A lot of Android devices have dedicated buttons to bring up the multitasking list, but Switchr may offer an even faster way to jump between running apps. This utility debuted on XDA recently as a beta, but now it has come to Google Play in both free and paid forms.

Switchr, like some similar apps, creates an active swipe zone on the edge of the screen. Swipe in through that area, and you trigger the app switching interface. There are two modes in Switchr – Flow and Slide. Flow pulls up an animated scrolling list of apps as you drag your finger in. A more minimalist approach is Slide, which attaches the last app to your finger as you drag inward. You can release to open it, or drag back toward the edge to grab the next most recent app.

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Switchr has a ton of settings for the location of the active zone, sensitivity, limiting the number of processes, and more. The free version only has a subset of features, but the pro key is just $1.99 if you like what you see.

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Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • Roh_Mish

    Those are very nice nexus mockups.

  • merman1983

    This looks very nice, but I'm not sure if it's just for looks. Style is cool, but I'd love a gesture that would just quick switch between the current and last opened app.

    Also, I see in the thread that the dev warns this is for phones with more than 1GB RAM. Sorry GNex (he says to his GNex).

    • Jeff

      GMD Gesture Control has an alt-tab function that works perfectly. You need root and it isn't as pretty, but it's incredibly powerful and easily worth the cost! But I'm liking Switchr for it's simplicity!

      • alexcue

        Came here to mention GMD as well. I have it set up as a four-finger double-tap to Alt-Tab, or a three-finger swipe up to launch mini-icons at the bottom. Four-finger swipe left/right to scroll through running apps, like on the iPad. It's fantastic.

    • Derek B

      LMT from XDA will let you do this as long as you're rooted.


    • qriusme

      If you use Carbon or AOKP (I think also CM), there are navigation settings to alter the navigation bar buttons. One of them is called "last app". I use it all the time as my alt-tab fix.

      • Kie

        Exactly this. Most under reported bonus of the ROM. Gravitybox will allow you to do it as well (you need root, exposed framework, android 4.1+) without a custom ROM

  • sweenish

    It makes the task switcher button useless, though. If there were a root option to change how it behaved, sure.

    The app is pretty, but I'm not a fan of making one of my buttons redundant.

    • http://www.geordienorman.com/ George Byers

      Not a problem really on a Nexus :)

      • sweenish

        It actually is a problem specifically for a Nexus as it's one of the few phones that does have the task switcher button.

        I'm not going to get rid of it or change it to something else. I actually use it. If this app does not have the ability to insert itself, I won't bother. Instead of trying to be all coy, if you could direct me to an app or enlighten me that this app does indeed have the functionality I'm talking about instead of assuming I don't already own a rooted and ROM'd GNex, that'd be great.

        • Gabernasher

          You can change the buttons to whatever you want on a nexus. My N4 has 5 buttons at the bottom.

  • http://www.westagemusic.com/ Marc

    would love if the apps are previewed in the frame on the first n5 screenshot

    • Anu6is

      It's optional

  • sourabh sekhar

    This looks like a boon to me as i have a S3
    in which i have to hold the home button to bring up the task switcher and then select the app.

    • http://www.cpcwiki.eu/ Gryzor

      I don't get it - I have a Sensation XE with the same configuration; why is this a problem?

      • Martin Nutbeem

        You have to press and hold for quite a while in my experience. Not that speedy if you are wanting to quickly open an app.

        • http://www.cpcwiki.eu/ Gryzor

          Really? I think it's 250-500ms on most configurations...

          • Martin Nutbeem

            Well, I've not timed it obviously, but on stock I found it to be quite laggy. Not on PA or CM though. Laggy enough that you sometimes got that nagging doubt you hadn't depressed correctly, then bingo there you go.

  • gatecrashr

    Navigation drawer + switchr = me yelling *&%^$## at my phone for misunderstandings. Can't get a grip on this.

  • Frank Lopez

    Would be tits if it tooks a snapshot of the running app instead of showing app icons. A. la WP & ios methods of card multitasking.

    • Jaime

      A la Android since Android 4.0?

      • Frank Lopez

        Not not ugly 4.0 way more card base as I originally mentioned WEBOS, WP IOS way.

        • ddpacino

          More card based?! From the guy that started the card paradigm in an OS and still implementing that in Android -- Matias Duarte himself??

          It's just vertical. Ever used Android current app switcher in landscape? They're lined horizontally and looks and works the *same* UGLY way as he developed in webOS.

  • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

    This is an excellent companion to pie controls! Pie controls on the right, Switchr on the top left. It's gesture perfection!

  • vs8

    Icons look blurry on my phone. I wonder if it's a free version crap to make you buy the whole thing.

    • shobon

      The icons look crisp on the free version on my Droid DNA (which is 1080p/xxhdpi, and would be very susceptible to blurry icons).

  • Jaime

    Liked the slide configuration, flow wasn't working well for me, I could never get to the last open app.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    For these kinds of tasks, I still prefer a button to a gesture.

  • bse88

    I would love to be able to change to my previous and next app by swiping over the soft buttons.

  • Kishan

    Prefer using Edge: Quick Actions, does the same thing, has the added options of bringing up connections controls, apps drawers, home

  • tay

    tried it and it works(although some bugs still exist) but I prefer the traditional way..
    btw the developer is only 17 yrs old... Damn :O