Android 14 just made switching apps on tablets even easier — here's how

Google Pixel Tablet in use out in public promo image
(Image credit: Google)

Android 14 has quietly added a new means to swap between tablet apps while using a keyboard. Pressing Alt+Tab on either a wireless keyboard or USB equivalent connected to a tablet (or other large screen) running Android 14 will now present you with a small horizontal strip of apps at the top of the screen. 

The strip can show up to six apps you can cycle through. The currently selected app is highlighted with a grey line around its preview. It can also quickly switch to the last app used by pressing and releasing the Alt+Tab keys. It's also possible to view all of the recently used apps by continually pressing Tab while holding down the Alt key until you reach the “show x more apps” card at the end of the strip and then releasing the Tab key.

In Android 13, pressing the Alt+Tab keys on a keyboard would merely bring up a recent screen. It was possible on this screen to move from app to app by pressing Tab while holding down the Alt key, but there was no visual cue to show you which app you were selecting. 

Pressing Alt+Tab also wouldn’t switch you to the most recently used app, it would simply flash the recent screen and then return you to the current app.

Using a stylus with the Google Pixel Tablet on a desk

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This handy little productivity hack originated from developer Huy Minh, who first noticed the change while testing an Android 14 QPR2-based custom ROM on a Raspberry Pi 5. They also noticed this new UI appears in Android 14 QPR1. In a report by Android Authority, with the help of developer Maxr1998, it’s confirmed that the new UI also appears in the initial Android 14 release. 

This new change has gone relatively unnoticed, possibly due to a lack of consumers using keyboards with their tablets. However, it was recently reported that Google could launch a new pen and keyboard for its Pixel tabs so it couldn’t have been discovered at a better time. While Android 14 was relatively light on tablet-focused features compared to the several improvements given to phones like the Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8, it is good to know that there are still some hidden gems.

Google is preparing for the Google I/O event later this month, and with it will come a host of new information about upcoming features and products. Chief among these will hopefully be more information on Android 15 for both phones and tablets. Keep an eye on our Google I/O hub to keep up with all news and rumors as we hear them.

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.