Cool hack will save you time and keep you in everyone’s good books.

Our Japanese-language reporter Saya Togashi has been travelling in elevators since, well…ever since she can remember. However, she was today years old when she learnt about a life hack that could’ve saved her a lot of time during all those elevator rides.

Saya came across the hack while leafing through a magazine at the hairdresser’s, where a heading in bold font read: “Everyone knows that if you press the wrong floor button in the elevator, you can cancel it by pressing it twice“.

Saya couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed for not knowing this fact that seemingly “everyone knows”. Reading a little further, though, revealed that the double-press hack doesn’t always work, as it may require a long press or a triple press instead, depending on the lift manufacturer.

So Saya set out to test this new bean of knowledge she’d gleaned from the magazine as soon as she could. Would it really work? Well, there was only one way to find out.

Saya stepped into the elevator outside the hairdresser’s, and because she was alone, she pressed the button to go down to the second floor…and then the first floor. Saya really wanted to get off on the first floor, though, so it was time for her to try that hack.

▼ She pressed the second floor button twice…

▼ …and voila! The light for that floor disappeared! 

Saya was on her way to the first floor without having to waste time with an unscheduled stop. She couldn’t believe she’d gone so many years without knowing this neat hack, and she soon found herself experimenting with all kinds of elevators, whenever she was riding inside them alone.

▼ Would the hack work in this older elevator inside a multi-tenant building in a rural area outside of Tokyo?

Hmmm, curiously, no. This one stayed lit after Saya pressed it twice. Checking the lift model, she found that this one was made by Hitachi while the newer elevator in Tokyo that responded to the double-press was made by Mitsubishi.

After reading up on the topic online, Saya found that the double-press hack really does depend on the manufacturer, but relatively new models from the 1990s to the 2000s generally have a cancel function which allows floors to be cancelled.

Some elevator models suggest pressing the button twice while the door is open or pressing and holding the button until the light disappears as other ways to cancel an unnecessary floor stop. In fact, that latter technique is the one Saya should’ve used for the Hitachi elevator, according to this list of undo codes for each lift manufacturer.

Regardless of the technique required, it’s good to know that floor stops can be cancelled, especially if you step into an empty elevator with all the buttons lit as a prank, or if you’re a parent of small children who just love to press all the buttons. There’s a time and place for that, and it’s called the Elevator Button Tour in Tokyo.

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[ Read in Japanese ]