Embracing the Fold Developing Apps for the Future of Foldable Device

Embracing the Fold: Developing Apps for the Future of Foldable Device

10 minutes, 42 seconds Read

Foldable devices have revolutionized the way we interact with technology, offering a new dimension to app development. These cutting-edge devices, with their flexible screens and innovative form factors, present exciting opportunities for developers to create immersive and intuitive experiences. To seize these opportunities, it is essential to embrace the fold and understand the intricacies of developing apps for the future of foldable devices. In this guide, we will delve into the world of foldable devices and explore the key considerations and strategies for developing apps that harness their full potential. From understanding the unique characteristics of foldable devices to implementing adaptive designs and leveraging foldable device APIs, we will provide step-by-step guidance to help you embark on this transformative journey.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding Foldable Devices
  2. Design Considerations for Foldable Apps
  3. Developing for Foldable Devices
  4. Successful Foldable App Development
  5. Conclusion
  6. Additional Resources

Understanding Developing Apps for the Future of Foldable Devices:

As foldable devices continue to gain popularity and become more prevalent in the market, it is crucial for app developers to understand the unique considerations and opportunities that arise with developing apps for these futuristic devices. In this section, we will explore the key aspects that need to be taken into account when developing apps for the future of foldable devices.

  1. Screen Continuity and Adaptive Layouts: Foldable devices offer the ability to transition seamlessly between different screen sizes and configurations. App developers must design adaptive layouts that can adjust dynamically based on the device’s form factor, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted user experience.
  1. Multi-Window Support: Foldable devices often allow users to multitask by running multiple apps or displaying multiple windows simultaneously. Developers optimize apps to support multi-window environments, enabling users to make the most of the larger screen real estate and enhancing productivity.
  1. Aspect Ratio and Orientation: Foldable devices come with unique aspect ratios and orientation capabilities. App developers should adapt their designs to these varying screen sizes and orientations, ensuring that their apps look and function optimally in different modes, such as folded, unfolded, or partially unfolded.
  1. User Interactions and Gestures: Foldable devices introduce new interaction possibilities, including gestures and folding/unfolding actions. Developers should explore innovative ways to incorporate these gestures into their apps, enhancing user engagement and intuitiveness.

  2. App Continuity and Seamlessness: App continuity refers to the seamless transition of an app’s state between different modes or screens on a foldable device. Developers should aim to provide a consistent and uninterrupted experience for users, ensuring that their apps preserve data and context during mode changes.

Design Considerations for Foldable Apps:

  1. Screen Continuity and Adaptive Layouts: One of the key considerations when developing apps for foldable devices is ensuring screen continuity and implementing adaptive layouts. Since foldable devices can change their screen size and configuration, it is important to design apps that seamlessly adapt to these variations. Here are some points to consider:
  • Implement responsive design principles: Create flexible UI layouts that can adjust dynamically based on the screen size and form factor. Utilize techniques like fluid grids, scalable images, and flexible typography to ensure optimal rendering across different screen sizes.
  • Leverage dynamic resizing: Take advantage of foldable device APIs to detect changes in screen size and adjust your app’s layout accordingly. This will help in providing a smooth and consistent user experience during mode transitions.
  • Optimize content placement: Plan your app’s content placement to accommodate different aspect ratios and orientations. Avoid critical UI elements being obstructed when the device is folded or partially unfolded.
  1. Multi-Window Support: Foldable devices often allow users to run multiple apps or display multiple windows simultaneously. To optimize your app for multi-window environments, consider the following:
  • Support split-screen mode: Ensure your app functions properly when it is displayed alongside another app in split-screen mode. Design the UI to gracefully handle changes in available screen space.
  • Enable drag-and-drop: If relevant to your app, implement drag-and-drop functionality to facilitate seamless content transfer between multiple windows or apps.
  • Consider window management: Allow users to resize, maximize, minimize, or rearrange windows within your app if it suits the app’s purpose and enhances productivity.
  1. Aspect Ratio and Orientation: Foldable devices come with varying aspect ratios and orientations. To ensure your app looks and functions optimally, keep the following in mind:
  • Adapt UI elements: Design UI elements and components that can adjust to different aspect ratios. Avoid hard-coded dimensions and utilize relative sizing and positioning to maintain visual harmony.
  • Handle orientation changes: Test and optimize your app’s behavior when the device switches between portrait and landscape modes, especially when it involves folding or unfolding actions.
  1. User Interactions and Gestures: Foldable devices introduce new interaction possibilities through gestures and folding/unfolding actions. Consider the following:
  • Explore unique gestures: Leverage foldable device APIs to incorporate custom gestures that enhance user interactions and provide intuitive control over your app’s features.
  • Provide haptic feedback: Utilize haptic feedback to provide users with tactile responses when interacting with your app on a foldable device, enhancing the overall user experience.
  1. App Continuity and Seamlessness: App continuity ensures a seamless transition of an app’s state between different modes or screens on a foldable device. Consider the following to provide a consistent experience:
  • Preserve app state: Implement mechanisms to save and restore the app’s state during mode changes, allowing users to pick up where they left off without disruptions.
  • Maintain data integrity: Ensure that data entered or processed in one mode persists when transitioning to another mode. Avoid data loss or inconsistencies during folding/unfolding actions.

