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Whoa: My Galaxy Note 2 now runs 2 apps on 1 screen

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That was fast! I only just received Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 on Thursday and found a small software update waiting on Friday morning. My first look video of this 5.5-inch smartphone showed some of nice software features but one that I was looking forward to was missing. No longer: Now I can run two applications simultaneously on the large screen, which I find can be very useful.

Browser and Facebook on Galaxy Note 2

When I first decided to order the international version of this phone from the U.K. and have it shipped to me in the U.S., I had said that this feature was intriguing, and part of the reason why I bought the device. I saw the multi-window support in a video demonstration of the Korean Galaxy Note 2; Samsung first launched the device in its home country. Unfortunately, after getting my phone, I noticed the build version was older than the Korean model. No longer. This morning’s update added it and it’s pretty slick, provided you have a large enough screen to take advantage of.

Now, when I press and hold the back button of the Galaxy Note 2, a little dock-like program launcher appears. I can drag any of the app shortcuts from the dock and the program will open in a half-screen window, either above or below the currently running app. A bar between the two running apps can be dragged to resize an app as well.

And although I originally thought only specific Samsung apps would be eligible for multi-window use, I was wrong. I’ve installed several third-party apps and they appear in the dock as well. So I can browse the web in the top half of the screen while my Twitter client shows tweets in the bottom, for example.

This feature first appeared on Samsung’s larger Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, and it probably makes more sense there: The larger the screen the easier it is to work with two apps at the same time. But here’s where the Galaxy Note 2’s 5.5-inch display becomes an enabling tool, not a detriment. Yes, it’s a big phone — or a small tablet with voice capabilities, if you prefer — but sometimes bigger is better.

61 Responses to “Whoa: My Galaxy Note 2 now runs 2 apps on 1 screen”

  1. Melodie Bryant

    The multi window doesn’t come up for me with the back button. But I find it in the alerts section at the top (far right). Then it works just the same. Way cool!

    • Stacy, on my verizon note two you can turn multi window on and off from the menus that are in the notification bar that appears when you pull down from the top of the screen from the home screen, which also lets you access settings, notifications, etcetera. You slide the bar with the different icons all the way to the left and the multi window on and off icon is on the far right.

      also, if you go to Settings under display, there’s an on and off switch for the multi screen function. Again, this is on Verizon, not rooted.

  2. Rakesh Raja

    Well this is really important to all those users who are going to buy Note 2, I just get it. There is one big mistake on S3 and Note 2. You really cant install apps on SDCard and like older models you can move to SDCard too by going in application manager and application details page.

    Be warned and spread the word. Just buy high memory version or if you are ok with less memory and you dont install much apps than fine.

  3. Hi there, I just got the note2 in the US today from T-Mobile and i do not have this feature yet! I like you was really looking forward to this feature. Also I own the note 10.1 and this feature is not on there either? You wouldn’t happen to know when I may receive this update do you?? I press n hold the back button on either device and i get nothing!

    • Kevin, on your 10.1, try opening a browser window. Then look along the top left and you should see “Multiscreen”- tap that and you’ll have a list of apps to choose from. Along the top is also where you will be able to swap the two windows from side to side. Look for this same menu at the top of other apps too! Hope that helps!

  4. Hi im facing a problem with my galaxy note 2 ,if i want to to open 2 apps in 1 page i hold the back botton but nothing appears to me and it’s not working. :/
    I wounder if there is something with the settings to fix this.
    Can u help me please?..

  5. I got my note2 on Oct-8 ,but till now I didnt receive the update. I cant run the multi windows. The curent ver. 4.1.1 but it is released for United Arab of Emarats. Mean while , two of my freinds received the updat on there note2 and they have the same coyntry. I go to update screen but it says system is up to date. Would you please advice

  6. How does multi-view edit and add apps function work? I cant seem to get this configured. For the way I use the Note”2 accessing my files through Astro or the generic solution would be great!

    • Simon, the function isn’t available for all apps, so if you don’t see Astro there, that’s why. Not sure on the rhyme or reason for which third-party apps are eligible and which aren’t. Could be up to Samsung or it may be a switch that a developer needs to set.

