A few weeks ago I got my hands on a Pixel Fold, and I’ve been using it in my day to day life since then. Without a doubt, one of my favorite things about Pixel Fold is the fact that, well, it unfolds into a much larger screen. And while that 7.6-inch screen makes for one lovely display, I’ve found myself returning to split screen mode over and over1. I rely on using my laptop with a second screen, and being able to have a similar setup on my phone is easily one of my favorite Pixel Fold features.
When you open an app on the Fold, you can use the Taskbar to easily switch between everything you have open, or drag an app into split screen mode2 to multitask with two apps side-by-side.
Google and third-party developers are optimizing more and more apps to take advantage of split screen functions — like drag and drop, or auto-opening content side-by-side.
So far, in my first few weeks with the Fold, these have been some of my favorite split screen setups:
1. Review Workspace files during video calls
I generally don’t like to take video calls from my phone, especially if we’re reviewing documents or slide decks during the meeting — I need to be able to look at whatever we’re talking about. But with Pixel Fold, I can get on a video call on one side of the screen while reviewing and even editing a Doc, Sheet or Slide on the other. I can even put it into tabletop mode and watch my call on the top screen while using the lower half for Workspace apps.
2. Drag and drop photos to chat threads
My family group chat is more or less just a series of photos of our pets. The Pixel Fold makes it even easier for me to share my pics: With Google Photos open on one screen and Messages open on the other, I just drag and drop images directly into the chat.
3. Learn to edit photos while actually editing photos
I really want to get better at editing my photos, and I’m a super visual and hands-on learner — I generally find it helpful to follow step-by-step instructions in real time. Using Pixel Fold, I’ve been watching instructional videos about photo editing on one screen while actually editing my pictures in Adobe Lightroom on the other screen. I’ve used this feature to learn how to take better astrophotography photos, too!
4. Read Pixel Tips and customize my settings
Here’s another example of how Pixel Fold makes following step-by-step instructions a breeze. I’m a big Pixel Tips fan — it’s an app where you can learn how to get the most out of different Pixel features and settings. With Pixel Fold, I can keep Pixel Tips open on one side to watch or read through a particular tip. Then, I can put the respective app or setting the tip is about on the other screen, so I can immediately use or enable the relevant feature.
I was able to have Pixel Tips open on one screen and open my Settings and navigate to the Safety & emergency section and update them.
5. Use my Fold as an e-reader
Now this isn’t necessarily a split screen use case for two apps, but I think it’s worth mentioning because I enjoyed it so much: I can download Google Play Books and open them across both screens, turning my phone into an extremely portable e-reader. I love the feeling of holding Pixel Fold like a book.
6. Finally take good selfies
I’ve always been an infamously bad selfie photographer, but not anymore. This is another way of using split screen mode for a single app, but the way it takes advantage of both screens makes it incredibly convenient: I can just put my Pixel Fold into tabletop mode and hit that selfie camera icon. One side of the display will show the photo and the other will have all the camera controls, including the timer and shutter. Even I can't mess this up.
7. Watch a show without leaving the chat
Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes if I’m messaging back and forth with a friend, I’m only half paying attention because I’m watching something at the same time. And that can be deeply annoying when I have to keep toggling back and forth between Netflix and Messages on a phone with just one screen — but not so with Pixel Fold. I can have both open, and I can even adjust the size of the screens so I can give more focus to one or the other. I’m not telling which.
8. Watch a cooking video while reading the instructions
It’s so helpful to be able to watch a recipe video and read the instructions at the same time. Recipe websites with autoplay videos can actually be helpful: After navigating to the written instructions, I can drag the video to the corner so it plays next to the steps instead of on top of them, giving me both visuals and the written guide.
9. Copy information from Google Docs to Sheets
Sometimes information from my Google Doc needs to go into a Google Sheet. When that’s the case, I can bring both apps up in split screen mode and easily copy and paste from one to the other without needing to switch between apps.
10. Drag and drop photos to Google Slides
Speaking of productivity apps: I’m a big Google Slides user, both for work and fun (I still love a Slides presentation party). With Pixel Fold, I can open Google Photos on one screen and Slides on the other, and then drag and drop images from my Photo gallery or from Search results right on over to Slides.
Dragging and dropping photos to Google Slides is super easy.
11. Respond to Gmail threads while reviewing my schedule
Being able to see my calendar along with other apps is helpful in a few ways. For example, I can respond to a Gmail thread about getting everyone together with my availability right away because there’s my calendar in full view on the other screen.
12. Enjoy two tabs at once
More screens means more tabs! Enjoy the simple pleasure of two browser tabs open side-by-side when you’re scrolling. So far, I’ve used this most for comparison shopping for anything from furniture to flights.
13. Research and update Docs and Keep
I’ve found that any sort of research I do benefits from dual screens. When I use Pixel Fold, I can dedicate one half of the display to Google Search and the other to Docs, Keep or another note-taking app. Seeing all the information I need in one place helps me stay organized.
I can keep Docs open and turn my travel research list into a to-do list with Keep on the other screen.
14. Explore Google Maps and create an itinerary
Research isn’t only limited to Search. I often use Google Maps for trip planning and have it open side by side with Docs, Calendar or Sheets while creating my itinerary.
15. Keep an eye on email while getting a workout in
Sometimes I can totally disconnect while I’m working out, and other times it just isn’t feasible — and during those instances, I keep my phone handy nearby. Of course, when I’m streaming a class from my phone, this gets a little more difficult (and distracting). But with Pixel Fold, I could take a class from the Peloton App without interruptions while keeping Gmail open on the other screen.
16. Share links with loved ones
My friends and family might be sick of me sending links at this point, because it’s way too easy when I’ve got Gmail or Messages open on one side and Chrome on the other. Recipes, meme accounts, flight options…the list quite literally goes on and on.
17. …And YouTube videos
Oh, and same goes for sending too many YouTube videos to a Gmail or Message thread!