Monday, June 24, 2024
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Can you run apps on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 cover screen?


Different widgets for the cover screen on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Samsung just revealed a slew of new foldables, tablets, and wearables — including the next-generation Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 — at its Galaxy Unpacked July 2023 event in Seoul, South Korea.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is launching hot on the heels of the Motorola Razr Plus, which has been one of the best folding phones this year. A major perk of the Motorola Razr Plus is the fact that the large 3.6-inch cover screen acts like a regular display, complete with a home screen, quick settings, panels, and the ability to run any Android app.

So, can Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 run apps on its 3.4-inch cover screen too? Well, it’s a little complicated.

You can run select apps on the Z Flip 5’s cover screen

Apps widget on the cover screen for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

By default, the cover screen on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 will only show widgets, similar to how it works on the Galaxy Z Flip 4. The widgets include things like weather, calendar, notifications, and more.

But if you want to run apps, things get a little more complicated. In order to get apps running on the cover screen, you will need to enable that feature from the Labs section of the Settings app. To do this, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Advanced Features.
  3. Tap on Labs.
  4. Tap the toggle next to Apps allowed on cover screen.
Setting up apps for the cover screen on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Once you enable this setting in Labs, you’ll then get access to the “Apps widget” on the cover screen. This widget features a curated collection of apps that will work on the cover screen. These apps include YouTube, Netflix, Samsung Messages, Google Messages, Google Maps, and WhatsApp. From Labs, you can enable all of the apps or pick and choose which ones you want to show up.

As you can see, the apps widget for the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is a little … limited. That really is only a handful of apps, and when you compare it to the Motorola Razr Plus’ ability to run any Android app out of the box, it’s disappointing, to say the least.

There is a workaround to run any app on the cover screen

Google Maps running on the cover screen of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Joe Maring/Digital Trends

However, you can force run any app on the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s cover screen as long as you download the Samsung Good Lock app. This app is not available on the regular Google Play Store — it’s only available through Samsung’s Galaxy Store instead, which is preinstalled on all Samsung devices.

If you’re not familiar with Good Lock, it’s a Samsung-specific app that’s made to help you redesign the aesthetic look and feel of your Galaxy device. It can change the appearance of your home and lock screens, recent apps layout, clock face, Quick Settings panel, and more. On the Galaxy Z Flip 5, it also gives you a “cover screen launcher.” With the Good Lock cover screen launcher, you’ll be able to run any apps you choose.

Samsung is technically offering a solution to run any app you want on the Flip 5 cover screen, but it requires you to jump through some hoops before you’re able to. We also haven’t had a chance to test this out for ourselves (the Good Lock app wasn’t available to use during our initial hands-on time with the Z Flip 5), so we’ll have to wait and see what the whole process actually looks like.

Much more complicated than the Motorola Razr Plus

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 next to the Motorola Razr Plus.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Compared to the recently released Motorola Razr Plus, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is a little disappointing when it comes to the cover screen functionality.

On the Razr Plus, you can launch any Android app you have installed — right out of the box. There are no extra steps involved, no workarounds; it just works.

Samsung, on the other hand, requires you to enable Labs, which are technically beta, experimental features. And even then, you only have six apps that work on the cover screen. If you download and install Good Lock, however, then you can open any app you choose.

With all these workarounds, it’s clear that the Galaxy Z Flip 5 can run any app on the cover screen. But it’s unclear why Samsung put this functionality behind an “experimental” feature that’s also super limited unless you download a custom launcher.

Motorola makes it easy to just get your apps running on the cover screen of the Razr Plus without any extra steps involved. So if that’s what you’re looking for, then you may want to consider the Razr Plus instead.

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