But to be honest, in most cases it is not very efficient for common tasks. That’s because unless you’re using the big screens of the Google Pixel Fold or other expandable smartphones, there’s too much content in too little space. In particular, it is not a fully optimized method for performance-oriented work.
Then what if you could turn your Android smartphone browser into a small floating window like YouTube and keep it open while doing other things? It’s entirely possible, and it’s just as useful as you’d expect. Let’s find out how.
How to make the browser a floating window
There are two ways to effectively multitask in the Android browser, depending on the type of Android smartphone.
A method for Samsung smartphone users. It’s very simple, but the functionality is so deeply hidden that the average user rarely finds it. But you are different. If you’re reading this column right now, it means you’re tech oriented, not midrange.
On all but very old Samsung Galaxy smartphone models, you can turn a browser tab into a floating popup by following these quick and easy steps.
- When browsing tabs, swipe up from the bottom of the screen (if you’re using the newer Android gesture system) or press the square button along the bottom edge of the display (if you’re still using the Samsung-style three-button navigation method).
- The Android overview interface will open, and a card representing Chrome (or whatever browser you’re using) will immediately appear in the center.
- Click the browser icon at the top of the screen. In the menu that appears, click “Open in a pop-up window”.
Now you can see that the browser tab has turned into a floating window.
You can navigate through the tabs, interact with them (by pressing the top bar and swipe the screen), or move them around. This means you can compose emails, work on documents, or send important Slack messages while still seeing the website you’re browsing.
Samsung smartphones have the ability to multitask the Android browser in such a simple and wonderful way. If you don’t have a Samsung device, don’t worry, we have great options.
Method for users of Google Pixel smartphones or any other Android devices. You will need to find and download an app called Orions.
First, you’ll need to enable the settings and appropriate permissions that enable this magic:
- Open the Orions app and tap on the menu icon of three horizontal dots in the bottom right corner.
- Once you select “Settings”, scroll down to the “Floating windows outside of the app” option.
- Set the switch next to this option to On, then follow the instructions to set up system-level permissions that allow Orions items to appear on top of other apps (it’s safe, sensible, and absolutely necessary for this sort of functionality).
Once you have this setup set up, all you have to do is open Orions whenever you want to open a tab, navigate to the desired site, and do the following:
- Tap the two overlapping squares icon in the bottom right corner of the app.
- The Orion tab overview opens. You will see a card representing the page you have opened.
- In the upper right corner of this card, tap the icon that looks like a small dark box with a light square inside.
A floating window has been created.
I like the Orionz method more than the Samsung method. Orionz intelligently resizes each site to fit multiple windows on the screen, giving you much more flexibility in resizing specific sites depending on what you need to do.
Even if you don’t want to use Orions for all your web work, we recommend leaving it in case you need a floating web window. It’s great that there are options. It certainly makes web surfing on Android much more fun and productive.