It’s amazing it’s taken this long, but Android 7.0 Nougat finally has the ability to run two apps on the screen at the same time.
Sure, the ability to use two apps at the same time on Android isn’t a new idea—in fact, Samsung and LG have been doing it for quite some time. The thing is, the third-party options are generally limited to a handful of apps that have been modified to forcefully work with split-screen. So, basically, it’s a hackjob. But now, Google has a native way to run two apps on the screen at one time. That means better compatibility for all 7.0-enabled phones–basically any app should work at this point.
It’s stupid easy to use, too. In fact, there isn’t even toggle for it. No button needs to be ticked, no slider slid. It’s just on, and it just works. I love features like this.
So, let’s say you need to look at your browser and a Google Doc at the same time. First, launch the browser—in this case, we’re using Chrome (of course).
With Chrome in the foreground, hit the “recent apps” button. I’m using a Pixel C for this demo (so the button is off to the far right), but the process is the same on all Nougat devices.
When the recent apps cards load, long-press on Chrome. Two highlighted areas will show up on either the sides or top and bottom of the screen (depending on what kind of device and orientation you’re using). Go ahead and drag Chrome to one of those boxes. This will push Chrome to that area of the display, and load the recent apps menu on the other half.
From here, you can do one of two things: either load another recent app, or load a new app. If you want to load something that you’ve already been looking at, just tap that window—it’ll automatically load on the other half of the display. Bam.
But let’s say you want to load Docs, which you haven’t yet opened. With Chrome pushed to one side, just hit the Home button. This will close the recent apps menu and slide Chrome off to the very edge of the display—you’ll see just a sliver of the window (note the far right edge of the screenshot below). From here, you can load something from the home screen or the app drawer on the unused half of the screen.
As soon as you tap an icon to load a new app, it will automatically open on the unused portion of the screen and slide Chrome back into place. And there you go—two things at once. There’s nothing to it.
You can grab the black bar in the center and move it back and forth (or up and down, again depending on orientation), which will resize both windows. So if you want more Chrome and less Docs, you can have that. Or more Docs and less Chrome. You know, whatever you need.
To close one app or the other, simply move the slider all the way across the display, effectively forcing the app to take up the entire display. This will automatically “minimize” the other window, pushing it back into the recent apps menu. If you want to bring it back, just follow the same steps outlined above.
This is an excellent solution that many Android users have wanted for a very long time. Even if you don’t use it super often, this is one of those things you’ll be really glad exists when the time comes and you need to see two things on the screen at once—even on your phone.