How to run several apps in floating windows in Android 7.0 Nougat (no root)

The recently released Android 7.0 Nougat includes support for the long-awaited split-screen mode that divides the screen between two apps, making multitasking a lot easier. Back in March, however, Google hinted at another multi-window feature possibly making its way into the final version of Nougat, but it was nowhere to be seen upon the OS's release. We are talking about the so-called “freeform” window mode, which basically contains apps to floating, resizable windows that you can move around the screen to your leisure, much like on a desktop computer. Despite the option missing from the settings menus, we are glad to inform you that freeform mode can still be partially enabled on any device running Android 7.0 Nougat by following this simple guide.

  • Enable Developer Options. To do this, go to Settings > About phone and tap “Build number” seven times. Go back to the Settings menu and you'll see that “Developer options” has appeared there
  • Open Developer Options, scroll down to the very bottom, and enable “Force activities to be resizable”
  • Reboot your device
  • Open the Play Store and download Taskbar (should be the first or second result when searching for “taskbar”, developer's name is Braden Farmer)
  • Open the Taskbar app, scroll down to the bottom, and make sure that “Freeform window support” is enabled. If it isn't, enable it
  • Scroll up to the top and enable Taskbar by tapping the switch in the upper right corner of the screen. A drawer icon will be displayed in the lower left corner of the screen, but don't tap on it yet!
  • First, clear all recent apps and exit to your home screen
  • Now, tap the new Taskbar drawer icon, and a list of all your apps will appear.

Important note: upon tapping the Taskbar icon, all of the icons on your home screen should disappear, leaving only the wallpaper visible in the background. If that's not the case, try taping the icon multiple times. It should eventually work. Alternatively, if it's taking way too many taps to get there, we have discovered that this method may work better from the recent apps screen, rather than the home screen. So, if you open Taskbar but your icons are still visible in the background, just go to the recent apps screen without closing Taskbar and then give the drawer icon one or two more taps. It should launch properly.

  • Once this condition has been met, you can then freely select apps from the list and they will launch in floating, resizable windows! Check out the gallery below to see what that looks like.

Tip: If for some reason your apps don't start in floating windows, but in fullscreen mode instead, try launching Taskbar from the recent apps screen. In fact, if anything should go wrong, we'd advise you to try launching from there, instead from the home screen. Bugs are to be expected, since freeform window mode is not officially a part of Android Nougat yet. 

That's it! You can now listen to music from the official YouTube app, while reading the news, texting your friends and even taking selfies! Yes, the camera works in this mode too, so that's something.

Anyway, keep in mind that this feature is not officially available yet, and this is simply an easy trick to partially enable it on any device running Android 7.0 Nougat, so some bugs are to be expected. However, it's still a cool new thing to try out, and since it's so easy to do, you might want to check it out if you own a device running Nougat.

source: Reddit (method discovered by the developer of the Taskbar app, Braden Farmer)



1. keithtae

Posts: 564; Member since: Mar 25, 2015

Luckily samsung was the one that brought Multi screen and windows support to mobile devices and make them well-known. Or else, people would think that android copied iOS.

5. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

This looks much more like Sony's floating 'small apps' ;)

6. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

TBH it looks like a (perfect?) combination of the 2

9. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

Sony small apps don't work with third party apps. They are more like widgets rather than full blown apps.

13. buccob

Posts: 2978; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

They do work with third party apps but they need to be developed with the small app SDK.... alternatively you can create floating widgets, even third parties widgets... The main use is to Float Widgets or basic "small" applications while doing the Main task on the foreground. I use Small App frequently and I think it is very useful on Compact devices... whereas Split Window is more useful on regular sized phones or Phablets. Anyway this news is an awesome bonus!.

15. insanity99

Posts: 104; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

I've been using this since my Galaxy S4.

16. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Apple still considered multi screen their premium feature, only release it on their newer tablet.

3. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

may not be useful on small smartphone screen.. but floating calculator, calendar and music player can be useful sometime :D

7. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

it's very useful actually the old Xperia (before the X lineup) had it for years and it came in handy every time you need those tools too bad Sony dropped it on the newer devices

14. buccob

Posts: 2978; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

maybe they dropped it on the X line because of this exactly... They probably saw this coming...

8. phonegeek2

Posts: 12; Member since: Oct 22, 2012

I agree with you. I LOVE having the split-screen mulit-tasking screen on my 6P, however having "floating" apps I don't feel would be useful at all. As you said, It's not a big tablet screen, or laptop screen where you have much more usable screen real estate. I do also love the fact that i can interact with both apps independently within the split-screen mode as well. The one feature of Nougat that I have also found to be useful is changing the screen density (DPI) settings. This makes the phones screen more zoomed out, allowing you to put more apps in your dock bar, and the apps are re-formatted to fit the screen and. In my opinion, it looks and performance a lot better. Also, if you choose to zoom the screen out, I'd recommend going into the developer Options and enabling high contract text.

4. launernoon

Posts: 81; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

Omg. So useless compared to Samsung's Multi windows. Also, finally Pure Android copied Samsung's features. Smh.

11. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Don't know if you're being sarcastic or just idiotic, but this version of multi-window is based on Samsung's commits to the AOSP project. Just like all the themeing engines are based on Sony's commits to AOSP. That isn't copying Samsung, it is the same thing. Because its a community that helps each other out not some fight of proprietary features.

17. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Just like current Android security is based on Samsung's Knox. No point having multiple standards that other OEM can't openly support. So Google has done the impossible, getting OEM to play along.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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