How to enable and use ‘Flex mode’ on the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s massive folding screen

How to enable and use ‘Flex mode’ on the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s massive folding screen

Samsung’s new foldables are most notable for their ability to fold down the middle like a pocket-sized notebook. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is obviously the one that’s better suited to function as anything close to a notebook. It lets you relive the netbooks and miniature laptop nostalgia from the early days. Samsung has also put more effort to make the Galaxy Z Fold 4 feel like a conventional notebook by adding some new features to its Flex mode. But what exactly is this Flex mode and how can you enable and use it to take full advantage of the folding screen?

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What is Flex mode?

Flex mode is a feature that’s built into the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4. It kicks in every time you use the phone’s main screen folded halfway. It essentially capitalizes on Samsung foldable’s sturdy hinge and uses one half of the device to serve as the main screen while the other can be used as a trackpad, keyboard, and just to show some important information related to the content that’s being consumed on the top half. It comes in handy when you put down the phone on a flat surface to use it hands-free.

Flex mode, in case you are wondering, only works with select applications right now. So only a handful of applications can truly take full advantage of Flex mode. Supported applications like Camera, Gallery, and Calculator will automatically distribute relevant information and on-screen elements on both halves of the display. YouTube, for instance, is also a supported application and you can see how the top portion of the display is used to show the video itself while the bottom half is used to display other relevant content like the comments on the video, recommended videos, and more.

Samsung’s Calculator, on the other hand, also shows more functions on the bottom half of the screen while allowing you to check our inputs and show results on the top half.  You can also use Flex mode while capturing photos on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and it’ll give you the camera controls along with a preview of your last image at the bottom while keeping the viewfinder on the top. Other supported applications have similar layouts to display relevant information.

How to enable Flex mode?

This particular feature is enabled by default on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, so all you have to do in order to use it is just fold the Z Fold 4’s screen halfway. Also, make sure you have disabled the orientation lock otherwise it won’t work. You can check this by locating a lock icon in the notification/quick settings menu and ensuring it’s disabled. Flex mode is exclusive to Samsung foldables, which means not all applications are optimized by default to take advantage of it. Samsung has a list of applications that support Flex mode by default. Here, take a look:

  • Calendar
  • Calculator
  • Camera
  • Clock
  • Gallery
  • Internet
  • YouTube
  • Zoom
  • Phone
  • Samsung Free
  • Samsung Health
  • Samsung TV Plus
  • Google Duo

How to enable Flex mode on unsupported applications?

More applications are being updated to take advantage of Flex mode and Samsung says the compatibility will increase over time. You can, however, enable the Flex mode for just about any app on your phone by following a few simple steps that are mentioned below:

  • Open the Settings page and look for an option named Advanced features.
  • Inside that, locate the Labs option and select it to see a bunch of experimental features.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and choose the Flex mode panel.
  • On this page, you can select the switch next to the app you want to use with Flex mode to enable it.

How to enable flex mode for unsupported apps

Once done, you should now be able to fold the phone halfway and enable the Flex mode on just about any application. You’ll see the content move to the top half of the screen while a control pad will appear at the bottom.

Using Flex mode on unsupported applications

In the case of applications that don’t officially support the Flex mode, you’ll see a control pad at the bottom part of the display. This control pad, as you can see, has five buttons that you can interact with by tapping on them. Here’s what the buttons do:

  • Notifications: Tapping on this button will pull down the notification shade which you can send back by swiping up.
  • Screenshot: The next button allows you to grab a screenshot, which I think is very useful because it can be weird pressing the power and volume down buttons when the phone is set up on a flat surface like this in front of you.
  • Brightness & Volume: The next two buttons will bring the brightness and volume sliders, respectively.
  • Touchpad: Lastly, you have a touchpad button, which enables a PC-style touchpad and a cursor that moves around the top half of the display. The touchpad controls are fairly straightforward — use two fingers to scroll, pinch to zoom, tap, or double-tap on items on the screen to take necessary actions.
Galaxy Z Fold 4 with flex mode enabled

The control pad and the touchpad on Galaxy Z Fold 4

Flex mode will pull up the same interface for all the unsupported apps. I find it useful in the case of apps like Google Chrome in which you can use the cursor for various things. But it doesn’t do much for apps like Twitch, for instance. I just find it weird staring at an empty bottom half when that space could be used for showing the live chat. The lack of these features is understandable in case of unsupported apps but that’s not even my main concern.

screenshot of flex mode in unsupported apps

I personally found the touchpad to be a little finicky. I don’t like how the touchpad surface itself is quite small instead of letting you use the entire bottom half as a touchpad by momentarily hiding the control pad. I often find myself scrolling or trying to move the cursor outside the touchpad, only to realise that I am doing it wrong.

The overall experience of using the Flex mode isn’t convincing to me when it comes to unsupported apps. But that also has more to do with the fact that the OneUI software running on Android 12L isn’t exactly cursor-friendly. There’s also no way to adjust the sensitivity of the cursor itself, which I personally think would have made things a bit easier and useful.

    The Galaxy Z Fold 4 has fewer compromises, is more durable and overall a much better smartphone than its predecessors.

Well, that;’s everything you can do with the Flex mode on the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. It may not be the most useful feature to help up make the most out of your Galaxy Z Fold 4, but it works well for the most part. Is the Flex mode something that you’d be interested in trying out? Let us know by dropping a line in the comments below.

About author

Karthik Iyer
Karthik Iyer

Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.

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