Android

How to make use of the Android Nougat recent apps lock

Android Nougat brings something new and very handy to the Overview feature. Here's how recent app locking can help make this often overlooked feature a must-use.

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Image: Jack Wallen

How often do you make use of the Android "recent apps" button (officially called the Overview)? Do you every so often tap it to reveal (to your surprise) how many apps are there, or do you tend to use it to switch back and forth between apps? If you are of the latter sort, you know that list of apps can be very useful. Instead of tapping the home button to dismiss an app (so you can then open the App Drawer to locate the new app you want to use), you can skip a step or two and tap the Overview to launch the app you want.

But what if the app you want isn't there? Then you're back to square one. Wouldn't it be handy if you could lock the apps you use most often to the Overview? Then you could rest assured those apps would always be but a tap away.

With Android Nougat, that feature has finally arrived. You can now lock apps to the overview, so that, even after a reboot, or a clear all (using the Overview clear button - Figure A), those locked apps will remain.

Figure A

Figure A

The clear button in the Nougat overview.

Usage

This new feature is built into the 7.0 platform and is incredibly easy to use. Here's all you need to do.

  1. Tap the Overview button
  2. Locate the app you want to lock
  3. Tap the lock button in the upper right corner of the app in question (Figure B)

Figure B

Figure B

Locking the Google Drive app to the Overview.

Once you've locked the app, the lock icon will change (Figure C) and the app will remain in the overview.

Figure C

Figure C

Google Drive locked in the Overview.

At this point, the apps you've locked cannot be removed from the Overview until you unlock them. As you might expect, to unlock an app, all you have to do is tap the lock button. Once the app is unlocked, you can swipe it to the right to dismiss it from the Overview.

If you're concerned with locked apps interfering with the split screen function, don't. Locked or not, you can still add an app to the split screen view for handy Android multitasking.

One handy feature

If anything, this addition to the Overview tool should sway you into making more usage of one very handy feature. Having the ability to lock apps to the Overview means those apps will always be a quick tap away. Use this new locking feature in conjunction with the split screen view and Android becomes an even more powerful platform.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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