Despite the amount of power packed inside modern smartphones, one of the most annoying and time-consuming hindrance to my productivity always seems to be the task of switching apps. On my Galaxy S3, I have to click and hold on the main button to get the multitasking tray, then scroll through the list to find the app I want. And then sometimes I get frustrated when I notice that the app wasn’t open before, which means that I have to exit to my main homescreen, open the app drawer, and then find what I’m looking for.
I’ve tried dozens of quick app launchers/switchers before, from Wave Launcher to SwipePad, and eventually gave up on them because they were either too intruding, too slow, or they felt like they were designed for Froyo. Then I came across Swapps! and although I approached it with skepticism at first, I’m glad to say I found the perfect solution for fast app switching. Let me show you why.
Swapps! is a sidebar pad that pops up when you swipe your finger from a specific trigger area on your screen, regardless of the app you’re using. The pad is cleanly designed, transparent, and displays the icons alongside the name of each element.
Swapps! makes it easier to switch between Google+ and Twitter for example, and even kill some recent processes.
As seen in the screenshots above, the Swapps! pad is divided into 3 sections:
Starred: this is where you can manually add your most favorite apps or shortcuts. I’d suggest you reserve this to apps you know you will need access to immediately and without previous warning. A good example is putting the SoundHound ID Now shortcut there, because you never know when you’ll hear a good song and you don’t want to lose precious seconds trying to find SoundHound in your app drawer and then waiting for it to launch to click the Listen button.
Recently Used: a list of your most recently used apps. This helps you switch between apps quickly, without waiting for the multitasking screen to load or having to scroll through the huge thumbnails to find a recent app. Also, when clicking and holding on any of these apps, you get the option to stop their background process — a welcome addition when you need to stop a misbehaving app.
All Apps: as the name suggests, this is almost a second app drawer, with an alphabetical list of all your apps. You can quickly scroll, or drag a letter switcher to hop to W for Whatsapp for example.
Customizing the Starred section. You can pick any app, shortcut or even widget (only Unlocked version).
Swapps! is a very configurable app and the amount to which you can customize it depends on whether you decide to use the free version or pay $2.5 to unlock the full version.
In the free version of Swapps!, you can change a few general settings regarding haptic feedback and hiding the app’s status bar icon, as well as the amount of Starred and Recent apps. You can even prefer to show recent apps above the starred ones, or turn off the All Apps section completely. Also available are settings for the pad’s width, height, trigger position and animation.
Swapps! General settings and ActiveSpot (trigger area) settings.
When you buy the full version of Swapps!, you get rid of ads, but also unlock the ability to add widgets to the Starred section, remove the app names and thus reduce the pad to show the icons only, and you are allowed more customization options — namely, pad width, color and opacity, text color, and more animations.
Time to Swapps!
If you’ve been relying on the multitasking screen to switch between recent apps, or if you’re tired of going back to your homescreen or app drawer to launch your most-used apps or shortcuts, then I suggest you give Swapps! a try. It’s a fast, efficient and neat app switcher that combines a lot of useful features in a small package that will save you a lot of time.