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Android 12’s hidden “app pair” function is incomplete, but it shows hope



In case you missed the news last week, Google will release the first Android 12 developer preview, and we are very excited about all the changes we have found so far. One change we heard about before the release was a feature called “app pairing.” Through our own source code and code analysis of Android 12 Developer Preview 1, we can confirm that this feature is indeed under development. We even managed to play with it in an unfinished state.

For the background, App Pairs is a new feature in Android 12 development that allows you to create a pair of apps to start in split-screen view at the same time. Then, this pair of apps is one task, not two, so after entering the latest app overview, you can easily restart the two apps in split-screen view. You will find similar features on Samsung’s Android software (which debuted on the Galaxy Note 8) and Microsoft’s dual-screen Surface Duo, but all devices running Android 1

2 should be able to access Google’s software version, provided the software can Stable release.

Using hidden shell commands, we managed to use the “App Pairs” feature, but there is still a long way to go to use it. On the one hand, although these two applications are considered a task, they are not really combined in the latest application overview. (As far as we know) it is not yet possible to create a home screen shortcut to launch an app pair, but the strange thing is that launching either of the two apps in the pair will actually restart the app pair.

Although third-party alternative programs (such as the developer Francisco Barroso’s “Split Screen Launcher”) currently provide an excellent UI, they rely on Android’s built-in API to manually launch activities in split screen mode. In addition, these applications are not grouped together, so they are still considered two separate tasks. This means that the application is not only a bit slow to start, but if you restart the activities, you need to refresh these activities. Google’s first-party implementation for all Android 12 devices will be appreciated.

For comparison, the video below shows that my device is launching an application pair created by the “Split Screen Launcher” application:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVNqUAyKFC

This is a video showing that my device is launching the application pair created by the “application pair” feature of Android 12:

How to make app pairs in Android 12 Developer Preview 1

If you want to try to create an app pair yourself, you need to download and install the first Android 12 Developer Preview. Then, enter ADB Shell in the PC’s terminal or command prompt, and then run the following Shell commands:

dumpsys activity service SystemUIService WMShell pair {taskId1} {taskId2}

Where {taskId1} and {taskId2} are the task IDs of the two applications to be grouped. You can find taskIds from the output of “dumpsys activity”. After running this command, it will create a new task for the application pair. If you want to unpair these apps, you can run the following command:

dumpsys activity service SystemUIService WMShell unpair {taskId}

The selected image is only a prototype, and does not represent the appearance of the “app pair” in Android 12.


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