Last year during the Android 11 Developer Preview phase, it looked like Google planned to add a double-tap gesture that would let people tap the back of their phone to activate certain functions. While the feature never made it into Android 11, it also apparently didn’t go away — it seems double-tap could arrive as part of Android 12.
As reported by 9to5Google, the double-tap gesture could arrive on Pixel phones with Android 12 with some tweaks. Back when the feature appeared in Android 11 with the codename ‘Columbus’ (named after the Zombieland character and his ‘double-tap’ rule), it would launch Google Assistant but also had several alternative features to activate instead.
Likewise, the Android 12 version reported on by 9to5Google would be able to activate Google Assistant, take a screenshot, pause/resume media playback, open the notification shade or open the recent apps view.
Unlike the previous Columbus gesture in Android 11, the Android 12 double-tap feature would include the ability to adjust the sensitivity to only recognize ‘firm’ taps. Alternatively, users can disable the double-tap feature.
Considering the first Android 11 Developer Preview arrived in mid-February last year, we could be just a few weeks out from the first Android 12 preview if it follows the same pattern. If so, we may get a look at the new double-tap feature soon. Of course, it’s also possible that Google will pull the feature again, which wouldn’t be great.
Apple added a similar feature to the iPhone called ‘Back Tap’ in iOS 14. It’s a handy way to access various settings and capabilities, and it’d be nice to see a similar shortcut on Android.