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For those of you looking ways to multi-task better on your Android smartphone or tablet, my first advice is to get a phone that supports true multi-tasking such as Galaxy Note 2 or Galaxy S3/S4.
Now, there is a way to “sorta” of multi-task by running any widgets over your apps using the Overlays app for Android.
This is probably the coolest app I’ve seen in awhile, basically you can have “any” of your favorite widgets running simultaneously on top of any app and you can choose/customize which apps you want on per-app basis.
Below is an example of me using Overlays app to run Bluetooth Toggle widget and Audio FX widget on top of my Pandora application.
I usually leave my bluetooth off in order to save battery and only turn when using my Pandora and bluetooth speakers. Well, it’s always a big hassle to swipe my notification bar, hit the bluetooth toggle button, then start Pandora app.
Instead, with the Bluetooth Toggle widget, I can simply toggle my bluetooth on and off freely without leaving my Pandora app. It gets even better as I can also use Audio FX widget to control my equalizer.
Another example is running a stock ticker widget ilke Ministock widget on top of my GMail. If you are a stock broker, this could be very useful in tracking your favorite stocks while using GMail. Also, you can easily move the widgets around simply by doing a long-press, just like having widgets on your homescreen or lockscreen.
You can also set the transparency level of your widgets, another extra feature that goes long ways I think in making Overlays app very useful and not covering everything.
Also when I use Google Maps, I tend to leave GPS off to save battery life but only turn on when using Google Maps. Before, I would always open up Google Maps and it would re-direct me to my GPS settings and I would have to hit bunch of buttons before my Google Maps GPS is working.
With Overlaps app, I simply put the GPS toggle widget so whenever I open up my Google Maps, I just hit the GPS toggle button and also turn it off when exiting Google Maps.
These are just couple examples where overlaying widgets over apps could be very useful and best of all, Overlays app works on any Android device with Android 4.0 or higher, so if you have ICS or Jelly Bean or higher, you will be able to use this app.
And no root required!
How to Setup Overlays? Here’s a short tutorial on how to run any widgets over your favorite apps.
Step 1. First, you can download and install the free version of Overlays app. You can use the free version to place your favorite widgets on ALL apps. The paid version allows you to customize per-app basis instead of having your widgets everywhere. But try the free version first as it will show you if your phone is compatible with this app. Once you confirm it works, you can get the paid version.
Open up Overlays app and you will be able to add more Profiles by hitting the + button.
Step 2. Name it anything you want and hit “Add Overlays”.
Step 3. You can drag and drop the any of the icons from the left, in this case I am dragging and dropping the Widget icon to add more widgets.
Step 4. Drop it anywhere you would like to add the widget!
Step 5. Choose your favorite widget you want to use.
Step 6. You will find 4 buttons in the corners.
You can hit the upper-left settings button to adjust your widget transparency,
You can hit the lower-left trashcan button twice to delete the widget.
You can also re-size your widget your the lower-right button.
Once done adjusting, you can hit the upper-right save button to save your widget.
You can also rotate your Android device in landscape and customize location for landscape mode.
That’s it! You can add as many widgets as you’d like.
Step 7. Once done setting up your Profiles, make sure Profiles and your Profile name is set ON.
Step 8. Now, you will see your widget everywhere you go!
Step 9. If you have confirmed this is working on your Android device (should work fine so long as you have ICS, Jelly Bean, or higher), you can get the paid version of Overlays App to set your widgets on per-app basis. For $1.99, I think this is totally worth it.
I am sure you can find some creative uses for this Overlays app. If you find some good combos, don’t forget to leave your favorite Overlays setup in the comments box for me and others to try, thanks!
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