Developing for Foldable Devices:

  1. Research and Familiarize Yourself with Foldable Devices: Before diving into developing apps for foldable devices, it’s crucial to research and familiarize yourself with the intricacies of these devices. Here’s what you should do:
  • Study different foldable devices: Explore the various foldable devices available in the market, their form factors, screen sizes, and unique features. Understand how these devices function and the capabilities they offer to developers.
  • Analyze existing foldable apps: Examine apps that are already designed for foldable devices. Identify best practices, innovative design approaches, and areas for improvement. This analysis will provide insights and inspiration for your own app development.
  • Stay updated on foldable technology: Keep up with the latest advancements in foldable technology. Follow news, articles, and forums to understand the evolving landscape, new APIs, SDKs, and emerging design patterns specific to foldable devices.
  1. Define App Goals and Target Audience: Clearly defining your app goals and identifying your target audience is essential for successful app development. Consider the following:
  • Determine your app’s purpose: Understand the problem your app solves or the value it provides to users in the context of foldable devices. Define the core functionalities and features that align with the unique capabilities of these devices.
  • Identify your target audience: Analyze the demographic, preferences, and usage patterns of users who are likely to use your app on foldable devices. Tailor your app’s design and functionality to cater to their specific needs and expectations.
  • Set app experience objectives: Define the desired user experience for your app on foldable devices. Determine whether your app will prioritize multitasking, screen continuity, enhanced productivity, or any other key aspect enabled by foldable technology.
  1. Adapt App Design for Foldable Form Factors: Once you understand foldable devices and your app’s goals, it’s time to adapt your app design to make the most of foldable form factors. Consider the following:
  • Responsive and adaptive layouts: Implement flexible UI designs that can seamlessly adapt to different screen sizes, aspect ratios, and orientations. Ensure your app can handle dynamic resizing and repositioning of UI elements.
  • Optimize content placement: Place critical UI elements and important content in areas that remain visible and accessible when the device is folded or partially unfolded. Avoid obstructing key functionalities during different modes.
  • Consistent branding and aesthetics: Maintain consistent branding and visual aesthetics across different screen sizes and modes. Ensure your app’s UI remains cohesive and visually appealing in all form factors.
  1. Implement Foldable Device APIs and SDKs: To fully leverage the capabilities of foldable devices, you need to implement relevant APIs and SDKs provided by the device manufacturers. Consider the following:
  • Explore foldable-specific APIs: Investigate APIs that enable you to access device information, handle folding/unfolding actions, detect screen changes, and manage multi-window environments. Utilize these APIs to enhance your app’s functionality and user experience.
  • Utilize foldable SDKs: Take advantage of foldable-specific software development kits (SDKs) provided by device manufacturers. These SDKs often contain tools, libraries, and documentation that assist in developing apps tailored for foldable devices.
  • Follow platform guidelines: Stay up to date with platform-specific guidelines and recommendations provided by the operating system (e.g., Android, Windows) for developing apps on foldable devices. Adhering to these guidelines ensures your app meets the platform’s standards and performs optimally.
  1. Test and Optimize for Foldable Devices: Thorough testing and optimization are crucial to ensure your app functions seamlessly on foldable devices. Consider the following:
  • Test on actual devices: Test your app on different foldable devices to ensure compatibility, responsiveness, and optimal performance. Pay attention to screen transitions, orientation changes, multitasking, and UI adaptability.
  • Emulator testing: Utilize foldable device emulators or simulators provided by manufacturers or development platforms to simulate various foldable scenarios and identify any potential issues or bugs.
  • Usability testing: Conduct usability testing with target users to gather feedback on the app’s user experience, functionality, and interface. Incorporate user feedback to refine and improve your app’s performance on foldable devices.
  • Performance optimization: Optimize your app’s performance by minimizing resource usage, optimizing animations, and ensuring smooth transitions between different screen modes. Consider the impact of folding/unfolding actions on battery life and system resources.

