How to make your calculator a lot more useful

Inspired by a thread I’m watching on Twitter, which I am not sure this this the solution for but it’s a solution, here’s how to make your calculator app a whole lot more useful if you’re using it and attempting to switch between it and whatever you’re typing. You can also do this for any app you need quick and easy access to.

TL;DR – this is a somewhat advanced pop-up view (which has been around since at least 2019,) as applied to a calculator with some options nobody I have talked to has explored (your friends probably are cooler than mine though.)

650 words describing how problematic having to switch between what you’re typing and a calculator omitted.

Step 1: Open calculator app of choice

I have a couple for… reasons… pick whatever calculator app you want… or whatever app you need access to generally. Open it as usual.

Step 2: bask in the glory of the full screen calculator app

So fullscreen

Useful, but what if we’re trying to enter a whole bunch of numbers from a Facebook argument we’re currently in?

Step 3: Hit the Overview / Program select button

You have three buttons, nobody (ok, a lot of people do and you’re one of them) knows what they’re called – it’s the overview / app select button…

You will see a mini version of your calculator with the app icon at the top of it.

Step 4: Tap that app icon

Once you’ve tapped the app icon there are two choices you’re going to want to look at – I generally use Keep Open, and Open in pop-up view.

Step 5: It’s not exactly what you want, but close

At this point you have a floating maybe half screen calculator you can reposition and resize, and that’s cool and all, but your options here are to remove (not shown here, will be at the bottom of the screen and easily visible,) or resize (you have to hold on the little thing up top of the calculator to see these options, I could not do that and get a screen shot). Let’s make that a bit more useful.

Step 6: Let’s make that useful

So we have a calculator, we’ve done our initial calculation, we want it back later when we get to the next set of numbers… press either home or the overview button and the calculator will be minimized to a movable circle on the screen for easy access later. While easy, that comes with some problems though, so let’s make this cooler.

Tapping the circle will bring up the smaller calculator, and you can switch between plugging in numbers on it and typing on whatever you’re working on without having to switch between the two apps.

But let’s look at the not so obvious menu here…

Note the little blue bar at the top of the calculator window. You’ve probably already touched it and use it to move a window haven’t you? Try tapping that. You’ll get a whole slew of options here, one of the better ones being transparency.

Yup, you can float the app, see through it. You can also minimize, maximize, split-screen, and close the app.

This is not limited to calculator apps. This is just what the use case I am familiar with involves. Do it with any app.

But that’s not automatic

There exist no way in stock Android 12 I can find to automatically launch an app in a pop-up window, and since Android 10 it appears the resize/popup exists only in one handed mode. There are plenty of apps that allow a shortcut to launch in minimized, and there are some Samsung specific ways involving the floating app drawer, but I’ll let you find those on your own as this is probably a brand/launcher-specific article on its own.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts