Android show scaling has been a controversial matter within the Chromebook neighborhood because the removal of Android’s DPI scaling setting in Chrome OS 67. The fonts and contact targets in Android apps seem tiny and illegible, making them extremely irritating to make use of in comparison with Chrome and native Chrome apps. There was workarounds to extend Android app scaling, however these strategies don’t work anymore. Individuals have complained about it within the Chromebook community forums and have been filing bugs, and, to be sincere, I can not blame them. Google is now testing a brand new system known as “uniform scaling” within the Chrome OS Beta and Dev channel to deal with the issue with tiny Android functions, but it surely’s stuffed with points.
Uniform scaling is Google’s reply to the Android app scaling complaints littered in every single place on the Chromium bug tracker and the Chromebook community forums. It scales Android apps to be 25% larger to turn out to be readable and fewer irritating to make use of.
Left: Telegram Android app with out uniform scaling. Proper: With uniform scaling.
As proven above, the general format of Android apps seems bigger with uniform scaling. The font and interface are scaled up considerably greater than earlier than, making it simpler to learn and work together with the app. Whereas the choice to extend scaling for Android apps is the best transfer, particularly from an accessibility standpoint, the change causes its personal points, akin to making apps seem too large and cutting off content. There’s additionally one somewhat obvious unanticipated consequence.
Final evening, I attempted to make amends for homework utilizing Squid, a well-liked note-taking app discovered on the Google Play Retailer. I began to write down, and I seen that my writing began to maneuver away from my digital pen. That is bizarre, I believed. I restarted Squid, and it did the identical factor. I minimized the Squid app and examined the Concepts Android app to see if it was a Squid difficulty, and it exhibited the identical downside. Have a look:
Ideas app with uniform scaling. Fully off-centered from my digital pen.
As you may see, the enter is nowhere close to the place my stylus really is. I’ve to be actively compensating for the misalignment to attract accurately, which is a big annoyance (particularly when drawing faces).
Squid app with uniform scaling. Ink initially trails behind my digital pen till I carry it.
Squid is impacted considerably greater than the Ideas app. The ink initially trails my drawing pen till I carry it, shifting the entire stroke to the underside proper. This makes drawing inconceivable since I’ve to foretell the place the ink goes to finish up.
A few of you is perhaps questioning why I am making a giant fuss about it if the issue would not exist on the Chrome OS secure channel. Consider it this manner: we’re already late within the beta cycle for Chrome OS 86. The clock is ticking, and there is not numerous time for the problem to be mounted earlier than the anticipated launch of Chrome OS 86 secure (until Google delays it, which does happen). Lovers and net builders leaping to the Beta channel to check out upcoming options with “low risk” will discover their Android apps close to unusable. For those who want drawing to work accurately on Android apps once more, you may need to powerwash (or manufacturing unit reset) your Chromebook to change again to the secure channel, which erases all your information saved in your Chromebook. I am not the one one working into this downside both — folks have messaged me saying they will now not handwrite notes or draw on Android apps, which destroyed their workflow. Here is what sucks about this: there isn’t any method to flip uniform scaling off. Till Google fixes the terrible uniform scaling bug, you are caught with misaligned inking. Not good, Google.
For those who’re negatively impacted by uniform scaling issues and like to not again up and powerwash your Chromebook, there are a few issues you may attempt to work across the points.
For those who do not annotate or draw on Android apps, do this workaround. You may change Android’s show scaling by exposing the hidden show settings in Android.
- Set up Activity Launcher (or any equal app that may launch hidden actions) from the Google Play retailer.
- Launch Exercise Launcher, seek for “show,” and click on on com.android.settings.DisplaySettings to launch the hidden show settings.
- Click on on the “Superior” button, then click on “Show dimension.”
- Shrink the show dimension to “Small” by transferring the slider to the left.
Your apps ought to seem precisely like how they used to look with out uniform scaling. It’s essential to do steps #2-Four each time you sign off or restart your Chromebook.
If you’ll want to annotate or draw on Android apps, this workaround will assist get the pen’s inking centered. You will must ADB into the Android subsystem and alter Android’s show density utilizing just a few instructions.
- If you have already got Linux put in in your Chromebook, chances are you’ll skip this step. In any other case, launch Chrome OS Settings, click on on Linux (Beta) on the navigation pane, and click on the “Activate” button. If you cannot discover it, your system may not be eligible for Linux, a requirement for this workaround.
- Activate “Allow ADB debugging,” which is tucked underneath “Develop Android apps” within the Linux (Beta) part of Chrome OS Settings.
- Launch the Linux terminal from the launcher. ADB is required to change the Android subsystem. To do that, sort and enter the next: sudo apt replace && sudo apt set up android-tools-adb.
- As soon as ADB is put in, search for the Android subsystem: adb units.
- You need to see a tool known as “emulator-####.” Observe that the “https://www.androidpolice.com/2020/09/29/google-introduced-a-crippling-android-app-scaling-bug-to-the-chrome-os-beta-and-dev-channel/#” will differ relying in your system. Copy it.
- ADB into the Android subsystem: adb -s emulator-#### shell.
- For those who did these steps accurately, your terminal ought to show your system identify. For instance, my Pixel Slate says nocturne_cheets:/ $
- Change the density of Android’s window supervisor to 120: wm density 120.
If performed accurately, that is what your terminal output ought to appear to be.
The content material inside Android apps will likely be very tiny, however the inking will precisely observe your drawing pen. I like to recommend reverting the density setting again to default if you’re completed drawing: wm density reset.
I hope the builders at Google will repair the bugs brought on by uniform scaling. As of now, this new scaling has fully damaged all Android drawing apps, considerably impacting artists and college students. I filed a bug report on the Chromium bug tracker, and I hope the builders will bounce in and rapidly repair the problem earlier than it reaches the secure channel.