Overview Screen- Amending it to boost Android app performance

Overview Screen- Amending it to boost Android app performance

Enhancing the app’s overall performance has been one of the major concerns of every Android app developer. Although there are ample number of techniques that enable you to boost the usability and significance of your Android application, making some major tweaks to the Overview Screen has been a trust-worthy means for polishing the quality of an Android application.

This blog will focus on making you familiar with all the ins and outs related to amending the Overview Screen in an Android application.

What exactly is the Overview Screen?

Overview screen, also called the recents screen, recent apps screen or the recent task list is basically a system-level UI(user interface) that lists all the recently accessed tasks and activities.

It is via this Overview Screen that the app user can easily navigate through the list, select a particular task or remove specific tasks by simply swiping his/her finger away.

Overview Screen – What was it like before the release of Android Lollipop and what is it today?Overview Screen- Amending it to boost Android app performance


It was way before the release of Android Lollipop, that the Overview Screen could not be configured without making a fuss. Details listed via the Overview Screen UI mainly comprised of a launcher icon, an applicable label as well as plain screen shot of the user’s last activity on the respective Android application.

Now that Android operating system’s Lollipop version is out, Android app developers have found an easy access to a more sleek and perfectly styled Overview Screen that comes loaded with an innovative API that enables them to customize the title, icon and bar color used within the Android application’s Overview Screen.

And that’s not all. With the all-new Android Lollipop release, all the multiple instances belonging to a particular activity and containing varied documents now appear as specific tasks on the Android Overview Screen.

Avoid using XML for styling the Overview Screen

While ditching the default styling option of using XML, you can instead opt for having an individual overview icon that would look awesome even with a very small size and on a primaryColour background.

Firstly, you can start off by making some minor changes to your AndroidManifest.xml file. For code snippet that’s involved with this, you can refer Google and a variety of other resources.

You can make the below mentioned changes to your styles.xml file:



<style name=”Themeapp” parent=”@style/Theme.AppCompat.Light.DarkActionBar”>

<item name=”Primarycolor”>#87125</item>

<item name=”PrimaryDarkcolor”>#765b01</item>

<item name=”Accentcolor”>#e9fm12</item>




A brief on overriding Overview Card Style in Code

Overview Screen- Amending it to boost Android app performance

The brand new Android OS version named Lollipop has offered the app developers an amazing flexibility to set the TaskDescription on a specific app activity during the run time. Well, this actually results into overriding of the icon, color and label of the yet-to-be-worked-on Overview Screen card. For example, the TaskDescription is purely based on the app’s activity and any other activities that may tend to pile on won’t affect the Overview Card’s styling.

The code associated with overriding the Overview Card style uses a three-parameter version of the TaskDescription constructor i.e. ActivityManager.TaskDescription(String label, Bitmap icon, int colorPrimary) which works as the perfect tool for creating a TaskDescription instance.

You can choose to avoid all the other TaskDescription constructors as they’ll be all ignoring colorPrimary. Since Activity.setTaskDescription() method is currently just available in API 21 i.e. Android L(Lollipop), if you’re inclined on making it support a range of older Android devices then it becomes mandatory for you to safeguard your TaskDescription code using an API level check.

Changing Overview Screen Task Title Background Color

Android 5.0 Lollipop version comes equipped with an Overview Screen that includes an App task with a grey colored title bar. You can opt for modifying the color of the Overview Screen title background.

For example, if you’re purely targeting Android apps designed using Material design then you must set the colorPrimaryDark(status bar), colorPrimary(action bar, recents) and the colorAccent(check boxes, progress bars etc.) within your Android application’s default theme.

You can use the below mentioned code snippet for dynamically changing the recents color to something that suits your preferences:

TaskDescription taskDesc = new TaskDescription(myTitle, myIcon, myColor);


Wrapping it all up!

With the Overview Screen being one of the most crucial aspects of an Android application, it is befitting for you to pay special attention to the tweaks that you can perform for the same.

By making accurate moderations in terms of background color, style etc, you can efficiently improve the usability and visual essence of your Android application.

This article was written by a guest author. Here’s She:

Victoria Brinsley

Victoria Brinsley is a professional Android developer for Appsted Ltd – an Android development company in India. In case you are willing to avail mobile app developers, just get in touch with her for best suggestions.

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