Google has announced the release of the first developer preview for Android 11, the earliest preview release of any Android version yet. Since the timeline of the release isn’t that far off from Android 10’s rollout, there aren’t many front-facing feature updates to Android 11. We won’t recommend you install Android 11 right now, but here are some of the top features that have been found from Android 11 so far.
- Bubbles for messaging
- Finally…a native screen recorder
- Pinning apps to share menu
- Media controls move into Quick settings
- One-time permission
- Scheduled Dark mode
- Airplane mode no longer disconnects Bluetooth devices
- Notification history and a new layout for Notification log
- New Additions
Bubbles for messaging
It was believed that Google will bring Facebook-like chat heads to all messaging apps with Android 10. Bubbles, as they’re called, are now available in Android 11’s first developer preview with a UI that lets you keep several conversations accessible through a bubble. This bubble will be available on any screen so that you can access it from any app and could benefit messaging apps like WhatsApp, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and more.
Finally…a native screen recorder
While we expected this to come bundled with Android 10, a native screen recorder inside Android is a prospected feature in Android 11 as well. We just hope that Google sticks with the initial plan and keep the feature intact until the stable release. With a screen recorder present natively, we no longer have to worry about using a third-party in fear of compromising your data.
The native screen recording feature will be available inside Quick settings, tapping which you’ll be warned that the system will now have access to the entire screen. You can start recording by tapping Start now at which point a red-colored icon will pop up at the status bar.
Android 10 revamped the way you interact with the Share menu and now with Android 11, you can pin the apps that you share the most to the Share menu. This feature will be present in apps that use Android’s native share screen but we can’t say the same about individual share menu inside apps like Google Photos.
You can pin up to 4 apps by long-pressing on an app and tapping Pin; and once you do, the apps that you pinned will pop up first in the share menu. This way you can avoid scrolling through your endless list of apps when sharing something from your phone.
Media controls move into Quick settings
For long, media playback control has been present inside the Notification shade on Android. With priority now given to conversations inside the notifications tray, Google is now about to opt media controls inside the Quick settings area.
When audio is played, the new UI will make sure that the controls to media move to the Quick Settings page. Swiping down once from the top will reveal your Quick Settings tiles as well as the new media control widget. When Quick Settings is fully opened, this media control option is pushed to the bottom portion of the Quick settings page. When media isn’t playing, this option fades away from Quick settings and the option is expected to work with Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora, and more apps.
While we appreciate new features on Android, we’d be happier if the data in our Android device was secure. Last year, Google updated its permissions manager by adding a new “Allow only while in use” access to your apps. The company is now expanding its focus on privacy by bringing one-time permission to Android 11.
With one-time permission, you can now grant an app access to your location, microphone, or camera for only a single time and the moment you move away from the app, the enabled permission will be toggled off. To enable one-time permission in an app, you’ll have to select the “Only this time” option to let the app access to the selected permission this one time.
Scheduled Dark mode
Android 9 brought glimpses of dark mode while Android 10 polished it out. With Android 11, Google is offering a way to schedule the dark theme to turn on and off at certain times during the day.
The feature allows you to set automatic dark mode scheduling at sunrise or sunset or you can set a custom time at which you might way to run on and turn off dark mode.
Airplane mode no longer disconnects Bluetooth devices
We all use Airplane mode from time to time, especially at night but one thing we all hate is when our Bluetooth devices are connected to our phones and switching on Airplane mode disconnects you from networks and Bluetooth devices as well.
With Android 11, you will no longer need to worry about losing connection to your Bluetooth headphones with Airplane mode. You will now be able to leave Bluetooth turned on when enabling airplane mode.
Notification history and a new layout for Notification log
For a long time now, there has been a hidden feature inside Android called Notification log. With Android 11, this section is getting a visual revamp with more content from past notifications, padding between two notifications, and the addition of the app name at the top of each notification.
Inside Notification log, there’s also a toggle to turn ON Notification history. Notification history will show notifications precisely the way they popped up in your Notifications shade under two sections – Recently dismissed and notifications for a certain date.
In the previous section, we took you through the features that set Android 11 apart. Here, we’ll give you a rundown of the features that Google’s been adding with each Developer Preview and Beta rollouts.
Android 11 Developer Preview 2 (March 18th)
Eyes open while unlocking
The Pixel 4 devices have finally gotten a toggle that’d require the user to keep their eyes open while using Face Unlock. You’ll need to go to Face Unlock settings to access the newly-added toggle.
New notification shade UI
Google has been working quite extensively on the notification shade UI this time around, and the Developer Preview 2 only pushes effort forward. The spacing between notification cards has been increased, arguably to improve readability. It may not look attractive at first but, it does give the devices a more easy-going look.
Hide silent notifications
Silent notifications or passive notifications may not draw your attention, but it still eats up a bit of your status bar real estate. Now, you have the option to make sure it doesn’t. Simply head over to Notifications — under settings — to hide silent notifications. They’d still live in your notification shade, but you’d at least get a cleaner status bar.
New screen recorder UI
As you’ve already discovered, Android 11 comes with a native screen recorder. Developer Preview 2 polishes the highly-anticipated feature by giving you the option to show on-screen touches, record through your microphone, and introducing a pre-recording timer. The overall stability has also been improved.
Notification history shortcut
If you’re one of those people who swipe away important notifications and then have a hard time recalling them, this one’s bound to put a smile on your face. By tapping on the new History shortcut under the notification shade, you can see all your previous notifications — with time — under one little subsection.
Android 11 Developer Preview 2 brings an option to mark your notifications as important. After marking as important — press and hold a notification — notifications from that source will pop up at the top of your notification shade. You’ll also get a separate notification icon on your status bar.
New styles and wallpapers have been added under Pixel themes. However, you’ll only get one clock preset for your lock screen.
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Do you like these new features from Android 11? Which one of these do you think is the best feature to come to the next version of Android? Let us know in the comments below.