Enable Samsung DeX using Taskbar 6.0 on some Android Devices.
Android 10’s most exciting feature was desktop mode but it is still widely unknown. Samsung DeX is an extension of Android N’s Multi-Window mode which allows your device to cast a PC-like experience to the big screen with the same apps you use on your phone every day.
Android 10 added a secondary launcher which comes into play when an Android device with support for display output is hooked up to an external display. This Secondary Launcher activity is shown on the external display. This Secondary Launcher is barebones, it’s not useful as a productivity tool.
XDA Senior Member farmerbb has replaced the stock launcher on the external display and implemented it in Taskbar 6.0. The taskbar is an open-source Android app that puts a floating start menu and recent apps on top of any screen.
Taskbar supports launching Android apps freeform multi-window. Previously, farmerbb released a fork of the open-source Lawnchair launcher with Taskbar integrated into it but it had some issues. Now, farmerbb has updated Taskbar to version 6.0 to address all of the previous issues.
Desktop Mode with Taskbar 6.0
- In Developer Options, turn on “enable freeform windows” and “force desktop mode” and then reboot your device. (The latter may be unavailable on some OEM software like ZenUI/ROG UI, but don’t worry if it’s not there.)
- Install Taskbar 6.0 (older versions won’t work) from Google Play.
- Open Taskbar’s settings and go to “Desktop Mode.” Enable it and grant the app permission to “display over other apps” as this is required for the app’s floating start menu to appear. Then, set the app as your default home app. Don’t worry, though, as the next prompt will ask you to set your preferred/primary launcher app, so Taskbar won’t be hijacking your home screen. (Note that on some devices, changing the default launcher will disable Android 10’s full-screen navigation gestures.)
- Next, I highly recommend you follow the instructions to “enable additional settings” for desktop mode. This will allow you to lower the DPI so UI elements aren’t enormous on the external display, to hide the navigation bar, and to even dim the phone’s screen to save battery life while it’s connected to the external display. You’ll have to set up ADB access on your PC and run the following command:
adb shell pm grant com.farmerbb.taskbar android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS
(If you are using Taskbar’s “Donate” version, replace “com.farmerbb.taskbar” with “com.farmerbb.taskbar.paid” in the above command.)
- Finally, check to make sure that “usage access” has been enabled for Taskbar. Doing so will allow the app to show a row of your recently used applications in the start menu.
- Now, simply connect your phone to your external display using a USB Type-C to Type-C cable (if your external display supports Type-C input) or via a USB Type-C to HDMI adapter.
Once connected, you can use the start menu to launch apps, search for apps, add app icons to the home screen, open some system menus, and more. You can tap the icon next to the start menu to add/show widgets. You can launch multiple instances of windows and in some cases like Google Chrome, have multiple tabs.
There are loads of other options and changes in Taskbar 6.0, read the full changelog available here.
Download Taskbar 6.0
If you have one of the following smartphones, try this app:
- ASUS ROG Phone II
- Essential Phone
- OnePlus 7
- OnePlus 7 Pro
- OnePlus 7T
- OnePlus 7T Pro
- OnePlus 8
- OnePlus 8 Pro
- OPPO Reno 10X Zoom