Android 14 just announced a major multitasking upgrade – the iPhone can’t

Android 14 Beta 2 is here now, bringing with it a host of new features that could come to all Android phones as part of the stable release later this year. One of those features that journalist Mishaal Rahman (opens in new tab) just discovered is the ability to save app pairs to make split-screen multitasking a little easier.

According to Rahman’s tweet, Android has added a new launcher flag that offers a new “save app pair” option for use in split-screen mode. Unfortunately, the feature isn’t currently working, so we can speculate on how Google will implement it.

Luckily, companies like Samsung and Microsoft are already offering this feature on Android devices. That means we can guess what Google might have planned. Either way, creating an app pair means creating a shortcut that opens both apps at the same time in split-screen mode. This saves you the time and effort that would be required to manually open both apps.

Google would probably offer something similar as part of Android 14. Not only would this benefit its own big-screen devices like the Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet, but it also means other Android phone makers could take advantage of the feature without having to develop it themselves.

It’s worth noting that Google already overhauled the split-screen mode with the release of Android 12. As Rahman notes, whenever two apps are open side-by-side, the operating system creates its own internal app pair, allowing users to open a split-screen mode. Bring up the screen window from the Recent Messages menu.

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The only real change here would be the ability to save these pairs yourself, and presumably launch them from a shortcut on the home screen – instead of starting from scratch every time.

We hope that this year will be different. Google launches its own big-screen devices, prompting the company to tweak both Android and a number of key apps. So there’s absolutely no reason why it couldn’t offer better split-screen multitasking too. Even more so when you consider that this isn’t even a particularly new concept.

We’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out over the next few months. We don’t know when Android 14 will be released to the public, but Google’s release calendar (opens in a new tab) says it’s planning to release at least three more betas by the end of July.

Android 13 launched last August, so a repeat of that isn’t out of the question, but we won’t know for sure until Google actually tells us. In the meantime, be sure to check out our Android 14 hub for the latest news and features.

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