This story was initially printed and final up to date .
Android show scaling has been a controversial matter within the Chromebook neighborhood for the reason that 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 am unable to 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 purposes, but it surely’s stuffed with points.
Uniform scaling is Google’s reply to the Android app scaling complaints littered in all places on the Chromium bug tracker and the Chromebook community forums. It scales Android apps to be 25% larger to grow 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 structure 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 huge and cutting off content. There’s additionally one moderately evident unanticipated consequence.
Final evening, I attempted to atone for homework utilizing Squid, a well-liked note-taking app discovered on the Google Play Retailer. I began to put in writing, and I seen that my writing began to maneuver away from my digital pen. That is bizarre, I assumed. 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 problem, and it exhibited the identical downside. Have a look:
Ideas app with uniform scaling. Utterly off-centered from my digital pen.
As you’ll be able to 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 unimaginable since I’ve to foretell the place the ink goes to finish up.
A few of you is likely to be 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 fashion: we’re already late within the beta cycle for Chrome OS 86. The clock is ticking, and there is not numerous time for the difficulty to be mounted earlier than the anticipated launch of Chrome OS 86 secure (except Google delays it, which does happen). Fans and net builders leaping to the Beta channel to check out upcoming options with “low risk” will discover their Android apps close to unusable. If you happen to want drawing to work accurately on Android apps once more, you may should powerwash (or manufacturing facility reset) your Chromebook to modify again to the secure channel, which erases your whole knowledge saved in your Chromebook. I am not the one one operating into this downside both — folks have messaged me saying they’ll not handwrite notes or draw on Android apps, which destroyed their workflow. Here is what sucks about this: there isn’t a option to flip uniform scaling off. Till Google fixes the terrible uniform scaling bug, you are caught with misaligned inking. Not good, Google.
If you happen to’re negatively impacted by uniform scaling issues and like to not again up and powerwash your Chromebook, there are a few issues you’ll be able to attempt to work across the points.
If you happen to do not annotate or draw on Android apps, do this workaround. You possibly can 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 shifting the slider to the left.
Your apps ought to seem precisely like how they used to look with out uniform scaling. You will need to do steps #2-Four each time you sign off or restart your Chromebook.
If it’s worthwhile to annotate or draw on Android apps, this workaround will assist get the pen’s inking centered. You may have to ADB into the Android subsystem and alter Android’s show density utilizing a couple of instructions.
- If you have already got Linux put in in your Chromebook, it’s possible 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 gadget may not be eligible for Linux, a requirement for this workaround.
- Activate “Allow ADB debugging,” which is tucked below “Develop Android apps” within the Linux (Beta) part of Chrome OS Settings.
- Launch the Linux terminal from the launcher. ADB is required to switch 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 gadgets.
- It’s best to see a tool known as “emulator-####.” Be aware that the “https://www.androidpolice.com/2020/10/02/google-introduced-a-crippling-android-app-scaling-bug-to-the-chrome-os-beta-and-dev-channel/#” will differ relying in your gadget. Copy it.
- ADB into the Android subsystem: adb -s emulator-#### shell.
- If you happen to did these steps accurately, your terminal ought to show your gadget title. For instance, my Pixel Slate says nocturne_cheets:/ $
- Change the density of Android’s window supervisor to 120: wm density 120.
If completed accurately, that is what your terminal output ought to appear to be.
The content material inside Android apps can be very tiny, however the inking will precisely comply with your drawing pen. I like to recommend reverting the density setting again to default once you’re completed drawing: wm density reset.
I hope the builders at Google will repair the bugs attributable to 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 leap in and rapidly repair the difficulty earlier than it reaches the secure channel.
Google responds, pulls uniform scaling out of Chrome OS 86 and 87
Google responded to the uniform scaling bug report final evening, saying that the characteristic has been reverted:
“Thanks for the report. This has been just lately been reverted from 86 and 87. Future 86 and 87 builds is not going to have this characteristic.”
It ought to take a couple of extra days for Google to roll out up to date Chrome OS Beta and Dev builds with out uniform scaling. I can affirm the revert is stay within the newest Chrome OS Canary construct, which resolves the problems attributable to this characteristic.
Uniform scaling is no more in the latest Chrome OS Beta and Dev channel build
Google recently rolled out 86.0.4240.68 (Beta) and 87.0.4277.0 (Dev) to the Chrome OS release channels. As promised, the new builds remove uniform scaling, which fixes the bugs caused by it (off-centered inking, cropped windows).