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I'm using a Using Samsung Galaxy S7, Android 6.0.1. and I'm having trouble using apps in parallel. Here's what triggered this post:

I got myself and iRig2 to practice playing guitar silently, downloaded AmpliTube, plugged in the guitar and it worked, I could hear my guitar back and apply effects, change amps, etc..

On to the next step, to play over backing tracks. IK Multimedia advises to use apps like Riff Maestro with AmpliTube running in the background. And this is precisely my problem, I can't get AmpliTube to keep running on the background!

Here's what I tried so far:

Test 1:

  • open AmpliTube (app), plug in the guitar and check it's working. If it is:
  • press home button
  • open Riff Maestro (app)
  • as soon as I click the home button, AmpliTube stops sending guitar sound out

Test 2:

  • open AmpliTube (app), plug in the guitar and check it's working. If it is:
  • press the home button (AmpliTube stops sending sound out, as per Test 1)
  • open Riff Maestro (app)
  • press the "Recent applications" button
  • swap to AmpliTube, it starts sending guitar sound again
  • press the "Recent applications" button again to swap for Riff Maestro
  • AmpliTube stops sending sound again

I tried splitting the screen but none of the apps supports split screen.

The question is, how can I get 2 apps (in this case AmpliTube and Riff Maestro) working simultaneously so I can hear my guitar on AmpliTube AND play a back track on Riff Maestro?

Many thanks in advance!

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That's a really good question! Thank you for asking it though.

On Android Programming, There is something we call, Activities LifeCycle Imagine, when you pressed the home Button, The current Activity is going to onPause() method which it stops the Activity and it's not longer active because this is the Android Activity's lifecycle.

So, for better underestanding, The developer or those Application's programmers have to use something like Services which it can perform long-running operations in the background and does not provide a user interface.

And after that, you should be able to use those features together.

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  • Hi there, thank you for your reply. Is there a way to make apps that don't run as services to run as services? – Dinis Mar 29 '16 at 10:07
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    AFAIK, There is no way yet except changing the codes and adding them into Services on java codes. – ʍѳђઽ૯ท Mar 29 '16 at 13:15
  • AFAIK, thank you for your answers, truly appreciated. One final question from my side. I saw a few apps suck as Multitasking or Multi Window that seem to run apps in parallel. Is there an app that can have the same functionality for custom apps like AmpliTube or Riff Maestro? – Dinis Mar 29 '16 at 13:31
  • Sorry, never heard of it.But it depends on the applications.For example, if you are listening to a music with music player on android and you press the back button, the music is still listenable that's because those codes which do the play is in the background (Using Services maybe) and it doesn't have a problem with Activity's lifecycle and nothing to worry about the Activity's State.**AFAIK, there is no way yet**, And don't have any information about those custom apps. – ʍѳђઽ૯ท Mar 29 '16 at 15:18
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tl;dr

  • Get a device with multi-window support. Recent Samsung devices have this feature. The upcoming Android 'N' will support this as well.
  • Use apps that run in the background, or use apps that work with the above multi-window support (and if the two you want to use don't do either, you're SOL)

Long explanation

Android traditionally only allows one foreground app to be displayed at a time.

But apps (if the developer of the app chooses) can run in the background, as long as a UI is not required. For example, a music app playing music but leaving only a notification as a UI.

There is a special permission to allow some apps to 'paint' on top of the current foreground with their UI, but those are rare, and again, require the developer to enable and use the feature. Most don't use that unless they are trying to make some always-on-top widget UI, like a 'most recent contacts' widget that Samsung uses for example.

Some devices customize the Android OS code and do allow for multiple apps to run side by side. For example, most Samsung devices running Android 5+ allow for multiple apps to run side-by-side, but it depends on a few things outside your control for them to really work together. Among them, for example, if they are audio apps, they both need to support not requesting exclusive audio access; otherwise one will mute (or at least 'duck') the other.

The upcoming Android 'N' version is going to support multiple app 'windows' a little better than the Samsung hack, but it is still in Preview (at this time) and therefore not on any production device for you to use. They will still probably have the same limitations that the two apps may or may not work together, depending on the apps.

All that to say, it is possible for multiple apps to work side-by-side together, but it is rare and there isn't much you, as a consumer, can do about it for now. The best you can do is try a recent Samsung device or wait for Android 'N', while hunting for apps by trial and error that happen to work together like this. But there are no guarantees since it is such a new feature in the Android ecosystem.

In this particular case, since you say you've tried the screen-splitting feature with the two apps, your only solution is to petition the app developers to support this behavior. It is up to those two developers to change their code to enable background audio and/or UI support, or to work with the new split window features better.

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