Do you ever wish you had the option to continue what you were already doing on your phone, like playing a game or watching a video, while still being able to check the latest WhatsApp message or text?
If you thought this split-screen facility was available only in high-end smartphones, you are happily mistaken!
Google has made this feature available on Android from version seven Nougat onwards. It hasn’t really been publicized much which could be why few people are aware of the option. But, if you own an Android phone that runs on Android Nougat, Oreo or the latest Pie version operating system, your device will be able to offer this split-screen facility.
Here are the ways you can enable this feature on your phone:
The Direct Drag & Drop Method
1.Choose the apps you wish to have on the split screen and open them.
2. Close all open apps, including the two you just opened and select the recent apps button. This is usually a symbol with two or three lines in the bottom right or left corner of the screen.
3. Here the two apps will appear one over the other. Tap on one app and drag it to the top corner of the screen.
4. Next, by just tapping on the other app, it will take itself down to the bottom of the screen.
5. Now that you have both apps on the screen, you can expand them manually to the sizes you need so that one can be bigger than the other. Use the line that appears on the screen to divide the two apps and move it to the desired position.
Using the Long Tap Method
1.Open the first app that you wish to be able to view simultaneously with another.
2.Now, go to the recent apps button and hold it until a dialogue box appears.
3.Select the second app you wish to add to the screen.
4.Resizing can be done in the same way as you did above by moving the dividing line up or down the screen.
You can now enjoy the split-screen mode on your Android phone. The two apps are independent of each other and you can work on both simultaneously. You can keep chatting away on WhatsApp or any other messaging app you may be using while the other window or split-screen has a game or video playing.
Closing the Split-screen Mode
Obviously, you may not want this facility to be on all the time. At some point you will want to close it and go back to normal mode. Again, Android allows you to do this in two different ways.
Using the Dividing Line
1.Hold and drag the line that divides the two apps either up or down.
2.This will remove one of the apps from the screen leaving just one remaining.
Using the App Switching Icon
1. Long tap the recent apps button/app switching icon until the app open in the bottom portion of the screen is closed.
2. As in the process above, you are now left with one app which you can continue using or close to get back to the Home screen.
Some Changes in the Android Pie OS
While all these are fine with the Android Nougat and Oreo versions, with the introduction of the Android Pie, Google has made several changes, the main one being the gesture-based navigation. If you have opted to disable this feature on your new phone, then the steps described above are adequate. But, with the gesture-based navigation enabled, accessing split-screen mode is slightly different.
- Swipe up rapidly when you are on the home screen. You will now be able to view the apps you were working on recently.
- Long-press the icon above the first app you want to have available on your split screen.
- A new popup menu will appear with a split screen option if the app supports it.
- Now repeat this with the second app you want to open.
- Size adjustment of the two apps is the same as with the earlier versions described above.
This split-screen facility in Android devices is available on tablets too. However, experts caution users that smartphone manufacturers add their own inhouse UI to run the apps and some of them may not be compatible with the split-screen function. You may have to check with the manufacturer of your device if there are some additional steps needed to allow the function. Similarly not all apps are able to be used in split screen mode. But you will get a message indicating if this is the case.