A recent update to Samsung Galaxy S III brought about the addition of Multi Window, which allows you to run
two applications simultaneously on your screen. This feature is limited to supported
apps, but it does a great job of bringing true multitasking to the

Multi Window comes over from the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (as
well as the S4), and it’s a favorite feature for many users. So, when the update
rolled into my own S III, I was chomping at the bit to use it.

You’ll need Android version 4.1.2 in order for this to
work. If you don’t have it already, here’s how to check for the software update:

  1. Tap the menu button
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Tap About device
  4. Tap Software update
  5. Tap Check now

Your device should prompt you that the upgrade is available.
Once the upgrade is complete, you’re ready to enjoy Multi Window.

Enable Multi Window

The first thing you need to do is make sure that
Multi Window is enabled on your device. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the menu button
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Tap Display
  4. Tap Multi window to enable (a green check should

Click the home button to go back to your home screen. If you
do not see the Multi Window handle somewhere on the left edge of the screen (Figure
), you can long-press the back button to open it.

Figure A

A Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S III with Multi Window

Tap the Multi Window handle to reveal the Multi Window
sidebar (Figure B). From this sidebar, the real action takes place.

Figure B

The Multi Window sidebar in action.

You’ll find that many of the built-in apps work fine — but remember, not all apps
support Multi Window. With that said, let’s
take a look at how you can open up two windows using Multi Window:

Slide out the Multi Window sidebar

Scroll through the app list and find the first
app you want to open

Tap, hold, and drag that app to the upper half
of your screen

Find the second app (from the side bar) that you want
to open

Tap, hold, and drag the second app to the lower
half of the screen

You should now have two apps open at once (Figure C).

Figure C

The web browser and Twitter client running simultaneously.

You can also resize the windows by tapping and dragging the
bar that separates the two windows. Single apps can also be loaded into full
screen mode by simply tapping the app launcher from the side bar. Also, if you
tap the separator bar, two icons will appear, allowing you to either flip the
windows (so the bottom app is on the top half of the screen and the top app is
on the bottom) or resize the top app to full screen (Figure D) mode.

Figure D

The flip and full screen icons only appear if you tap the
separator bar.

To close out of the windows, simply tap the home button.
This is a bit different than the behavior on the Galaxy S4, which offers an
actual close button (in addition to the flip and full screen buttons).

You can also edit what appears on the Multi Window side bar. This
allows you to keep only those Multi Window supported apps that you more
frequently use on the side bar. To do this, follow these steps:

Open the Multi Window sidebar

Scroll to the bottom

Tap the Edit button

Tap, hold, and drag one of the launchers (that
you want to remove from the side bar) to the right pane (Figure E)

Repeat until you have only the apps you want on
the sidebar

Tap Done

Figure E

You can remove Multi Window supporting apps from the sidebar.

It was a great win for Galaxy S III users to get
Multi Window. Having the ability to run two apps at once (with little to no hit
on resources) means more efficient work, especially for power users. It’s one
of those features that, once you start using, you’ll wonder how you managed
without it.