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How to Split Screen on Android in 5 Easy Steps

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How to Split Screen on Android in 5 Easy Steps

Whether you’re using your Android phone or tablet for work or fun, there are moments when multitasking comes in handy. Using two apps or functions at once without having to switch between them can help improve your focus, boost productivity, or simply allow you to watch funny cat videos while pretending to pay attention to a boring conversation (you didn’t hear it from us).

To do any of these, though, learning how to split screen on Android is vital. The process is ridiculously simple, but the steps are slightly different based on the Android version that you’re using.

Let’s break it all down below!

How to Split Screen on Android 13 and Higher Versions

The ever-evolving Android is popular for the improvements and ease of use each version brings. The system’s Tiramisu version cuts off many steps users previously had to take. As a result, splitting the screen on Android 13 is very easy.

Step 1: Open the Apps

To split screen on any Android version, you must first open the apps that you want to use simultaneously. Most handsets and tablets allow you to use two apps at the same time. To see them in a split screen, scroll up on your device’s main screen to open the Apps screen.

Scroll to find the first app that you want to use on a split screen and tap it to open it.

Then, exit the app without actually closing it (use the home button on your device’s bottom bar).

Repeat the steps above to open the second app that you want to use on a split screen. Once opened, return to the home screen as explained above or go directly to step two.

how to split screen on an android
Open the app you want to split the screen with, then exit out of it by pressing the home button. Then, open the other app you want to split the screen with, and exit out of it in the same way.

Step 2: Find the First App to Open in Split Screen

Whether from the home screen or an app, tap the Recent Apps button. This button is typically represented by three vertical lines located at the lower left section of the screen. However, the button is found in the right corner in some models. Instead of vertical lines, this button might be represented by a rounded square.

Tapping this button allows you to visualize all apps that are open and on standby. Swipe to find the app that you want to open on a split screen.

how to split screen on an android
Go to Recent Apps and find the apps you want to split the screen with.

Step 3: Open the First App in Split Screen

In the Recent App screen, each open app is shown in a separate tab with the app icon displayed on top of it. Tap and hold onto the icon to open it on a split screen. Your app will open in a split window automatically, without you having to make other selections or confirm your choice.

Note: To exit the split screen mode –- if you’ve tapped and held the icon accidentally -– simply tap the back button at the bottom of the screen. The back button is represented by an arrow.

how to split screen on an android
Tap and hold the first app’s icon to open it in split screen.

Step 4: Open the Second App in Split Screen

Once you’ve opened the first app in split screen, you can see all other recent apps in the empty half of the screen.

Choose the app that you want to use and tap on its icon. Alternatively, you can follow the steps above and open the second app by tapping on Recent Apps.

how to split screen on an android
Do the same thing as the above step for the second app.
how to split screen on an android
Now, your apps will appear side-by-side.

Step 5: Open a New Split Screen (Optional for More Than One Split Screen)

To open two split screens on your Android 13 device, tap on Recent Apps and select an app that is not already open in your original split screen. Tap and hold its icon to open a new split screen. Follow the steps above to add the second app. You can switch between split screens from Recent Apps.

how to split screen on an android
Press and hold on a third app to open a second split screen, if you wish.

How to Split Screen on Android 12 and Earlier Versions

While splitting the screen is equally intuitive on Android 12 or lower, the operation requires an extra step. Follow the indications above to open the apps that you want to use in the multi-view screen, then go to Recent Apps.

Step 1: Open the First App in Split Screen

In Recent Apps, scroll to find the app that you want to open in the split screen. Tap on its icon and hold. On the pop-up, select Open in split screen view if you have a Galaxy device or Split Screen on all other Android devices.

how to split screen on an android
Press and hold on the app’s icon and click Open in split screen view or Split screen, depending on which Android model you have.

Step 2: Open the Second App

The main difference between Android 13 and its previous versions is that the screen doesn’t split automatically when you open the first app. Instead, the first app will open in a background window while the Recent Apps tab remains active at the front.

Scroll to select the second app that you want to open and tap on it. At this stage, you don’t have to tap and hold the icon but simply tap anywhere on the app. Once the second app is selected, the screen splits into two halves, allowing you to use both apps.

how to split screen on an android
Tap anywhere on the second app you want to open in split screen and it will automatically render to split screen with your first selected app from the last step.

Step 3: Open a New App

Earlier Android versions don’t support multiple split screens. Instead, when you open a new app in a split screen, it will automatically replace one of the first two apps selected.

To open the new app in split screen mode, select the window that you want to replace by tapping on it. A blue border lets you know which window is selected.

Tap on the Split Apps button that replaces Recent Apps in this mode. Select the new app that you want to open and tap on it. The newly selected app will replace the old app in the split screen.

how to split screen on an android
To replace one app with another in split screen, tap the side of the screen with the app you want replaced, and it will be highlighted with a blue border.

Step 4: Exit Split Screen Mode

Returning to the standard screen view is also different on Android 12 or earlier compared to Android 13. While the latter returns to the full-screen mode when you tap on the back button, on earlier Android versions tapping on the back button will only close the window currently selected.

To exit split screen mode, exit from one of the apps by tapping the back button, then tap the X button at the top of the screen.

how to split screen on an android
Click the X button to exit.

Check out the video below to see this method in action.

Key Takeaways

Splitting the screen on Android is easy, regardless of the version. With some automation, Android 13 makes the process easier. Android Tiramisu also makes it easy to exit the split screen mode by simply tapping the back button. Moreover, you can use multiple split screens, switching between them via the Recent Apps. Some of these functions are lacking in earlier Android versions, but splitting the screen -– and exiting this mode -– is still intuitive regardless of the OS version that you’re using.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't I split screen on Android?

Split screen is a versatile function on Android, but some apps cannot be used in this mode. Netflix, for instance, can’t be used in split-screen mode. However, on some devices, you can enable a forced split screen. For instance, on Galaxy S23 Ultra, the Multi window for all apps allows all apps to open in pop-up or split screen modes, including the apps that haven’t been designed for these layouts.

To enable this feature, go to Settings –> Advanced features -> Labs, and swipe the slider near the option to enable the mode. Similar functions are available on most handsets released in recent years.

What is the difference between split screen and pop-up mode?

The main difference is that the split screen divides the main screen into two separate screens, while the pop-up mode allows you to use an app in a pop-up window on top of other apps running on your device.

To open a pop-up window, follow the steps above, but tap on Open in pop-up view when selecting the app from Recent Apps. On Android 13 or higher, you can open a pop-up window by tapping and holding the desired app (not its icon) when viewing it in Recent Apps.

What Android version supports split screen?

The split screen mode is supported by Android 7 (Nougat) or higher.

How do I turn off split screen on Android?

On the newest Android versions, simply tap the back button at the bottom of the screen to exit the mode. In earlier versions, tap the back button to exit from one app, then tap the X button on top of the screen to exit the split screen mode completely.

How to use two split screen Chrome windows on Android?

If you want to use two Chrome windows side-by-side, follow the steps above to open the first split-screen window. Then, instead of selecting a new app to open in the other half of the screen, tap the three dots (top right corner) of the Chrome app that is already opened and select Move to other window. Alternatively, from the Chrome settings, tap on Manage windows and tap on New window.

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