Samsung’s new foldable devices feature the ability to fold the middle section down like a pocket-sized laptop. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 It is clearly the most convenient to work as anything close to a laptop. It lets you relive the netbook and mini laptop nostalgia from the early days. Samsung has also done a little more effort to make the Galaxy Z Fold 4 feel like a traditional laptop by adding some new features to its Flex mode. But what exactly is this Flex mode and how can you enable and use it to take full advantage of the foldable screen?
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What is flex mode?
Flexible Mode is a feature built into the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4. It starts up every time you use the phone’s home screen folded halfway. It mainly takes advantage of Samsung’s foldable hinge and uses half of the device to serve as the home screen while the other can be used as a trackpad and keyboard, and to show some important information regarding the content being consumed on the top half. It comes in handy when you place the phone on a flat surface for hands-free use.
Flexible mode, in case you were wondering, only works with specific apps for now. Therefore, only a few apps can take full advantage of the flex mode. Supported applications such as Camera, Gallery, and Calculator will automatically distribute relevant information and onscreen items to both halves of the screen. YouTube, for example, is also a supported app and you can see how the top of the screen is used to show the video itself while the bottom half is used to show other related content like video comments, recommended videos, and more.
The Samsung Calculator, on the other hand, displays more functionality in the lower half of the screen while letting you check our inputs and show results in the upper half. You can also use Flexible mode while taking photos on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and it will give you camera controls along with a preview of the last photo at the bottom while keeping the viewfinder on top. Other supported apps have similar layouts to display related information.
How to enable flex mode?
This special feature is enabled by default on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, so all you have to do in order to use it is just fold the Z Fold 4’s screen halfway. Also make sure you disable orientation lock otherwise it won’t work. You can check this by locating the lock icon in the notifications/quick settings menu and making sure it is disabled. Flexible mode is exclusive to Samsung foldable devices, which means that not all apps are optimized by default to take advantage of it. Samsung has a list of apps that support flex mode by default. Here, take a look:
- Wall Clock
- Samsung Free
- Samsung Health
- Samsung Plus TV
- Google Duo
How to enable flex mode in unsupported apps?
More apps are being updated to take advantage of flex mode and Samsung says compatibility will increase over time. However, you can enable flex mode for any app on your phone by following some of the simple steps mentioned below:
- open the Settings page and search for an option named Advanced Options.
- Inside it, locate Labs option and select it to see a bunch of experimental features.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page and choose File flex mode panel.
- On this page, you can select the switch next to the app you want to use with Flexible Mode to enable it.
Once this is done, you should now be able to fold the phone halfway and enable flex mode in almost any app. You’ll see the content move to the top half of the screen while the control panel will appear at the bottom.
Use flex mode on unsupported apps
In the case of apps that do not officially support flex mode, you will see a control panel at the bottom of the screen. This control panel, as you can see, has five buttons that you can interact with by clicking on them. Here’s what the buttons do:
- Notices: Tapping this button will pull down the notification shade which you can send again by swiping up.
- Screenshot: The next button allows you to take a screenshot, which I think is very useful because it can be strange to press the power and volume down buttons when the phone is set up on a flat surface like this in front of you.
- brightness and volume: The next two buttons will bring up the brightness and volume sliders, respectively.
- The touchpad: Finally, you have the touchpad button, which enables the PC-style touchpad and a pointer that moves around the top half of the screen. Touchpad controls are straightforward – use two fingers to swipe, pinch to zoom, or tap or double-tap items on the screen to take action.
Flex mode will pull the same interface for all unsupported apps. I find it useful in the case of apps like Google Chrome where you can use the cursor for different things. But it doesn’t do much for apps like Twitch, for example. I just find it strange to stare at the empty bottom half when that space could be used to show live chat. The lack of these features can be understood if there are unsupported apps but that is not my main concern.
Personally, I found the touchpad a bit tricky. I don’t like how the touchpad surface itself is so small instead of letting you use the entire bottom half as a touchpad by temporarily hiding the control panel. I often find myself moving or trying to move the cursor off the touchpad, only to realize I’m doing it wrong.
The overall experience of using flex mode is not convincing to me when it comes to unsupported apps. But this also has more to do with the fact that OneUI software running on Android 12L isn’t quite as index-friendly. There is also no way to adjust the sensitivity of the pointer itself, which I personally think would have made things a little easier and useful.
Well, this is; Everything you can do with Flexible Mode on the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. It might not be the most useful feature to help get the most out of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but it does well for the most part. Is flex mode something you are interested in trying? Let us know by dropping a line in the comments below.