Quick shot: Windows 10 Mobile's new one-handed split screen feature

Yesterday, Microsoft released build 10136 of Windows 10 Mobile to those on the Insider program. We'll be doing an in-depth look as soon as we get a moment we are at E3, after all. For now we want to show you the new one-handed feature in this build.

Starting in build 10136, Microsoft has put into a place a feature for phones with displays 5-inches or larger. By holding down the Start key, the whole display moves down to half the size, letting you navigate and interact with links or buttons with just your thumb. Once activated, the split position will hold but return to normal after a few seconds if no interaction is detected.

The feature works very well, although scrolling on the Start screen for now does not seem operable (likely early bug). The one-handed ability is particularly useful for using the Microsoft Edge browser, as you can now easily access the address bar. Indeed, Microsoft said they were exploring a solution to people's complaints about the address bar being at the top, and this may be it.

In terms of appearance, the feature looks okay but a little odd with the black background. Seems as if that space could use something extra, like a blur effect.

Microsoft is not the first company to do this display-resizing trick. On the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users can double tap the Home key to bring down the screen as well for one-handed usage. Likewise, Samsung (2013) and LG have also introduced their methods for one-handed usage on large phones. So if anything, Microsoft is just catching up to the competition.

Regardless, it is a great feature, and we cannot wait to make more use of it. What do you think of Microsoft's implementation? Let us know in comments.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Nice feature..... Like Asus & Apple's one handed feature.
  • well m havin hard time with a next to bricked 720 on build 10136 with lock screen showing without any notification and no response despite hard resets and swipe tries ;/ even reverting back is a damn download thing again to get phone back to working
  • You should've read the news bits yesterday, you essentially bricked it yourself for not waiting e.e They explicitly said that you'll need to wait a while during the migration process, the lock screen will be blank until its done, once you see the date and time THEN you can go on and use your phone.
  • yep m srry for my mistake for not reading article carefully . well is there any way to get it back to working ..?? :/ on w10 only 
  • Just restart (turn it off and on) your phone and wait. I got myself into this state after waiting everything is good :) No reflash, hard reset or other bad stuff required.  
  • My 1520 died everytime I tried to upgrade to win10, regardless which build. Stuck in the display with gears, and after some time, runs out of battery and reboot. I did charge it with my cable at the same time. Gotta roll back again and try again after fully charging the phone.
  • updating any OS without a full battery and an external power source is questionable.  Maybe you have an argument for delta updates but certainly not pre-release software...
  • It takes more than an hour to complete, make sure it is fully charged. However external power source wont help because while updating the charging module is turned off and it actually uses battery power only.
  • There was a big disclaimer about this in almost each article yesterday about the 10136 release. Please go back and read it. Your phone was not bricked but you might've messed it up now.
  • Not necessarily everyone follows WC daily.
  • But MAYBE it's a good idea to read the release notes of the potentially unstable preview build you're going to install, don't you think?
  • You think everyone has time for that..? There are folks using some other languages other than English. WC is not a priority for everyone here.
  • If you have time to install pre-release software you have time to both translate warning articles to English and find them in your own language. It's none other's fault but your own if you jump the gun.
  • Get my point or forget it. I don't have time for more argument.
  • ???? No... People SHOULD have time for that otherwise they'll blame MS for NOTHING.
  • It even was in the official Releaselog. If someone installs a preview-build without even reading the releaselog, it is just 100% his fault. Those people should better stay in the normal releasecycle and let the ones capable of proper reading and understanding basic instructions do the testing.
  • Where and when did the release log appear..??
    "Those people should.....do the testing." That's not a nice way of putting it, surely you're not some English professor yourself.
  • Well someone trying out buggy builds is likely to read WC daily...or at least the Microsoft blog which announced the build...:)
  • The release notes weren't just here.
  • Release notes or not, if in doubt, go onto the internets and find out why your phone is in stuck lockscreen mode.. don't just go and force it off or the like.. never do anything so dumb while you don't know if phone has finished.
