Android show scaling has been a controversial subject within the Chromebook neighborhood for the reason that elimination 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 once workarounds to extend Android app scaling, however these strategies do not work anymore. Folks have complained about it within the Chromebook neighborhood boards and have been submitting bugs, and, to be trustworthy, I can not blame them. Google is now testing a brand new system known as “uniform scaling” within the Chrome OS Beta and Dev channel to sort out the issue with tiny Android purposes, however it’s stuffed with points.

Uniform scaling is Google’s reply to the Android app scaling complaints littered in every single place on the Chromium bug tracker and the Chromebook neighborhood boards. It scales Android apps to be 25% bigger to turn out 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 proper transfer, particularly from an accessibility standpoint, the change causes its personal points, akin to making apps seem too massive and reducing off content material. There’s additionally one moderately evident unanticipated consequence.

Final night time, I attempted to atone for homework utilizing Squid, a well-liked note-taking app discovered on the Google Play Retailer. I began to jot down, 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 Ideas Android app to see if it was a Squid concern, and it exhibited the identical drawback. Have a look:

canvas - The newest Chrome OS Beta and Dev channel construct fixes the crippling Android app scaling bug

Ideas app with uniform scaling. Fully off-centered from my digital pen.

As you’ll be able to see, the enter is nowhere close to the place my stylus truly is. I’ve to be actively compensating for the misalignment to attract appropriately, which is a big annoyance (particularly when drawing faces).

squid - The newest Chrome OS Beta and Dev channel construct fixes the crippling Android app scaling bug

Squid app with uniform scaling. Ink initially trails behind my digital pen till I raise it.

Squid is impacted considerably greater than the Ideas app. The ink initially trails my drawing pen till I raise 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 could be questioning why I am making a giant fuss about it if the issue does not exist on the Chrome OS steady channel. Consider it this manner: we’re already late within the beta cycle for Chrome OS 86. The clock is ticking, and there is not lots of time for the difficulty to be mounted earlier than the anticipated launch of Chrome OS 86 steady (except Google delays it, which does occur). Fanatics and net builders leaping to the Beta channel to check out upcoming options with “low danger” will discover their Android apps close to unusable. Should you want drawing to work appropriately on Android apps once more, you may must powerwash (or manufacturing facility reset) your Chromebook to modify again to the steady channel, which erases your entire knowledge saved in your Chromebook. I am not the one one operating into this drawback both — individuals have messaged me saying they will now not handwrite notes or draw on Android apps, which destroyed their workflow. Here is what sucks about this: there isn’t any method to flip uniform scaling off. Till Google fixes the terrible uniform scaling bug, you are caught with misaligned inking. Not good, Google.

Should you’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.

Workaround #1

Should you do not annotate or draw on Android apps, do this workaround. You’ll be able to change Android’s show scaling by exposing the hidden show settings in Android.

  1. Set up Exercise Launcher (or any equal app that may launch hidden actions) from the Google Play retailer.
  2. Launch Exercise Launcher, seek for “show,” and click on on com.android.settings.DisplaySettings to launch the hidden show settings.
  3. Click on on the “Superior” button, then click on “Show measurement.”
  4. Shrink the show measurement 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. It’s essential to do steps #2-Four each time you log off or restart your Chromebook.

Workaround #2

If you could annotate or draw on Android apps, this workaround will assist get the pen’s inking centered. You will must ADB into the Android subsystem and alter Android’s show density utilizing a couple of instructions.

This workaround requires enabling ADB debugging, which lets you set up apps not verified by Google. Android Police and Google usually are not answerable for damages attributable to sideloading dangerous apps. Disabling this characteristic would require a powerwash.
  1. If you have already got Linux put in in your Chromebook, you could 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 might not be eligible for Linux, a requirement for this workaround.
  2. Activate “Allow ADB debugging,” which is tucked below “Develop Android apps” within the Linux (Beta) part of Chrome OS Settings.
  3. Launch the Linux terminal from the launcher. ADB is required to change the Android subsystem. To do that, kind and enter the next: sudo apt replace && sudo apt set up android-tools-adb.
  4. As soon as ADB is put in, search for the Android subsystem: adb units.
  5. It is best to see a tool known as “emulator-####.” Word 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 fluctuate relying in your gadget. Copy it.
  6. ADB into the Android subsystem: adb -s emulator-#### shell.
  7. Should you did these steps appropriately, your terminal ought to show your gadget title. For instance, my Pixel Slate says nocturne_cheets:/ $ 
  8. Change the density of Android’s window supervisor to 120: wm density 120.

wmdensity - The newest Chrome OS Beta and Dev channel construct fixes the crippling Android app scaling bug

If finished appropriately, that is what your terminal output ought to seem like.

The content material inside Android apps shall be very tiny, however the inking will precisely comply with your drawing pen. I like to recommend reverting the density setting again to default whenever 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 shortly repair the difficulty earlier than it reaches the steady channel.

Google responds, pulls uniform scaling out of Chrome OS 86 and 87

Google responded to the uniform scaling bug report final night time, saying that the characteristic has been reverted:

“Thanks for the report. This has been lately been reverted from 86 and 87. Future 86 and 87 builds won’t 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 dwell within the newest Chrome OS Canary construct, which resolves the problems attributable to this characteristic.


Uniform scaling is not any extra within the newest Chrome OS Beta and Dev channel construct

Google lately rolled out 86.0.4240.68 (Beta) and 87.0.4277.0 (Dev) to the Chrome OS launch channels. As promised, the brand new builds take away uniform scaling, which fixes the bugs attributable to it (off-centered inking, cropped home windows).

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