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Android N brings a bunch of new ways to switch apps

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Android N brings a bunch of new ways to switch apps
There are a lot of changes in Android N and most of the coverage will be about the big things like the new split-screen view and improvements to Doze, but there are also a number of smaller changes that will probably make things much easier for everyday use. One of those smaller changes that could be huge in general use are the new features in switching apps.

The main change is a new double-tap option on the square navigation button (aka the multitasking button, the recents button, or the overview button). For the most part, double-tapping that button will bring you to the last app that was open. In practice, this means that if you're in an app, double-tapping will switch to the previous app, so you can switch back-and-forth. And, if you're on the homescreen, double-tapping will reopen the last app (as you can see below). 

Additionally, if you tap the recents button to bring up the scroll of apps, you can keep tapping to scroll through one-by-one, and when you stop, it'll pop into that selected app. Lastly, you can use the square button to get in and out of the new split-screen mode. Long-pressing the button when in an app will switch you into the split-screen mode, and if you're already in split-screen, long-pressing will bring you back to full screen. 


30 Comments
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posted on 09 Mar 2016, 19:07 23

1. KeyserSoze (Posts: 139; Member since: 06 Oct 2014)


Nice, now please add a "Close All Apps" button.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 20:16 6

8. Planterz (Posts: 2103; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


Good reason to go with a custom ROM or try Xposed.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 20:57 2

10. rsiders (Posts: 977; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)


You're phone doesn't have that? My V10 has had close all apps from day one and it doesn't even have Marshmallow yet.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 21:01 4

11. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4472; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


That's an OEM skin. Many times OEM skins add more features than what is on stock.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 21:18 2

12. nodes (Posts: 747; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


we are talking about pure Android here.
of course it's already in almost OEM skin.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 23:02

19. vijay.alapati (Posts: 145; Member since: 08 Jan 2015)


they will, only when iOS does it :p

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 23:19 1

22. Unordinary (Posts: 1951; Member since: 04 Nov 2015)


simmer down buddy

posted on 10 Mar 2016, 01:40

25. mrochester (Posts: 555; Member since: 17 Aug 2014)


No need to close all apps. You can just let the system do this all for you.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 19:43 2

2. bistech (Posts: 59; Member since: 23 Jul 2015)


Another copy from ios

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 19:53 30

5. baldilocks (Posts: 753; Member since: 14 Dec 2008)


Not even close.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 20:43 1

9. j2001m (Posts: 2977; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)


Nope, as Apple was a copy of Samsung, and un-like Apple, this works with most apps, hm, how many apps does it work with Apple, not many

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 21:52 5

14. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 14193; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Samsung copies Apple. Don't live in denial.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 22:26 9

16. Podrick (Posts: 805; Member since: 19 Aug 2015)


And Apple copies Samsung too. Everyone copies, without copying its impossible to make a phone or OS or anything out there.

posted on 10 Mar 2016, 02:23 2

27. itsjustJOH (Posts: 232; Member since: 18 Oct 2012)


No one can't pass school without copying.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 23:01 3

18. adityabnrj (Posts: 20; Member since: 16 Nov 2015)


They both copy from each other.. Guess you were living in denial

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 23:09 1

20. justrt (Posts: 404; Member since: 10 Jul 2014)


Nah. None of them copies. They just have similar ideas ;)

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 19:46 1

3. monoke (Posts: 474; Member since: 14 Mar 2015)


Awesome. More usability features is always welcomed. Maybe eventually incorporate gestures and completely remove the need for buttons would be my dream.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 20:11

6. joey_sfb (Posts: 6014; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


This show they are using the recent button to toggle between apps. Buttons is still important as human are lazy doing a gesture take more effort and both hands.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 19:48 6

4. abdoualgeria (Posts: 461; Member since: 27 Jul 2015)


And u can now set u'r own 'dpi' in android N .....
Slowly but surely they're whittling down the list of reasons to root.

posted on 10 Mar 2016, 07:15

28. TMHKR (Posts: 54; Member since: 08 Dec 2012)


The only reason I rooted my device was to restore SD card write permission, so I can transfer files directly to the card via Wi-Fi. I doubt they changed that in Android N.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 20:15

7. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 3302; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


I currently use a similar gesture on my OnePlus One (double tap home button) to quickly switch to previous app like shown at the start, but damn, Android N really improves on that a whole lot. Can't wait for the Cyanogen 14 Build.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 21:43

13. Awalker (Posts: 1577; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


Long pressing the back button to kill an app - make it happen Google.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 22:01

15. nodes (Posts: 747; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


is it such a big deal to close app traditional way like that?
i never close apps, smartphone SHOULD smart enough to manage those things.
even in iOS 'Exit' menu/button is not allowed.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 22:37 1

17. Awalker (Posts: 1577; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


It's just a faster way to kill an app. Sometimes I want to use an app and immediately close it out when I'm done so it's not running in the background. Frankly, I don't care what iOS does because I don't use iOS devices.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 23:11

21. Norris (Posts: 121; Member since: 26 Jun 2015)


I guess its already present in Lollipop.Go to settings>developer options> Enable Kill app back button(scroll to the last).
I'm not sure it's present in stock or not but I have it in CM 12.1

posted on 10 Mar 2016, 01:20

24. shahrooz (Posts: 764; Member since: 17 Sep 2013)


I'm using this and double tap recent for previous app since I rooted my nexus 5 installed xposed and gravity box

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 23:21

23. Unordinary (Posts: 1951; Member since: 04 Nov 2015)


Loving my app switching feature on my 6S+.

For those who don't know:

When inside of an app, force touch and slide from the edge and drag half way across the screen to seamlessly switch to your previous app. You can spam this if you'd like.

If you wish to bring up the entire app switcher without touching the home button, just force touch the edge of the screen and drag all the way across the screen swiftly

posted on 10 Mar 2016, 01:59

26. Wiencon (Posts: 1921; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)


I have the same feature on my 4S running 6.1.3 :P

posted on 10 Mar 2016, 20:19

29. Unordinary (Posts: 1951; Member since: 04 Nov 2015)


Good ol Jailbreak :)

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 10:03

30. oozz009 (Posts: 520; Member since: 22 Jun 2015)


Nice!! But sadly, despite android N being announced in 2016, it will most likely be released on major flagships by 2017:D

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