Android 11: The Top Features You Need to Know

Android 11, an operating system that was first announced in February 2020, is finally live. After months of beta testing, Google has finally made the new iteration of Android OS official. In a blog post published on 8th September, the company announced the release of the completed operating system, which is now available for compatible Pixel phones and also for selected smartphones from OPPO, Realme, OnePlus, and Xiaomi. While there’s much you need to know about the new Android 11 OS, here we will be listing down the most exciting features of the new operating system so you can understand what to expect from the latest update.

1) Built-in screen recording

Now with Android 11, users can natively record their screens, whether it is to capture your favorite gaming moments or you need to record a tutorial for your best friend. With the new OS, all you need to do is swipe down the notification panel and tap on the Screen Record quick settings. If the tile isn’t present by default, you can add it by editing the quick settings through the pencil icon. While screen recording, you can choose to record audio through the microphone or the phone’s audio, and once you are done, you can simply tap the Screen Record notification to stop.

2) Chat bubbles

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We have long used the floating chat bubbles with messaging apps like Facebook Messenger to quickly respond to any incoming text or keep the conversation alive while you are using another mobile app. Finally, this feature will be available natively in the new Android 11, and the compatible applications will be able to show the messages via bubbles, which can be removed from the screen by simply dragging them to the bottom.

The bubbles will be grouped to show the messages from various messaging applications; for instance, the chat bubbles of Telegram can be grouped with that of Facebook Messenger. Conveniently, you can also set specific conversations as bubbles so you can converse with people with more ease.

3) Easy Accessibility through power menu

One of the most noticeable changes you will see in Android 11 is the new and improved power menu. Previously, long-pressing the power button presented the user with Restart or Power Off options, but now you can quickly access the Google Pay credit/debit card and see more controls for your connected smart devices set up through Google Home like the TV, thermostat, the smart lock, etc. Interestingly, boarding passes, or any other ticket added through Google Pay can also be accessed through the power menu.

4) Better media controls

The controls for the media player have now been integrated into the quick settings menu and can be seen when you swipe down from above while you’re playing audio on the smartphone. The settings also work with streaming videos like YuTube, which you have cast onto other screens.

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This new feature will help you to quickly switch the device your media is playing on so you can hop on to your earbuds or speaker without missing on your music or any sounds.

5) Wireless Android Auto

With new Android 11, you will not have to worry about connecting your smartphone with your car’s entertainment system through an aux cable. With the latest update, you can connect the two wirelessly granted that you are using a compatible vehicle. Through this feature, your smartphone can help the Android Auto in the car to give directions with a single tap, talk to send a text, play your favorite tunes, and get help from Google Assistant.

6) One-time permissions

Google has beefed up smartphone security in the new Android 11, and now you have the option to provide one-time permissions to any mobile application. This means that any app can get single-use access to sensitive permissions, including microphone, camera, location, etc. but for future access to the same sensors, it will need your permission once again.

7) Auto-reset permissions

Most of the time, we end up installing too many apps on our smartphones and hardly get to use them in our daily lives. For such apps, the new Android 11 will auto-reset permissions to stop them from continuously accessing your precious personal data. The operating system will inform you about auto-resetting the permissions of any unused app, and you will be able to reset those app’s permissions the next time you’ll access that app.

8) More privacy for Android Enterprise users

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For people who interact with their company-owned devices, Android 11 is bringing the same privacy protections that we get to enjoy on our personally owned phones. This means that the IT department will only be able to manage a specific device without monitoring your profile data or any activity on your smartphone.

9) Pinning apps to share sheet

For people who frequently share things via their smartphone, they can now pin specific apps to the share sheet in Android 11. For instance, when you want to share something, you’ll immediately see the pinned apps/options like Chrome‚Äôs ability to send URLs to other devices or the printing feature, etc.

10) Android 11 updates through Google Play store

Whether it is the yearly Android OS releases, as well as the monthly Android security patches, all Android updates are provided to the users through the telecom carrier or the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Due to this, some phones get quick updates while others receive them very late. To solve this problem, Google is going to bypass both the carriers and the OEMs by pushing the updates to Android users via the Google Play store.

In all transparency, the company won’t be able to provide the latest Android operating system or even the recent security patches as most of the smartphone companies prefer using their custom skin over the operating system; however, Google will be able to fix some security holes in the system through this new feature. So, even if the manufacturers are no longer providing updates to a particular smartphone, Google can help keep the smartphone a little safer.

11) Scheduling dark mode

In Android 10, Google finally provided us with the built-in dark mode, which could be turned on or off. But in the new Android 11, we have the option to schedule the dark mode to turn on or off when the sun sets or rises or sets up a custom schedule to activate this mode at your desired time.

12) Improved notifications

With Android 11, you can now see your older notifications in settings, in case you have accidentally swiped one or all away or ignored them for too long. But there is a catch; you can only view a certain notification in 24 hours of when it first landed on your smartphone.

Unfortunately, this feature is not present on default, and you will have to go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications > Notification history and manually toggle the feature on for future notifications. Interestingly, you will also be able to see the silent notifications from applications that do not make it to the shade.

13) Better 5G detection

With Android 11, your smartphone will be better at detecting 5G networks. If you are using a 5G smartphone, apps on the new operating system will recognize the connection quickly and will automatically run faster.

14) Support for foldable phones

Since the all-screen foldable phones are now a thing of the present, Android 11 will be able to detect hinge angles on these devices to provide better app support when your device is not lying flat.

15) Nearby Share mode

Android 11 comes with a ‘Nearby Share’ mode that helps to send data and information to nearby devices like your Chromebook, tablet, or PC using Google Chrome. So, if you were jealous of Apple’s seamless sharing across devices, you can now easily send any document from your Android device to your PC without any trouble.

Android 11 Features Exclusive to Pixel users

For people using Pixel 2 and above, the company is bringing some exclusive Android 11 features to organize better and manage their smartphones. These new features are:

1) App suggestions

With the help of AI, Android 11 can make app suggestions based on your daily routines, providing you with particular tools when you need them without any effort on your part. For instance, your phone will recommend a specific app to check on your messages at different times of the day, or Google Maps for when you are coming back from work or when you’re taking a walk in the afternoon, or the media/entertainment apps you use at night to help you relax at the end of a busy day.

Interestingly, the suggested apps will continuously change based on the time of the day, and you’ll be presented with a recommendation even before you have thought about opening a certain app. If you are not happy with this feature, you can always turn it off or tell Google to skip certain mobile apps altogether. I admit that this is by far one of the coolest features of Android 11, and we would love to see it on phones other than Pixel as well.

2) Live View

In Android 11, the location sharing in Google maps now come with Live View that can help you to easily meet up with your friends in real-life. if your friends have chosen to share their location with you, you can simply tap on their icon and see where they are in real-time in relation to you and how far away they are from you as well. By tapping on start, the app will shows you arrows while providing you with directions at the top to tell you where you need to go.

3) New Smart Reply

Android 11 also offers the Smart Reply feature to Pixel users, where the phone’s keyboard will provide helpful suggestions when you are using different messaging apps. More importantly, all the replies are processed on your devices, which will help keep your privacy in place. As of now, this feature is only available in English. Also, keep in mind that Smart Reply isn’t compatible with all chat apps at the moment and requires the use of the company’s very own Gboard.

4) Better Prediction tools

Android 11 is better at predicting your habits and behavior, which can effectively reduce the work you need to do to keep your phone organized. For instance, the operating system can automatically sort out mobile apps into folders containing similar apps, like mobile games, productivity tools, etc.

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