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How to get full screen (reading) apps on your Android tablet

Some time back I heard about an app that would let you trick apps into working full screen on large Android tablets. It’s called Spare Parts, and what it does is give you access to some of the concealed settings menu options.

Update: This post is slightly out of date. Most large tablets now ship with this problem already fixed. But I’m leaving this post up just in case someone needs it.

I didn’t have a copy of the app at the time, but now I do. You can download it at Freeware Lovers. This version is ad supported but the ads aren’t obnoxious. The download and install process is simple and straightforward. I had no trouble with it.

Let me explain how to use it. You see, Android OS has this little quirk called "compatibility mode". Do you know how you sometimes have an app running in a little window  and not using all the screen real estate?  That is compatibility mode.

Open Spare Parts and look for the setting option for compatibility mode. Uncheck the box. Yes, I want you to turn it off. Reboot your tablet. Your apps should now show up as full screen.

I’ve tried it with a half dozen apps, and they all seem to work without a hitch. But your results may vary.

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RobBrown December 19, 2010 um 3:24 pm

I think it’s odd that reading apps would need this at all. For apps where the screen layout is predetermined and fixed (say, a phone dialler), then it makes sense that the screen layout and pixel density are important. But for a reader where the screen is rendered at run-time, I’d have thought it was inherently resizeable.
Android isn’t very helpful here. (Please forgive me dropping into developer-speak here…) You can specify the intended "compatible" densities in the application manifest; like this:

The trick though, is that this only works for Android 1.6 onwards. For the app I’m working on we wanted to keep 1.5 compatibility, which looked like it would be a problem. We got around it by specifying the *target* version as 1.6, but the *minimum* version as 1.5. Seems to work OK, although there’s a warning about the version mismatch when compiling.

RobBrown December 19, 2010 um 3:25 pm

Yikes! The site ate my xml 🙂
What I wrote is below. You can add your own xml tag brackets.

supports-screens android:smallScreens="true" android:normalScreens="true" android:largeScreens="true" android:anyDensity="true"

How to read a PDF on an Android tablet December 19, 2010 um 5:29 pm

[…] Subscribe ← How to get full screen (reading) apps on your Android tablet […]

Ellen Hage December 19, 2010 um 5:37 pm

Thanks Nate!!!!

Now ereader fills the screen on my 9″ Pandigital. I had downloaded it per your reply on another post, but I didn’t know what settings to pick. I have so many ebooks from Fictionwise, that I really needed this to work. So I am happy in spite of not having a case. 😀

Getting started with an Android tablet December 25, 2010 um 5:17 pm

[…] Spare Parts (You must get this one, and here’s why) […]

Tablet Gift Guide – 2012 Edition – The Digital Reader November 29, 2011 um 1:09 pm

[…] I especially encourage you to get the Spare Parts app if you have an older or cheap tablet (here’s why). It can help help change settings that aren’t normally […]

Polly Decesere November 8, 2015 um 9:54 am

Why i don’t have full screen on facebook

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