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Google Pixel phones have a secret button. Here's how to find it (and use it)

A double-tap is all it takes to open your favorite apps, call on the Assistant, and more.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Reviewed by Min Shin
A person holding up the Google Pixel 7a in Sea Blue.
June Wan/ZDNET

The Google Pixel's minimal approach to Android has never won any awards for native customization and configurability; not with the likes of Samsung's One UI and OnePlus' OxygenOS in contention. 

That's why I'm always excited when I discover useful features tucked within tabs and tabs of settings, hardly utilized or just never known by most people.

Also: The Pixel 8 could bring back a buzzword that was once the talk of the tech industry

One of those features is a hidden button by the name of Quick Tap. You won't see it looking around your Pixel phone, and it's not some software-based, floating button on the screen, either. Instead, through the Pixel's gyroscope and accelerometer, Quick Tap is triggered when you double-tap the back of the device.

The best part is Quick Tap is mappable to a specific function or any app you'd like. Here's the breakdown of how to find the feature, customize it, and put it to use.

How to use Quick Tap on the Google Pixel

1. Compatible devices

Due to the hardware requirements for Quick Tap to work, the feature is available on Google Pixel models starting from the Pixel 4a 5G. That includes the just-released Pixel Fold.

2. Finding the Quick Tap setting

To access Quick Tap, open up Settings and scroll down to System > Gestures. Then, go to Quick Tap to start actions. The page will display an animation of how to use the feature and a list of what you can activate, including taking a screenshot, opening Google Assistant, playing or pausing media, showing notifications, and opening a desired app.

Also: How to make your Pixel phone automatically decline robocalls

Personally, I have Quick Tap set to turn on or off my flashlight.

June Wan/ZDNET

3. Extra tips

At the bottom of the Quick Tap settings is a toggle to require stronger taps. This is ideal if you're often fumbling with your phone and afraid that you'll accidentally trigger your selected action.

You'll also have more success with Quick Tap if there's no phone case, kickstand, or wallet sleeve attached. I've been able to use the feature with a silicone case on my Pixel Fold, but anything thicker may require stronger taps, even if the toggle isn't turned on.

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