Make apps go full screen on the Galaxy Tab

Samsung MENA made me one of the 20 Galaxy Tab Ambassadors in the Middle East and North African region and with that, they provided a Galaxy Tab unit for me to promote… and play with! But things don’t always go smoothly and as I learned the hard way, some applications just don’t show up right in the Galaxy Tab’s beautiful but unusually large screen – in Android standards, that is.

Unblock Me Free on the Samsung Galaxy Tab

This is a screenshot of Unblock Me Free running on my Samsung Galaxy Tab. Notice the black letterbox around the game. It just doesn't scale well to the Galaxy Tab's high resolution screen.

The Galaxy Tab’s screen size makes some apps that were not designed to scale in different screen sizes go into some sort of compatibility mode. This makes the app smaller than it should be on the screen. This can be quite annoying and, for some, disappointing.

Thankfully there’s a way to fix that. Enter Spare Parts!

Before we start let me mention that not all apps will work with Spare Parts. Some will even become smaller for some odd reason. Most of the apps that won’t work are games though. Normal apps seem to scale fine.

Spare Parts is an app that enable us to edit specific settings in Android phones and devices that are normally not exposed to users. For scaling applications to use the screen estate in a much more efficient manner, we only need to look at one of the settings called Compatibility Mode. To make it work we must do the following:

  1. Download the Spare Parts app from the Android Market. If you have installed a barcode scanner app on your Galaxy Tab, run it and scan this QR code instead: Spare Parts app QR codeIf you don’t have a barcode scanner, I recommend that you you download this one. I personally use this app. It’s simple and it works well in the Galaxy Tab.
  2. Launch the app. Notice how it doesn’t fit the screen as well which is quite funny if you ask me.
  3. Scroll down and look for Compatibility Mode. Tap the check box and make sure it’s checked.
  4. Reboot/restart your Galaxy Tab.
  5. Once the device has restarted head back to Spare Parts and uncheck Compatibility Mode.
  6. Reboot/restart again.
  7. Try an app that used to not fit the screen well before. If the app is compatible it will greet you in full screen! If it’s a game, tap around to make sure that the objects or elements respond to your touch. For example, the game Unblock Me seemed to scale well but I couldn’t use the menu well or move the blocks properly or at all.
  8. Enjoy!

I’ve had success with some games such as Blow Up and game emulators like Tiger NES and PSX4Droid. I’ll try more apps and games and maybe I can make another post about which ones works well with the Spare Parts fix.

I hope the instructions are clear enough. I’ll make a video when I have time and I’ll just update this post accordingly. If you find this helpful please post your experiences with it in the comments and let me know which apps works and which doesn’t. Doing so will help others too. 🙂

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