Android multitasking tipped for a big upgrade — just in time for Pixel 9 Pro Fold

Google Pixel Fold
(Image credit: Future)

The Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold, previously known as the Pixel Fold 2, is expected to launch at the Made by Google event on August 13. And it just so happens Google may be about to release a brand new multitasking update that the upcoming foldable will be able to take full advantage of.

Android’s split screen mode has been around for a long time, but it’s not what we’d call good. There are certainly ways that it can improve, and according to Mishaal Rahman at Android Authority some much-needed upgrades are on the way — including a split-screen mode for foldable devices still in portrait mode.

It is possible to split Android screens when you’re in portrait mode but the split is locked into a top-bottom configuration. Code uncovered in the Android 14 QPR2 beta back in March suggested that this could change and Google could allow left-right split with “portrait foldables”. 

While no device names are mentioned, it’s pretty obvious that this change is aimed at the Pixel Fold and its successor, the Pixel 9 Pro Fold. After all, Samsung already offers a left-right split screen on the Galaxy Z Fold series, meaning this likely won’t affect the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 6 in any meaningful way.

Unfortunately, it sounds like the stock Android split-screen mode will be locked to a few pre-set combinations. In other words, there may not be any pop-up views or any of the other more liberating multitasking options that Samsung foldables already get to enjoy. But any improvement is welcome.

The code Rahman uncovered also includes a screen resolution of 2,076 x 2,152, which could be the resolution of the Pixel 9 Pro Fold’s interior screen. That’s slightly shorter yet wider than the original Pixel Fold, suggesting that we will see some sort of design change for the new generation.

As Rahman notes, Google has done a bunch of work improving split-screen mode on Android in recent months. Android 15 now lets users save split-screen pairs to their home screen, while a new desktop mode offers an improved way to set up untethered app windows. Here's hoping some of these features also make it to the Pixel 9 Pro Fold.

We’ll find out for sure once the phone has been announced, likely on August 13 at the upcoming Made by Google event. In the meantime, you can keep up to date on all the latest news and rumors in our Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold hub. Or if you’d prefer a non-folding Google phone, there’s always the upcoming Google Pixel 9, Google Pixel 9 Pro and Google Pixel 9 Pro XL.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.