New iPhone feature lets users tap back of their phones for SafeEntry

Checking in and out with SafeEntry is now as easy as tapping the back of your phone, if you happen to be an iPhone user and have downloaded the latest iOS 14 software update.

This SafeEntry trick makes use of an iPhone app called Siri Shortcuts, which lets users trigger certain tasks with shortcuts such as a tap or voice command.

Users simply have to open the SingPass app on their iPhone to activate Siri Shortcuts for SafeEntry, before also turning on another function called Back Tap.

The final step is to assign, with Back Tap, the double-tapping and triple-tapping actions to checking in and out with SafeEntry, respectively. This means that instead of having to manually open the SingPass app each time, users need only to double-tap the back of their phones to call up the SafeEntry QR code scanner, or triple-tap to check out.

The ubiquitous SafeEntry is Singapore's national digital check-in system that logs the identification numbers and mobile numbers of individuals visiting venues, in order to aid contact-tracing efforts.

Popular local blogger Lee Kin Mun, better known as mrbrown, posted the SafeEntry iOS 14 "Pro Tip" on Facebook on Sunday. His post had drawn more than 1,300 likes and 4,300 shares as of 8pm yesterday.

Mr Lee noted that users can also set up their iPhones to perform the same task in response to a voice command to the iPhone's virtual assistant Siri.

"You can say that to Siri, yes," Mr Lee wrote in a reply to one user. "Or customise it to respond to 'Siri, scan me lah'."

The Siri Shortcuts app was among a range of features that received upgrades with Apple's iOS 14 software update, which was rolled out last Wednesday.

Apple typically releases new software updates to coincide with the launch of a new phone model, but the iOS 14 update is available to users of the iPhone 6S and later models.

However, the SafeEntry trick works only on newer iPhones with the Back Tap function beginning with the iPhone 8, which was released in 2017.

 
 
 

The phone must also be unlocked for the trick to work.

Other new features that come with iOS 14 include widgets, a translation app that supports an initial 11 languages, and a security feature that alerts users about passwords that have been compromised.

But Android users need not feel left out as far as SafeEntry is concerned.

A widget with the TraceTogether app brings up the SafeEntry menu with a single tap.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2020, with the headline 'New iPhone feature lets users tap back of their phones for SafeEntry'. Print Edition | Subscribe