Three Tips for Multi-tasking on the BlackBerry PlayBook

TIPS & TRICKS / 05.31.11 / tywill1

Since I’ve been using my BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet for a while now, I wanted to highlight some tips to help you multi-task – because, let’s face it, the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is built for this! I’ll show you a nice tip for viewing notifications, switching to another song or changing settings on the fly, as well as my favorite gesture, full screen application switching. I’ll also share some insight into how you can customize the way your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet applications respond when you are switching between applications.

Grab your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet so you can try these tips out yourself, and let’s get started.

Peeking at the Status Bar

After becoming familiar with this gesture, I started to use it every time I pick up my BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. This feature allows you to quickly display the status bar while using another application, which means you can do things like lock your screen orientation or switch to another song – really handy!

All you need to do is swipe in from the top left or top right while using another application. To get back to your application, just tap the center of your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. For a visual overview, check out the screenshots below showing the before and after effects of using this feature.

Here’s what it looks like before:

And after swiping in from the top left or right while using another application, such as the browser – notice the status bar appears along the top:

Once you’ve finished making changes, tap the center of the screen to hide the status bar and return to your application or game.

Full Screen Application Switching

In addition to swiping up from the bottom bezel when using multiple applications and selecting the application you’d like to use from the home screen, you can also do full screen application switching. This means that if an application you want to switch to is already open and you are using another application, you can switch to the other application by swiping in from the left (or right bezel), then swiping left or right on the center of your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to cycle through the various applications you have opened. You can also close applications using this gesture by flicking up. In the following example, I captured a screenshot while my BlackBerry PlayBook tablet was changing applications from the browser to the help application:

Tip: To take a screenshot of your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, press both volume keys, and a screenshot will be taken and placed in your camera folder. However,this feature doesn’t work if you are using BlackBerry® Bridge™ and are using a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, so be sure turn off Bluetooth® before taking a screenshot if you are using BlackBerry Bridge.

Set the behaviour of your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet applications

By default, the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is designed to allow applications to stay active in the background, unless another application is full-screen. To do this, tap the Gear icon that appears on your home screen and select “General”. On this screen, you’ll be able to set your desired application behaviour from one of the following options:

  • Showcase – All open applications are active and never pause in the background.
  • Default – An application stays active in the background until another application goes full screen.
  • Paused – All applications are paused in the background and activated when tapped.

Switching the default setting to “Showcase” mode is a great way to show off the power of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet by having all applications active all the time. However, this can impact battery life if you forget that you are running an application in the background. You should be careful about keeping all your applications open when using this mode.

Do you have a good tip that you`d like to share? Leave a comment and let everyone know!

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