Sticky open and Forced Timeout

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New in v1.33: Sticky open apps on Android Wear

How many times has this happened to you? You open an app (google-keep, calculator etc.) → it stays on screen for a while, but then the screen dims and the regular watch face appears. You un-dim the screen, and now you have to switch back to the app by reopening it. Some apps keep the screen on, but that can be dangerous too, because of battery drain, if you forget to exit the app.

The revolutionary  “Sticky Open” mode in Bubble Cloud Launcher offers a very intuitive solution: double tap an app bubble to open it, and also keep it on screen until it’s not needed any more. The screen is allowed to dim, and when dimmed, the regular watch face will be displayed, but as soon as the screen is turned on again (by touch or by gesture) you will automatically be taken back to the stickied app.

While an app is stickied, a tiny lock symbol and the current time will be displayed on the top of the screen. Long press this area to turn off sticky mode. Opening the Bubble Cloud will also disable sticky mode. You can also swipe away the stickied app to access your watch face or notifications, but the app will return the next time the screen dims and un-dims.

Sticky mode is optional, you can disable it under “More options” in the handheld Bubble Cloud app.  When enabled, the Bubble cloud will not immediately slide off the screen when you tap a bubble, instead it will wait a moment to allow a second tap. This does not cause any delay in opening apps: Bubble Cloud already starts to load the selected app after the first tap.

Disclaimer: In the non-premium version of the Bubble Cloud Launcher, an upgrade reminder is displayed sometimes before opening apps. Sticky mode is activated only when this reminder screen does not appear.

Exit sticky

You can exit sticky open mode by long pressing the tiny time/lock at the top of the screen.

Auto sticky

You can even set apps to be always opened in sticky mode!  It’s one of the settings in the bubble edit screen (which you can access by long pressing the bubbles):
image.png image.png
I like to keep the Calculator open like this when I am in the store. Or the “Roll the dice” app during board games. You can turn off the double tap to open apps in sticky mode under the “More options” (Expert) settings:
Right next to it you can also increase the size of the sticky open tab
Note: even if you turn off the 2x tap to activate sticky open, you can still have apps configured to always open in sticky mode.

Forced timeout

See also Forced timeout mode → save your watch from accidental battery drain by forcing apps to exit even if they are programmed to keep the screen on infinitely.

It’s the other setting in the bubble edit screen beside Sticky open. You can access Bubble Edit screen by long pressing the bubbles:
If Forced timeout is enabled for an app, Bubble Cloud will prompt you whether you want to keep the app running after 20 seconds. If you decide to keep the app on screen after 20 seconds, the next prompt will come after 30 seconds, then 60 seconds.
If you don’t tap the top of the screen when prompted, the watch will switch back to the watch face.

Forced timeout + Sticky open

You can combine Sticky open and Force timeout to make sure the app doesn’t keep running, but it will be brought back to the foreground as soon as you wake the watch the next time (by touch, button press, or tilt if enabled).

Enable overlay

Bubble Cloud cannot detect double taps if the overlay option is disabled. You can still use Auto-sticky mode (“Always sticky open”) as long as the app has the permission to draw over other apps.

(Overlays are necessary to show the little tab (with the red/blue locks) on the top of the screen while an app is pinned, which allows you to also exit sticky mode or extend force-timeout. As soon as you tap on a bubble, the app starts to open in the background but if double-tap detection is enabled, the overlay is kept for a fraction of a second to catch a second tap. If overlays are disabled the app would have to delay the opening of apps).

Simply enable the option “Use overlay” under expert settings.


Double tap for sticky open doesn’t work directly from the tile. Workarounds:

  • tap the 3-dot to open the app drawer and double tap on the bubble there
  • enable auto-sticky for the bubble you want to open in sticky mode: Sticky open and Forced Timeout

Video demo

Sticky open demoed from 6:01

Author: greg

the dev