  • I tried that, then i went back to daily :)
  • Microsoft claimed that the phone could end up in a 'Funky' state if you were impatient on the start screen updates
  • Sounds like someone didn't read the instruction to wait for the install to complete and went ahead and restarted his phone too soon.
  • Don't worry use WP recovery tool...
  • Yawn
  • Yep. Alternatively they might have stuck to pivots/three dots bottom right, but that was considered too functional and wildly unique in internal discussions.
  • well yes m srry for that to myself ..!:/
  • Tried the "emergency call" thingy? It was posted here yesterday.
  • well the screen is completely blank so i cant do any movement on it  now i have restarted it and kept it aside waiting so that the mess i have made may get sorted out ..!!!!
  • Oh, poor lad. :(
  • Or they can use the hamburger menus and try and get a consistent experience across all apps (because we all know that the ios and android ports are not going to follow the windows 10 design language properly).   The biggest problem with the hamburger button on windows phone is the fact that it can only be opened by clicking on the button. On android, you can swipe from the left and it would open the hamburger menu. This functionality was on par with the pivot menus for one handed use. I am still holding out hoping that microsoft will smooth out the experience before windows 10 goes live. The addition of this split screen one handed feature is evidence that they are actually trying.
  • ^^^^This^^^^
  • trying?  windows 8.1 is fantastic windows 10 is more of a apeasal for android and iphone users that havent even tried windows 8.1, either way 8.1 to me is the best ever os on a phone and windows 10m is starting to look ok too.  Shame more people didnt buy 8.1 phones caus ethat was just so refreshing.   For them to get a smooth experiencve i think thell need longer than september, im guessing end of yoear and i too hope theyll get there and take their time to ensure it all works well. You make a very good point aboutr android swiping to get menu, personally id love to see the old piviting menus there and the  Tiled alternative as a extra for all those iphone and andropid newbies.
  • Exactly!! If Microsoft wanna copy others, copy properly!! Why only the top burger menu without the swipe in gesture?? So typical of Microsoft. And now this one hand usage feature. At least MS can use the blank space for something else, instead of just displaying it blank totally. Perhaps pull down the notification center as well in the same time. Somehow, I feel MS is losing its direction for phones.... If this keeps on, Windows Phone will be a history in no time.
  • MS announces a new feature... You post that they're losing direction. MS simply cannot do anything right /s
  • All new features are good?   Somebody's forgetting Clippy...
  • They've created a problem that didn't exist by moving functions to the upper left. Now they implement an awkward solution to the problem they created. And why did they choose to take the choice of using this feature away from people who have devices with a screen smaller than 5 inches. That makes no sense either. I would want it on my 4.5 inch device. Sounds like more of the same boneheaded decisions that made many people not want to move to desktop 8.0
  • I agree, they should have it on all devices. 925 with a 4.5 inch screen is still almost impossible to reach top corner unless using two hands
  • I'm with you on this. Move the navigation back to the bottom and drop this useless feature.
  • iPhone 6 can do it as well. Not just the 6 Plus.
  • Do those come with reading glasses? Read the post first, then make a comment.
  • Well mister, it is you who read the article late. There was a typo earlier and I double checked before posting the update.
  • I am about to cry for real. Microsoft and Gabe screwed the hell out of me! I didn't update to W10 earlier and was on 8.1 update 2, and today I decided that build 10136 is good enough for my 1520. I eventually updated and tadaaaa! Build 10080 is what I got!!!! Damn it Microsoft, is it that hard to tell us what's the fucking pending build before it downloads?! Now I have to revert back to 8.1 and lose all my data because the fucking backup function never worked for me!
  • I feel you bro.
  • *feel
  • "Damn it Microsoft, is it that hard to tell us what's the fucking pending build before it downloads?! Now I have to revert back to 8.1 and lose all my data because the fucking backup function never worked for me!"
    Quit whining, you're obviously not ready enough for beta testing. Man up or step away.