  7. fernando

    HELP!!!!! I just got my note 2 but I don’t have this feature…. I did the upgrade on my phone settings but still not getting working. I go to my phone settings and says that my device has the latest firmware. I tried to use kies and same thing it says is has the latest firmware version. I may be doing it wrong since this is my first android phone….. and yeah my previous phone was an iPhone. I love this device its awesome but with the minor detail of not knowing how to get the 2apps running.I’m on AT&T ..
    Thank you very much in advanced .

    • Fernando, if your latest software update added the feature, you can access it by holding down the back button (to the right of the Home hardware button). If you hold that button and nothing happens, then your update might not have included it. What’s the build number of your software? Mine is JRO03C.N7100XXALJ1

      • Fernando

        THANNK YOU for replaying . I do hold down the back button but nothing happens…. and the build number is JRO03C.N7100BALI8. when I got it was in Spanish (United States) so I change it to English ( United States ). Thank you aging for your help.

  8. I went to local deal, demo piece didnt have this “multi window” feature. I ask Samsung India live support, they said, No, this feature is not offering in Note 2.

    I told him about that Korean version video, he said he cant tell anything about other country. He can support only about Indian products.

    I sm hopless! Does USA or UK support team confirmed about this feature?

  9. Craig Campbell

    One more thing – Kevin (or anyone else with a Note II), do you remember if Chrome was included out of the box on the original build? I absolutely did NOT install Chrome before the update (I usually do on most phones, but hadn’t done so yet on this one) and after the update, I noticed Chrome was there.

    I don’t remember if Chrome was there on the original build, or if this update perhaps included it?

      • Craig Campbell

        Yeah, actually I just watched your quick look video (which weirdly slowed down in the middle for a few minutes and you sounded like Darth Vader for a while) and saw you mention that you had downloaded Chrome. I have to say, your titanium grey/black Note looks awesome. I’m starting to regret getting the white one!! Mind you, I plan to get a flip cover and I see they’re releasing them in all sorts of colours!

  10. Craig Campbell

    A nice little touch is that from the multi-window launch bar, if you just tap one of the apps, it launches full screen. This makes the multi-window launch bar a nice little access-anywhere quick launcher. Now, if only we could add apps to it….. :-)

  11. I don’t know how useful this is on a smartphone, especially one smaller than the Note, but it’s DEFINITELY useful on tablets, and I wish Google brought true multi-tasking to tablets a long time ago. This is also where quad core CPU’s would definitely make a difference compared to single core (looking at you Intel Atom Medfield) or dual core chips.

    • No real settings… tap and hold the back button for the dock to appear and then drag an app to the display for dual window mode. If you’re not running TouchWiz, my guess is this may not be there at all. What ROM are you running, out of curiosity? I’m a custom ROM junkie…. ;)

      • Jason Antoniewicz

        Hi Kevin. No ROM – I ditched computers in June and the last I knew was that it’s not currently possible to root your phone without using a computer, so I’ll wait until that’s possible, probably. I’m using Nova Launcher and Relaunch (both quite good).

        I’m a bit miffed about the lack of settings and the feature appears to be a bit buggy, but it’s early days.

    • Andy, I don’t think you can manually add apps to the dock. If you tap the edit button, you can *remove* apps and add them back. It appears that Samsung picks/chooses which are compatible for now. Not ideal, but better than on the Note 10.1, which doesn’t support third-party apps at all IIRC.

    • Your sceeen sizen is not big enough. I have the note 2 and gs3 and anything smaller than the note wouldn’t be able to function properly when you need to use the keyboard. They have to downsize it greatly when you are in multiview (still completely usable) but with the 4.8 inch screen I dont think they could pull it off so nicely.

  12. Jack N Fran Farrell

    Great productivity feature for collaborative hangout on g+. Now you don’t have to switch screens to fix a PowerPoint chart in front of everyone. The endless round of collect comments, fix the briefing, comment on fixes is over.