What is app pinning on Android and how do you set it up?

What is app pinning on Android and how do you set it up?

Woman sending text messages on Android.

Uwe Krejci/Getty Images

It’s a feature that’s been around with Android for a while, and it’s one you’ve probably never used, let alone heard of. The feature is called App pinning, and it can actually come in handy at times.

First, what is app pinning? A pinned app is pinned to your home screen. While pinned, you cannot access other apps and the pinned app takes over the entire screen. Sounds interesting, but why would you ever need to use such a function?

Let me present a rather obvious scenario.

Say, for example, you have a particular app you use. However, due to how you have to carry the device while using the app, you sometimes find yourself accidentally dismissing the app, pulling down the notification screen, or opening another app instead. If that sounds like a situation you could ever find yourself in, a pinned app is just the thing to get around the problem. Once you’ve pinned that app, it doesn’t matter how you hold the device. Unless you unpin the app, it’s not going anywhere.

If that sounds like something you might want to take advantage of, see how to set it up and use it.

What is app pinning on Android and how do you set it up?


All you need is an Android phone. Since this feature has been around for a while, the version of Android you’re using will most likely support pinned apps.

When you unlock your Android device, open the app you want to pin to your home screen.

With the app open, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Overview, where you can swipe through and select from the apps that are currently open. Select the one to attach.

Overview of the Android application.

Find the app to pin from the Overview.

Photo: Jack Wallen

While still in the overview, you should see an icon for the app above the preview. Tap that icon to display the drop-down menu.

The Overview drop-down menu.

The Pin menu entry can be found in the Overview drop-down menu.

Photo: Jack Wallen

Tap the Pin entry to pin the app to your home screen. Once pinned, the app will take over the entire screen and won’t budge until you unpin it.

How to unzip apps on Android

This is where it gets a little tricky. The steps to unpin an app are quickly and clearly laid out when you pin an app. Android asks you to swipe up and hold. What it doesn’t tell you is where to swipe and how long to hold. It doesn’t tell you either (at least with Pixel 7 Pro) that the gesture to release the app will also lock the phone. It is only after you have unlocked the Pixel 7 Pro that the app is unlocked.

Yes, it’s a strange result, but it works every time.

While the release action isn’t nearly as seamless as it should be, the feature itself can be very useful. I have used it on a couple of occasions and was always quite happy that it was available. So if you ever find yourself in a situation where your Android app needs to stay on the home screen at all times, app pinning is the feature you need.

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