After several beta updates, Android 11 Finally here. Google has just released the latest and greatest version of its OS today and although it may not surprise many of us who have been using the beta for some time, it is still worth it.
“Choose Pixel, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo and RealMe phones” to follow this update with other partners today. True, the update is already available on my Pixel 4XL. If you have a convenient device, here are the best reasons you should consider upgrading.
Priority for conversations
Android 11 has two major enhancements to text conversations on your phone. First, Google will now keep your conversations separate from your other notifications, giving them priority over the shadow of your notifications. They get their own section, prefer random pings from other apps and you can set conversations with high priority, allowing notifications to come even if you mute notifications.
This is one of my favorite things about Android 11 – it helps prevent important conversations from being buried under the wealth of notifications we all receive every day.
Balloons, balloons everywhere!
Second, Google is finally officially implementing the ‘bubbles’ dialog. If you use Facebook Messenger on Android, you already know what I’m talking about; The feature allows conversations to exist in floating bubbles, which can rotate around your screen and be accessed from any app. While developers need to update their application code to support the feature, I hope the feature will be available soon.
While Android has always had an edge over notifications in notificationss, today’s update takes it one step further.
Built-in screen recording
Until now, recording your screen on Android has been a bit awkward, requiring the use of often buggy third-party apps. From today, you can record content on your device – including audio from your mic, device or both – without having to install a special app.
To enable the feature, you first need to add it to your notification shadow’s quick settings menu. On Pixel phones, you can open the shadow of notifications, tap on the pencil icon and drag the screen record button over your active panels. You can then start recording at any time by pressing the screen record button on your phone.
Quick access to smart devices
If you have multiple smart devices in your home, you know how painful it is to manage them all – especially if Google Assistant does not understand what you are trying to say. Google now has a solution: you can access controls for all your smart gadgets from the Power Button menu. Long press on the power button will see all the smart lights, locks, thermostats and controls for what you have in your home.
Very good media controls
Switching audio devices is a bit of a pain in the ass, especially now that Bluetooth headphones are increasingly the norm. Sometimes I listen through my phone speakers, sometimes I use headphones, others use my fancy speakers or TV. Android 11 allows you to quickly select your audio output from the shadow of notifications.
Android 11 also offers more advanced media controls to communicate with your music in the shadow of notifications. For example, you can now restart a music session from the menu mentioned above – you do not need to open the spot again after you close it. Google says you can switch between apps in the last order they play, which is useful for people like me who are constantly switching between music and audiobooks.
Permissions never exist
With Android 10, Google has begun to take privacy a little more seriously, allowing users to restrict things like location access to operate only when you are actually using the app (as opposed to the background). Now the company allows you to access apps at once for certain features, such as your camera or microphone – which you should have done a long time ago if you asked me.
Pixel only: Live view location sharing
While the above features are available for any device running Android 11, Google has several pixel exclusives launching today.
Live View with Location Sharing allows you to easily use the turn-by-turn direction to meet your shared friends. This clip from Google explains that it must be an AR Friend Finder:
Pixel only: good screenshots and text selection:
Google makes it more convenient to take screenshots and extract text from apps. You can now swipe and access the app card view, from which you can take a screenshot and edit the image or select any text on the screen – something you would not normally choose on Android.
Other AI-based updates include built-in smart replies on the Pixel keyboard (which refers not only to Google words but also words, application recommendations and folder name recommendations to help you organize files on your home screen based on your usage habits. To learn more about the updates that will be released with Android 11, you can see Google’s blog post Here.
Published September 9, 2020 – 03:09 UTC