  • @Daniel
    I understand that going beta has its risks, but man how could they screw me like that? What would it take them to just notify the user what is he about to download? I had 10080 installed on my secondary device earlier, and it bugged the hell out of me that I chose to skip it for my daily driver and kept it for feedback only. Now just when I decided to download 10136 on my 1520 it gives me the finger and gets 10080 instead. I did everything that is required, but that is not enough it seems. It is too damn hard to add a "This is fucking 10080 you're about to download!" before it starts downloading, right?
  • It DOES notifiy you. Just check the damn buildnumber when it starts downloading.
  • The build numbers bear no relation to the published update number. I'm in the same position. But I didn't moan :¬)
  • Yes they do. It was announced they would fix this and they did. New Build is displayed as 10.0.10136.0 on the phone and before downloading the update ;)
  • Build number and OS Version Number are two different things. My 635 OS version is on 10.0.12562.84 as of last night. So by that logic I'm on build 12562... No such thing. Build number and OS version number under 'About' have no relation.
  • You are going are wrong with that knowledge.
  • It actually said that there is an update 10.0.12634 which is not the proper OS number, so I wasn't sure what I actually install. Also you need to go back to 8.1 Update 1, this build is available only to for it! With Update 2 you will end up with 10080.
  • Wow recently you have a really bad attitude to some users on this site. Telling people to "man up or step away", is completely out of order. If you cannot stand people complaining on an internet site, then don't write for that internet site and find another "occupation".
  • How does Daniel have a bad attitude? Users on this website seem to do things such as upgrade to a BETA operating system and expect everythng to work. When things dont, they flood the comments of articles when most of the time, the article has no relation to their problem and it is ANNOYING. Microsoft have REPEATEDLY said to contact them on twitter and use the Feedback apps regarding your problems. Daniel is human, Not the Watson developed by IBM. Hes been professional to me with my exchanges with him and i enjoy his writing style. Maybe if People who are illiterate and dont know what they are doing step away from any of this and stop acting so entitled
  • His complaint is valid though, complaining here perhaps not, but he's hardly the only one as even the writers / editors of the site do it.
  • Dear non-respected Jason, First of all, the person you're calling illiterate (me) has a bachelors degree in Mechatronics engineering (I finished it having the fourth highest GPA), and I am currently doing my masters of computer science in Germany. Secondly, I have had a Windows Phone since my HD2, which also had Windows mobile originally, and WP7 was hacked to it.
    I have owned an HTC Titan, and I also managed to interop-unlock it, downloaded so many roms on it and I still actually have both of them.
    I have had my share in experimentation when it comes to software and smart phones, I have had multiple Android phones ranging from xperias to HTCs, etc..
    Matter of fact, I have been on technical preview since day one on my secondary device (Lumia 635 which was bought for the sake of experimentation and to help Microsoft out). This problem that hit my 1520 has nothing to do with this being a BETA software. Third, I DID contact Microsoft on Twitter about this problem, sent them feedback, as well. Fourth, your comment is the one that is annoying, because mine wasn't directed at the intelligent you (non), rather at people who care for feedback and want to know what might hit them from the first second! Fifth, this article is related, because it's about this new build, and people care to know all about this new upgrade. Sixth, backup not working on any Windows Phone device (for me at least), and not notifying users about the correct build number they are about to download has nothing to do with the technical preview or the software being a BETA, because they are an 8.1 problems, not 10! Seventh, who gave you the right of calling people names and start assuming stuff about others you don't know? With no regards to your person,
  • Non respected Jason?
