Android show scaling has been a controversial subject within the Chromebook group because the removing 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 workarounds to extend Android app scaling, however these strategies do not work anymore. Folks have complained about it within the Chromebook group boards and have been submitting bugs, and, to be trustworthy, I can not blame them. Google is now testing a brand new system referred to as “uniform scaling” within the Chrome OS Beta and Dev channel to sort out the issue with tiny Android purposes, nevertheless it’s crammed 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 group boards. It scales Android apps to be 25% bigger to develop into 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 correct transfer, particularly from an accessibility standpoint, the change causes its personal points, resembling making apps seem too massive and slicing off content material. There’s additionally one reasonably obtrusive unanticipated consequence.

Final evening, I attempted to compensate for homework utilizing Squid, a preferred note-taking app discovered on the Google Play Retailer. I began to write down, and I seen that my writing began to maneuver away from my digital pen. That is bizarre, I believed. 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 situation, and it exhibited the identical downside. Have a look:


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 really is. I’ve to be actively compensating for the misalignment to attract accurately, which is a big annoyance (particularly when drawing faces).


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

Squid is impacted considerably greater than the Ideas app. The ink initially trails my drawing pen till I elevate it, shifting the entire stroke to the underside proper. This makes drawing unattainable since I’ve to foretell the place the ink goes to finish up.

A few of you is likely to be questioning why I am making a giant fuss about it if the issue would 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 numerous time for the problem to be fastened earlier than the anticipated launch of Chrome OS 86 steady (until Google delays it, which does occur). Fans and internet 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 accurately on Android apps once more, you will should powerwash (or manufacturing unit reset) your Chromebook to modify again to the steady channel, which erases all your information saved in your Chromebook. I am not the one one working into this downside both — individuals have messaged me saying they will not handwrite notes or draw on Android apps, which destroyed their workflow. Here is what sucks about this: there is no such thing as a approach 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 that 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 to launch the hidden show settings.
  3. Click on on the “Superior” button, then click on “Show dimension.”
  4. Shrink the show dimension 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. You need to do steps #2-Four each time you sign off or restart your Chromebook.

Workaround #2

If you might want to annotate or draw on Android apps, this workaround will assist get the pen’s inking centered. You may have to ADB into the Android subsystem and alter Android’s show density utilizing just a few instructions.

This workaround requires enabling ADB debugging, which lets you set up apps not verified by Google. Android Police and Google should not accountable for damages brought on by sideloading dangerous apps. Disabling this function would require a powerwash.
  1. If you have already got Linux put in in your Chromebook, it’s possible you’ll 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 underneath “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 gadgets.
  5. You need to see a tool referred to as “emulator-####.” Word that the “” will range relying in your gadget. Copy it.
  6. ADB into the Android subsystem: adb -s emulator-#### shell.
  7. Should you did these steps accurately, 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.


If carried out accurately, 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 observe your drawing pen. I like to recommend reverting the density setting again to default if you’re completed drawing: wm density reset.

I hope the builders at Google will repair the bugs brought on by 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 rapidly repair the problem earlier than it reaches the steady channel.


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