It’s tempting to think that the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s large unfolded screen is only at its best when watching a video, or that the cover screen is just for quickly checking messages. While they undoubtedly do both of those things very well, once you get started with the phone you’ll find it’s more versatile than that. If you’re new to the Z Fold 4, to save you from missing out on getting the most out of it. Here are seven ways I enjoyed the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s multi-screen format, and how you can too.
The all-new taskbar
It’s the big new thing in the Galaxy Z Fold 4, and if you’ve used a Windows computer recently, you’ll feel immediately at home with it. The taskbar sits at the bottom of the open inner screen when you’re using an app, ready to instantly switch to another app just by tapping the corresponding icon. However, at first this doesn’t seem particularly useful, and in fact a bit redundant given that there are other established ways to switch between apps.
Don’t give up though, as you can make a few changes to the taskbar to make it more useful to you. The first is to change the applications displayed by default. The layout mimics the apps that are in your home screen’s permanent dock, so change the ones you use most often and they’ll automatically appear in the taskbar too.
Then go to Settings, Displayand find it Taskbar option. Tap it and you can choose to show recent apps (enabled by default) and, more importantly, show or hide the taskbar with a long press. I find this very helpful, as it’s a bit distracting to keep it still showing. I know when the taskbar will be useful, but I don’t want it hanging around when it’s not. Finally, look for the grid button to the left of the taskbar apps, which provides a shortcut to the App Library as a pop-up window.
Remember all that, and the taskbar quickly becomes more useful, and you can really take advantage of its extra speed.
Multitasking on the Z Fold 4 is excellent, and the most obvious benefit of having a large interior screen. Using multiple apps at once is nothing new, but due to the Z Fold 4’s screen size and Samsung’s implementation of multitasking, each app is much more usable than on smaller, non-folding screens.
There are also multiple ways to enable multiple apps, and I really appreciate that versatility. If the taskbar is active, simply press and hold an app icon and drag it onto the main screen. You can orient it however you want for now, but remember that you already need an app running for this to work. The swipeable Edge panel works the same way, or you can tap an app icon in helicopter view and also select “Open in split-screen mode.”
The Z Fold 4 can run three apps at the same time on its inner screen, and each can be resized using the three-dot icon that divides them all. It’s not just the inner screen that can run multiple apps, the cover screen can also show two apps at the same time, albeit stacked on top of each other. Activate them the same way you do on the interior screen.
Floating Window mode is very versatile. It’s useful when you don’t want a split-screen multitasking view, as a way to add a fourth app running at the same time on the inner screen, or have a third on the cover screen. Most apps work in this mode, but it’s easy to miss it if you don’t know how to enable it.
When you tap, hold, and drag an app icon onto the screen from the taskbar or edge panel, drag it to the center of the screen so that a panel that says Drag here for contextual view appears. Your chosen app then floats over the main app or apps running on the screen. It can be moved by holding the bar at the top of its window and resized as well. To remove it, press, hold and drag it up. Remove button that appears when you do.
Creating a floating window can also be done from the Helicopter view, just tap the icon and select “Open in popup view”. Mastering the taskbar, multitasking, and floating window features are all you need to do to get the most out of the Z Fold 4’s ability to run multiple apps at the same time.
This feature isn’t exclusive to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but it’s easily missed as many will choose to take photos with the phone closed rather than open. After all, there’s a stigma around taking photos with a massive tablet, and the Z Fold 4 isn’t far behind. But once you get past that, there’s a very useful camera mode to try with the Fold 4 open.
On the full-screen viewfinder, look for a button on the top left shaped like a split-screen layout. Tap it and the viewfinder shrinks to accommodate a gallery view from the side. I recommend using it in landscape orientation to maximize space. It does not show old photos, but rather the ones you are taking right now. I find it very useful for taking action shots, selfies or any other photo in a changing situation. Press the same button again to close the gallery view.
When the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is open and using the camera, the cover screen does not need to be idle. And in some situations, it can be used to help you with your photos. Open the camera app with the phone unfolded and look for a square icon at the top right of the screen. Tap it and the cover screen shows a preview of your photo. This is what Samsung calls the “selfie view”.
The selfie view is useful if you’re taking photos of someone else, who can now see what they look like in the photo before you take it. It can also be used if you want to take selfies using the rear camera. It takes a bit of juggling, but it’s totally possible. The best method is to use Samsung’s palm gesture to take the photo, rather than trying to press the volume button. Just show your palm to the camera and it activates a three-second countdown before taking a picture.
It is really responsive and very precise. You just have to be careful not to touch the screen too much when the phone is reversed, because it’s easy to change modes accidentally.
Swap your keyboard
For a while, the Samsung keyboard was the best choice for the Z Fold series. It included a split-screen view when the phone was unfolded, which made typing easier and more natural on the wide device. This changed when Google updated its The Gboard app with a split-screen view, giving people most used to the Google keyboard the ability to easily use it on both screens.
Samsung’s keyboard is actually pretty good, but if you’re a swiper like me, then Gboard tends to be more accurate. I’d recommend trying both, but if you’re coming from a Pixel phone or another that uses Gboard as standard, you might feel more comfortable using Gboard from the start on screens of different sizes.
Try Labs features
Finally, take a look at Samsung Labs features. These are technically beta features that Samsung hasn’t fully integrated into its One UI software for everyone to use, and you have to research them to try them out. Several are relevant to anyone who wants to multitask on the Z Fold 4. To find them, open Settings and find Advanced Featuresthen Laboratories.
Inside, there are two alternative options to enable split-screen multitasking or pop-up floating window mode. Likewise, Labs lets you try out gestures, rather than just tapping and dragging icons to open up split-screen multitasking. Another great option is split view for messaging apps, where a chat window opens on the right of the screen and your contact list stays on the left.
These worked well for me, but you may run into issues using some of the other features – forcing multi-window support for apps that haven’t been optimized for it, for example. Also under Labs is the option to force apps into Flex mode, where a control panel appears at the bottom of the unfolded screen when you partially fold the phone. It’s native in apps like YouTube, but Labs lets you experiment with other apps.
Lots of features to try on your Galaxy Z Fold 4
Try all of these features if you’re new to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, because understanding how to properly use the unfolded screen is key to getting the most out of this excellent and unusual phone. If you haven’t decided to buy one yet, our The Galaxy Z Fold 4 review is very positive, and if you want to see how the camera performs compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 3, then our test shows its improvements.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 isand it starts at $1,799.