    According to who..... you? Someone who doesnt even know how to follow instructions from Gabe and the writers of WPCentral. Trust me, i wouldnt even call that an insult. Have you ever heard the saying "two wrongs dont make a right" Did i at all question or ask what level of education you have passed? No? I thought so. I understand you must have low self esteem issues and need every oportunity to state how smart you are but it is just sad. And yes, you are illiterate on this matter. Gabe clearly stated in a tweet that if you were on the fast ring before 10080 was pulled, 10080 was what you will be getting. I, for instance, reverted back to 8.1 and only registered for fast ring AFTER they had removed 10080 and what do you know? Im on 10136. And unlike you, i place all my crtisisms using the feedback app. And as for your original comment, there was not one word or sentence of it that made it a comment that would help anyone. It was purely a complain about microsoft making you want to cry. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • While you call others illiterate, correct your punctuation first. Capital 'I' is a topic you should divulge into. And it's Windows Central now not WPCentral.
  • Dude... You do not start a sentence with 'And'.
  • Lol
  • Did you check the internet real illiterate..? http://www.dailywritingtips.com/can-you-start-sentences-with-80%9can...
  • Others? Only this one user. I called him illiterate on the topic of Beta builds and bugs.... not his grammar. Oh i know all about the Capital I. I just dont seem to care about my punctuation much when im not writing anything formal because you know... i have a life. If that is really the only thing you can say to me then that is pretty petty... dont you think?
  • So according to your odd and stupid theory----
    Folks who write something formal don't have a life..?
    Wanted to say more about your 'not required' defense for Daniel, but someone else had already owned you.
  • I am illiterate?
    According to who.... you? Someone who is just a pain in the ass that jumps in at every complaint comment to complain about complainers?
    Unlike you, I have a life, and that is not on Twitter, nor on WINDOWS Central, so not every bit of info can be read. But Microsoft should give more info on the place its needed, not on Twitter, not on WINDOWS Central. In Windows 10 they give full details and description for every freaking 100 KB update, but in W10 mobile it's just hard!
    And no my... you're not my friend lol, it's not low self esteem, more of arrogance on people like yourself :)
  • Nice one there.
  • He sure doesn't respond well. Don't know if you're new here, but am seeing him from a long time like that. Sure his responses are humorous, though professional even to me he's not always kind.
  • Look at who's grammar is incorrect now. You dont use but after a comma ;)
  • I won't refrain myself from calling you illiterate now---- http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/28277/using-a-comma-before-but
  • Beta testing doesn't need someone to man up I think, it's not really hard a task. Your anger is justified but not your way of conveying the message.
    Plus, everyone doesn't have a chain of devices like you do, and have other priorities/work than downloading or installing unknown updates and then hard resetting their devices. You do this as it is your job, but most of the readers take out their precious time to support Microsoft.
  • If you don't have a few spare device to beta test then don't do it - MS already told you so.  If you didn't RTFM and complain about problems you face on the way, nobody will act nicely to you. So I'm echoing Daniel, man up or walk away from beta testing.  You want to beta test but not bare the risk then you are doing it totally wrong.
  • I have more than two FYKI. Microsoft should make the numbers less complicated. And acting nicely/responding, well it depends from person to person. Echo whomever you want to. And I don't see this type of enthusiasm cum rage against OTC or racist on the same website.
  • @Daniel Rubino Actually he is somehow right. is not that hard to edit that stupid generic description of the update to include the build number too.
  • Omg ... The same would hapen with me as I am aso at the same situation ... As I m on w8.1 update 2 and fast ring update is opting for me to download m. By now as u have specified that I would be geting the build 10080 as per ur concerned .. So I think I need not to go for the update as I so I would losse all my stuffs pf around 26 gb in waste .. Totaly upset dude...
  • Just update when they fix it in a week or two.
  • I have lumia 520 and I have installed build 10080 do I have to rollback to 8.1 with wprt ?can you please tell me what I have to do to get build 10036 or I have to wait for a bit longer is there any way you get the 10036 build without any rollback? Is rollback is necessary any help sean thankyou  
  • Why?  This is preview/beta/etc software?  It's like someone doesn't back-up their machine, the hard derive fails, then they complain that they've lost data.   It's frustrating to read comments like yours. I have a 1520 as my main phone and am i going to install Windows 10?  NO as it's my main phone and I need it to work.