One of the biggest advantages of Android over the competition was always its multitasking capabilities. Even today, it’s something unique about Android, which acts like a real multi-tasking system – as long as you have the memory, it will keep things in the background pretty much indefinitely. This means that you can have several apps opened at once, all doing their thing, and easily switch between them. However, even that might get cumbersome, as constantly switching between apps can be annoying. So today, we’ll show you how you can enable multi-window on the latest version of Android and have 2 apps on the screen at the same time!
This feature that we’re going to talk about today has actually been on Android for a while, but not built-in. Instead, manufacturers like Samsung have included this feature on some devices as a bonus feature to make their devices more appealing to users. Now, multi-window is apparently going to be a part of mainstream Android in the upcoming releases since Marshmallow, the latest version, includes native support for it and it works quite nicely. That means no extra apps or requirements necessary. Here’s how to get it working:
First, make sure you have enabled Developer Options on your device. If you’re not sure about how to do this, check out our post on how to enable it:
Go into Developer Options, and scroll down into the “Drawing” section. There, if your device supports it, you will find a toggle that says “Multi-window mode”:
If you do not see the option, you can get it to show up, if you have a rooted device, by installing this app, then tapping the search icon at the bottom:
In the search field, enter “build.type”:
Then, tap over the “ro.build.type” result that appears:
Under “Property Value”, change it from “user” to “userdebug”:
Then tap “Save”, and reboot the device. The option should now appear in the Developer Options the next time you boot the device. Anyway, once you get it to show up, tap to enable it and this message will pop-up, letting you know that this feature is experimental and could cause some apps to crash. Tap “Enable” to proceed:
Okay, now that the feature is enabled, all that’s left is explaining how it actually works. It’s actually quite simple – after enabling this feature, when you go into the app switcher, you should see a new icon at the top of the app cards:
This icon is related to multi-window mode, and it lets you define how the app should be presented on the screen. For example, let’s imagine you would like to have the Settings and the Play Store displayed at the same time. The first thing you should do is open both apps, so that they’re the bottom 2 cards on the app switcher:
Then, you would tap on the new multi-window icon for the card at the bottom:
Which will cause this to pop-up:
This is how you define which app should go on top and which should go on the bottom, respectively. The third option is the regular fullscreen mode. Pick one of the first two options, and you’ll see multi-window in action:
Basically, when you tap on the multi-window icon for one of the apps on the app switcher, you will be enabling multi-window for that app and the one right above it in the app switcher. It sounds a little confusing, but once you do it you’ll see it’s actually quite intuitive, and looks wonderful even in landscape mode! Overall, this feature works great and offers a lot of flexibility to multitasking on Android. The feature is still experimental, of course, but it actually seems to be very stable and ready for release. On devices with a big screen, like the Nexus 6 or any regular tablet, this feature can be a nice way to take advantage of all that screen space and put it to good use. Any questions or issues? Let us know in the comment section below!