Regardless of the customization layer carried by the devices of each brand, Android has numerous functions that go unnoticed by many usersEither because they do not know their existence, or because they have never used them.
Of all those tricks and tools that the Google operating system offers us, we are going to stop now at ‘Fixed Screen’ or ‘Fix Screen’ (Screen Pinning, in English), a very useful solution if you have to give someone your mobile with an open app and you don’t want them to access the rest.
What is ‘Screen pinning’ for and what is it for?
This feature, which we saw for the first time in Android Lollipop and which came back again with Andorid 9 Pie, is an alternative to ‘guest mode’ which also serves to prevent someone to whom you leave your mobile from seeing more than you want.
Although it’s called ‘Screen pinning’ (at least, on pure Android), what it actually does is “pin” an application to the foreground and prevent you from being able to exit or close it to use another, unless you enter the appropriate unlocking method (PIN, pattern, fingerprint or face).
Therefore, It can be useful if, for example, we lend the phone to someone and we do not want you to access our photo gallery, enter the messaging applications, see our social networks … In short, so that you do not “gossip” us. It is also quite practical when we leave the mobile to a child to, for example, watch a video.
How to activate ‘Screen pinning’ in pure Android
Although this function is not very visible (as is the case with many Android features), the process to activate it is very simple. The first thing to do is enable it, and for this, in the case of pure Android, just go to: Settings> Location & security> Advanced> Screen pinning.
It is highly recommended that you also select ‘Lock device on deactivate’ so that, if someone deactivates the fixed application (something that, by the way, is quite simple), they have to enter the password or usual blocking method before being able to continue using the mobile.
When you have enabled the function, the next step is to activate it, and to do this, you have to enter the recent applications pressing the square Android button and touching the icon of the application you want to set (in the upper central part of the preview of its content).
Among the available options, there will be ‘Fix’ accompanied by a thumbtack; click on it and, from that moment on, that app will be fixed in the foreground. To deactivate it, you will have to press the back buttons and recent applications at the same time, and enter your unlock method.
How it activates in other layers
Except for some layer that does not have this option, such as MIUI (from Xiaomi), most of them allow you to activate this function by following a process very similar to the one we have described on pure Android; simply, as we will see now, one term varies from another.
In Huawei mobiles, with EMUI, the steps to follow to enable it are Settings> Security and privacy> Additional settings> Fixed screen. As we see in the screenshots, EMUI also allows us to ‘Request lock screen password to cancel’, come on, what in pure Android was ‘Lock device when deactivated’.
The process to fix an app is also very similar, although simpler: just enter the recent applications and tap on the thumbtack that appears in the center of the bottom. Of course, in this case, you have to hold down the backspace or ‘Back’ key to deactivate it.
If we go now to Samsung and its One UI, we observe that the function is found within Biometric and security settings> Other security settings and that, in this case, it is called ‘Fix windows’. It also allows us to establish whether we want it to ask us for a PIN before deactivating it.
To activate it, just open the recent applications, click on the icon of one of the apps and select ‘Pin this app’. To deactivate it, as was the case in pure Android, you have to press the backspace keys and recent applications at the same time.
As we have seen, the process to fix an application in the foreground, is called ‘fix screen’ or ‘fix window’, it is very similar in all the layers that allow it. It is not something that we are going to use very often, of course, but it does not hurt to know this function in case we have to use it at some point.