As with all developer previews, Google giveth and Google taketh away. The first Developer Preview had some pretty funky new app switching and split-screen functionality. But in the Android N Developer Preview 2 things have changed. Here’s how app switching and multi-window mode works in the latest Android N update.
Android N: new features overview
App switching in Android N
Double tap to switch remains
This was my favorite Android N feature so I’m glad it has stuck around. If you want to switch between the app you currently have open and the last app you were in, you simply double tap the Recent Apps button to juggle between them. Here’s a video of how app switching and multi-window mode worked in the first Developer Preview:
No more jumping through the Recents list
As you can see at 0:25 in the video above, in the last Dev Preview when you were in the Recent Apps list, tapping the Recents button would jump you through the list. So instead of swiping your way through the card stack (which was still possible), you could simply tap your way through it. This feature is gone in the second preview and you’ll once again have to paw your way through the list like a troglodite.
The countdown timer is gone
A sideline of the feature mentioned above, the countdown timer previously appeared as you tapped your way through the Recent Apps list. If you let the timer run down completely the highlighted app would go full-screen automatically (as you can see in the video above at 0:30). Here’s a video of how app switching and multi-window mode work in the new Developer Preview:
Split-screen mode in Android N
New ways to access multi-window mode
Multi-window mode in the second preview has also changed. There are two ways to access split-screen mode in Android N Developer Preview 2:
- When you’re in a full-screen app, long-press the Recents button.
- When you’re in the Recent Apps list, long-press an app card and drag it the left.
If you swipe all the way to the top of the Recent Apps list, you’ll see a new “Clear All” button. Tap this to remove all recent apps from the list and then tap the Recent Apps button to see a new “empty drawer” image.
Which method do you prefer for app switching and accessing split-screen mode?