the back of the handset to control various functions.

Doubletap
XDA-Developers discovered the new gesture system, codenamed "Columbus," in the Android 11 developer preview for Pixel phones. According to the site, the double-tap gesture can be used to perform the following actions:

  • Dismiss timers
  • Snooze alarms
  • Launch the camera
  • Invoke Google Assistant
  • Play or pause media
  • Collapse the status bar
  • Silence incoming calls
  • Unpin notifications
  • Other "user-selected action"

The double-tap gesture apparently doesn't require any special hardware, as it relies on the phone's gyroscope and accelerometer. XDA-Developers managed to get the gesture working on a Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 4 XL, both running Android 11 Developer Preview 1. You can see the gesture being used to launch the Camera app in the clip below.



To prevent the gesture being activated unintentionally, Google has also added so-called "gates" to stop the double tap actions from taking effect. Some of the currently implemented gates are said to include camera visibility, charging status, keyguard, and more. XDA believes the Settings app will also contain gesture training activities for the user to perform in order to refine its responsiveness.

Google's own-branded Android phones have included innovative interactive gestures before, such as fingerprint gestures, Active Edge, and Motion Sense on the Pixel 4 series. Active Edge lets users squeeze the sides of the device to quickly activate Google Assistant, while Motion Sense allows users to skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls by waving a hand in front of the phone.

Apple has also experimented with new ways of interacting with iPhones, including the use of touch and touchless gestures. A 2018 rumor from Bloomberg suggested Apple is working on iPhones that will use touchless gesture controls, allowing users to hover over the iPhone to navigate through the iOS operating system using a finger, but without having to touch the display.

If Apple moved forward with that rumored gesture technology, it could show up in iPhones as early as 2020, according to Bloomberg's two-year timeline for the feature. It's not yet clear if Apple is continuing to experiment with gestures, though, as we haven't heard any information on such a feature coming to the 2020 ‌‌iPhone‌‌ lineup.

What do you think of Google's rear double-tap gesture? Is it something you'd like to see in a new-generation ‌‌iPhone‌‌, or are touch-less gestures the future? Let us know in the comments.

Top Rated Comments

cmaier Avatar
19 months ago

Something like this is obvious and I’ve recommended it to apple. What if volume down opened the camera and took a pic, and volume up opened the camera d as s started recording a movie. I’d miss a lot fewer moments if the added this.
and you wouldn’t be able to control your volume. Sounds fun.

maybe the power button can open Twitter and tweet whatever your last photo taken was. And the letter “e” on the keyboard can dial your mom on the phone. And tap and hold on the phone icon can mean volume up.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheSkywalker77 Avatar
19 months ago

What do you think of Google's rear double-tap gesture? Is it something you'd like to see in a new-generation ?iPhone?, or are touch-less gestures the future? Let us know in the comments.
It’s just a gimmick, imo. So are air gestures.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
heov Avatar
19 months ago
This is clever and innovative. Being able to disable alarms alone makes this an option worth having. Dont like it? Disable that feature. Customization and options is what Android is about.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
19 months ago
Google is surprisingly eager to capitalize on the PS Vita rear touchpad's lack of success.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mansu944 Avatar
19 months ago
Something like this is obvious and I’ve recommended it to apple. What if volume down opened the camera and took a pic, and volume up opened the camera and started recording a movie. I’d miss a lot fewer moments if the added this.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Relentless Power Avatar
19 months ago
I mean, I always like to see new ways of controlling the UI, but my question is, do consumers really remember how to do these types of things? Think of it like 3D Touch, a really useful feature for those who actually knew how to manipulate it, but for the majority of consumers, it was confusing and they didn’t know what it was for. That’s kind of how I see this double tap feature.

For someone like myself heavily into ‘tech’, I like to utilize the small, hidden little features with smart phones that do make it more convenient to access certain points within the phone itself, but for the majority of consumers, they’ll never use this.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
Apple watch series 5 new case material made of titanium 091019

Titanium Apple Watch Series 6 Models Currently Widely Unavailable

Sunday August 1, 2021 6:21 am PDT by
Models of the Apple Watch Series 6 with titanium cases part of the "Apple Watch Edition" collection is currently widely unavailable for pick-up in several of Apple's retail stores in the United States and is unavailable entirely for delivery in major markets. Noted by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, titanium models of the Apple Watch Series 6,...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
telegram

Bumper Telegram Update Enables Video Calls With Up to 1,000 Viewers

Saturday July 31, 2021 12:13 am PDT by
Telegram Messenger has received a major update to its video capabilities, including support for video calls with up to 1,000 viewers. Group video calls in Telegram allow up to 30 users to stream video from both their camera and their screen, and now a maximum of 1,000 people can tune into the broadcast. Telegram says it intends to continue increasing this limit "until all humans on Earth...
app store blue banner

Elon Musk: Apple's App Store Fees Are a 'De Facto Global Tax on the Internet'

Friday July 30, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter today to criticize Apple's App Store fees in a tweet that sides with Epic in the ongoing Epic v. Apple dispute. "Epic is right," wrote Musk, before going on to call Apple's App Store fees a "de facto global tax on the Internet." Musk earlier this week made veiled comments about App Store fees, but today's statement is a much more direct criticism....
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Top Stories: Face ID on Future Macs, Elon Musk Criticizes Apple, and More

Saturday July 31, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
This week saw an interesting range of Apple news and rumors, including a blockbuster earnings report, rumors about next year's "iPhone 14" and Face ID coming to Macs, and more. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Other popular topics included Apple's crackdown on leaks, changes in the latest round of betas for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, and several stories...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...