Android support on Chromebooks started with Android 6.0, which only allows apps to run in full-screen mode, or a smaller static size. This isn’t the best layout for many apps on Chromebooks, and Google finally changed this with Android 7.1.1. The thing is, resizing doesn’t work out the gate—there are a few tweaks to get it working.
Step One: Verify Which Version of Android Your Chromebook Is Running
Before you get your hands dirty, you’ll want to first make sure your Chromebook is even running an Android build that offers resizable apps.
First, click the system tray, then the gear icon.
From there, scroll down to the “Google Play Store” section and click it.
Click “Manage Android preferences,” which will launch the Android settings menu.
From there, just scroll to the very bottom—you’ll see the Android version under the About Device section.
If your Chromebook is running 6.0, you’re pretty much stuck with what you have for now. Sorry.
If you’re running 7.1.1 or above, however, read on.
Step Two: Enable Developer Options
While you’re already in the Android Settings menu, let’s go ahead and enable Developer Settings. You’ll need to do this in order to resize apps.
Click into the About Device menu.
From there, click the “Build number” seven times. You’ll see a small toast notification at the bottom of the screen letting you know how many click are left until you “become a developer.”
After seven clicks, developer mode will be enabled. Awwww, yeah.
Step Three: Enable Window Resizing
Click the back button in the top left corner, which will take you back into the main Settings menu. You’ll see a new option here: Developer Options. Click into that bad boy.
Ignore everything you see in this menu until the very bottom. Seriously, start scrolling now, lest your curiosities get the best of you and you break something.
At the bottom, find the “Allow free window resizing by dragging the border” option and enable it. Just like that, you’ll be able to resize Android apps. Keep in mind that this doesn’t work with all apps—if they haven’t been updated in some time, they won’t support this. Many modern apps (with good developers) should be on board, though.
To do this, just hover over the edge of the app window, just like you would any other window. The cursor will change, indicating you can resize the window.
Optional: Set the Default Size for Pre-Nougat Applications
Now, you could stop here and be finished, but there’s also another option I think you should check out, which will determine the default size for apps that aren’t designed for Android Nougat.
Unironically, it’s called “Default size and orientation for pre-Nougat applications, and unresizable portrait applications.” That’s a mouthful. But click it anyway.
Basically, this lets you figure out what is going to work best for the way you use Android apps on your Chromebook. For me, defaulting portrait maximized sized and landscape orientation just makes the most sense—that means apps like Instagram, which are portrait-only, launch full screen. Others will launch in landscape mode. It works for me, but feel free to experiment with these options and use what works best for you.
Once you’re finished, just back out of this window—you’re done.