Multi-window: prevent the out-of-focus app from pausing?


Android 7.0 introduced the native multi-window API which allows apps to be viewed in split-screen mode globally.

However, in actual usage, one downside prevents it from being as useful as some users would imagine. Many apps, when in the multi-window view but not in focus (i.e. user is interacting with another app in the multi-window view), pauses its activities: IM apps would no longer update incoming messages; music/video apps would pause playback; games would not proceed with their actions.

The official developer guideline briefly mentions the pausing behavior, and from what I understand, apps need to be programmed with this in mind so as to not exhibit it. But is there a way I can force the way around the limitation as a user? From what I've heard from fellow users, certain manufacturers' Android forks such as MIUI do not show such pausing whatsoever.

TL;DR: Can I prevent the out-of-focus app from pausing in multi-window?


Early this November, Google has confirmed that multi-resume - running two apps simultaneously without pausing - will be part of the next major Android release (Q), thus indirectly confirming that this functionality is currently not a part of AOSP Android.

However, Google also stated that...

To help developers provide the best user experience on multi-window
with minimal effort, we're allowing device manufacturers to keep all
apps resumed when in multi-windows in P.

To opt-in to this behavior in Android P, add the following meta-data
in your app manifest:

<meta-data android:name="android.allow_multiple_resumed_activities" android:value="true" />

How to test: There are no device at the moment with this behavior but
device manufacturers are working to update existing devices to allow
developers to test. Stay tuned for more details from device

This implies that such functionality will be available in Android P at a later time. As of now (December 2018) though, there is zero reference to allow_multiple_resumed_activities in AOSP Android code, meaning that the time has yet to come.

Sources: Google Blog, XDA-Developers

Android Q beta was released on March 13, 2019, marking the first public debut of the multi-resume feature on non-OEM Android. Unfortunately, there's still no reference to allow_multiple_resumed_activities in AOSP Android P code (Q not open-source yet, obviously), and the "There are no device at the moment with this behavior" statement didn't change in the aforementioned blog either - the situation remains unchanged for the majority of users and the custom ROM community.

As of the formal release of Android 10, multi-resume has been made the default behaviour, as indicated in the multi-resume design page.


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