Google added a small feature to the overhauled multitasking system in Android N. Of course, all the praise goes to just how well Google seems to have pulled off the split screen multitasking. But to me, the little-known feature of quick app switching is even better. Just double tap the “Recent Apps” button and you’re instantly transported to the last app you used. Genius.
I personally think that split screen multitasking on a 5-inch smartphone screen is a bit of a gimmick. I don’t see myself using two apps side by side on this small of a screen. One place I’d think it would be useful was when I wanted to copy things between apps or look something up.
But even then, I’d rather just use the quick shortcut to switch between apps. I mean it’s faster. 1 step instead of 3.
But of course, the feature is only available in Android N. It won’t be available to the public for a couple of months and we know it will take 1-2 years after that to make it to the general population. But what if you want this feature right now? Well, there’s an app for that.
Quick App Switching
Most modern Android phones have a built-in search option. On Samsung phones, and phones with hardware keys, it’s long pressing the home button. For Nexus and phones with on-screen buttons, it’s a swipe up gesture from the home button.
Traditionally, this opens the Google Now screen. But here’s the awesome part, you can switch it out to perform different tasks. How about to quickly take you to the most recent app?
Yup. If you’d let it, we can set the whole thing up in such a way that when you press the home button, you’ll end up with the last app. Long press again and you’re back to the previous app. App 1, App 2. App 1, App 2. You can quickly keep jumping between two apps this way.
But if you really like the Google Now option and don’t want to change it, worry not, we’ll tell you about apps that bring the same feature using swipe-in gestures and floating icons.
Last App Switcher
The app we’ll be using to accomplish this on phones running Lollipop is an app called Last App Switcher. The app requires “Usage Access” permission to be able to work properly.
The app will prompt you to enable it the first time you launch it. One that’s done, come back to the app.
You’ll now see three options at the top – Bubble, Shortcut and Off.
For us, the “Shortcut” option is the one. Enable it.
Once the option is enabled, try long pressing the home button. Now this will show an option list. Select “Last App Switcher” and then select “Always”.
And you’re set.
Also, if you don’t want to disable the Google Now gesture, the “Bubble” option will show an always-there floating icon on the screen that you can tap to switch to the most recent app.
Download: Last App Switcher
Easy App Switcher
Easy App Switcher takes a different philosophy. It uses a swipe in gesture from the edge of the screen to show the most recent apps.
So you can swipe in from a part of the screen you’ve dedicated and then tap the first app icon to switch to the most recent app.
The best thing about this app is that you’re not only limited to just 1 app and you can also access the app launcher.
Download: Easy App Switcher
Pintasking is not really a task switcher, more like pinning your most frequently used app, right on the screen so it’s always there.
Once Pintasking is installed and activated, you’ll see it in the notification drawer as a sticky notification.
Go to any app, pull down the notification drawer and tap the Pintasking notification to “Pin” that app. This will create a floating icon for the app that you can dock on any edge of the screen. Now until you long press the icon and delete it, it will be there, always. And you can do this for multiple apps.
Pintasking also has the feature like Last App Switcher but it’s hidden behind the Pro upgrade that costs $4.
Which One Did You Choose?
The Last App Switcher format suits me the best. What about you? Share with us in the comments below.