Successful Foldable App Development:
Foldable devices have paved the way for innovative app development, and several successful apps have embraced the unique capabilities of these devices. Here are a few notable case studies:

  1. Microsoft Surface Duo – Microsoft introduced the Surface Duo, a dual-screen foldable device running on Android. Microsoft optimized its suite of productivity apps, such as Microsoft Office and Outlook, for the unique form factor of the Surface Duo. The apps seamlessly adapt to different screen modes, offering enhanced multitasking capabilities and providing a productive experience for users. 
  2. Samsung Galaxy Fold – The Samsung Galaxy Fold, one of the first commercially available foldable smartphones, has seen successful app development. Social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube have optimized their apps to take advantage of the larger unfolded screen, providing a more immersive experience for users when viewing photos, videos, and other content.

  3. Google Maps – Google Maps introduced enhanced features for foldable devices. When using the app on foldable smartphones, users can view the map on one screen while accessing additional information, such as directions or points of interest, on the other screen. The multi-window support provides improved navigation and multitasking capabilities.

  4. Adobe Photoshop – Adobe developed a version of Photoshop specifically for the Microsoft Surface Duo, taking advantage of the dual-screen and pen input capabilities. The app offers a unique interface that allows users to work on one screen while accessing tools, layers, and other options on the other screen, providing a seamless and productive editing experience.

  5. Z Fold App Continuity – Samsung’s Z Fold App Continuity showcases the potential of app continuity across different screen modes. With this feature, users can start an app on the cover screen when the device is folded and seamlessly transition to the larger unfolded screen when they open the device. This feature ensures a seamless and uninterrupted experience, preserving the app’s state and context.

These case studies demonstrate the successful adaptation of apps to the foldable form factor, taking advantage of multi-window support, app continuity, and adaptive layouts. By understanding the unique features of foldable devices and tailoring their apps to leverage these capabilities, developers can create engaging and immersive experiences that enhance productivity and user satisfaction.


Foldable devices represent the future of mobile technology, offering unique opportunities for app developers to create immersive, adaptive, and multitasking experiences. In this guide, we explored the key considerations and steps involved in developing apps for the future of foldable devices. We discussed the importance of understanding foldable devices and their capabilities, as well as the need to adapt app designs for foldable form factors. We explored the significance of screen continuity, multi-window support, aspect ratio, user interactions, and app continuity in creating compelling foldable apps. Furthermore, we provided a step-by-step approach to developing for foldable devices, including researching and familiarizing oneself with these devices, defining app goals and target audience, adapting app designs, implementing foldable device APIs and SDKs, and testing and optimizing for foldable devices. Embracing the fold is not just about adapting to new technology but also about reimagining how we interact with and utilize the expansive screens and multitasking capabilities that foldable devices offer. So, let’s seize the opportunities, push the boundaries, and embark on the exciting journey of developing apps for the future of foldable devices.


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