Chinese phone makers, especially Xiaomi, have long ridiculed the copying of all Apple moves. And the future resource, while small, is likely to reinforce that image, despite how these companies have moved away from that stigma and developed their own strong identities. It is revealed that Xiaomi is working on a feature for its next MIUI 12, which will allow users to tap twice or even three times on the back of their phones to do something. If that sounds familiar, you’ve probably heard that iOS 14 will bring exactly that same feature in a few months.
It is easy to call Xiaomi a copycat again, but the case is not so clear. Apple can be credited for being the first to actually reveal a functional implementation, but, as XDA points out, Google was already playing around with this idea earlier this year. On the other hand, the story is likely to remember who actually leaves first.
Xiaomi’s implementation is practically as you would expect. Users can assign an action to each double tap back or triple tap back. As with any implementation, this will likely use a combination of sensor data to distinguish intentional touches back from accidental ones inside your bag or pocket.
The number of actions you can assign to these gestures is quite limited on Xiaomi’s list. Currently, it shows only a screenshot, lighting the torch, starting the camera or opening the control center or the notification panel. There may be more along the way or even less, depending on how future MIUI 12 updates will be.
The version of this Google gesture was identified at the beginning of the Android 11 code and there is still a chance that it will really outperform Apple in the next two months. More importantly, if it becomes a feature available on Android 11, chances are that Android developers will be able to expand the list of actions beyond the limited Google and OEMs are likely to allow.