Android 11 has now been released after months of betas teased us with its upcoming features. Let’s take a look at the phones that will get the update and some handy features to get you excited.
While stats from StatCounter over July and August 2020 show a little more than 25 per cent of devices worldwide have adopted Android 10, it’s already time to make way for the latest version.
What phones can get the Android 11 update?
It’s to be expected but only Google Pixel phones will be able to install the latest version for now. Google says Pixel 2, 3, 3a, 4 and 4a devices can all get it but OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO and realme phones will be a part of the immediate roll out too.
If you’re one of the lucky ones, head to System on your Pixel — or equivalent on a non-Pixel — and select System Update. Search for new updates if it hasn’t automatically prompted you other slam that Download and install button.
As we saw with the Android 10 release, it will eventually become available to other Android devices, such as Samsung devices.
If we’re basing it off the Android 10 timeline, you might have to wait a while months until after the 11’s full release.
For those who can get the update, here’s a bunch of handy features likely to get you excited.
Screen recording is here
Not one to let Apple users have it all, Android 11 comes with a native screen recording feature. It was included in the initial beta but it’s now a fully-fledged addition to the version. You’ll now be able to record your screens without having to download a dodgy third-party app once your device gets the latest version.
The feature appears in its pull down menu in a similar way to how Apple’s version functions. Bring it on.
Say hello to “Bubbles”
The Android 11 introduces a familiar but useful feature it’s calling ‘Bubbles’. For anyone who uses the Facebook Messenger app, the Bubbles functionality will not seem like anything new. It allows you to use other apps or browse the web while a little bubble-shaped pop up gives you the option to bring up an overlay screen so you can quickly respond to messages.
Google’s Bubbles work in essentially the same way but for its messaging feature, making it easier to use than switching between multiple apps.
As a side note, Google’s also adding conversations from all your messaging apps to the one spot in the notifications window. That way you can keep across your DMs and general messages.
Muting notifications while video recording
Another handy feature that looks set to launch with Android 11 is the ability to mute notifications while video recording. It seems so simple yet it’s continued to bug users with previous versions.
The feature will allow users to pop the camera under the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode so that notifications don’t ‘ding’ or ‘bzz’ and ruin your footage. We stan.
A control “pocket” feature
Now that phones have become a remote control for a huge range of other devices, Google is creating a quick control hub. Android 11 introduces a dedicated space for you to control smart lights, smart locks and smart home appliances as well as host your credit cards and flight bookings.
It sounds like a pretty neat feature to have if you’ve got a great smart home setup but if you like to keep things analogue, it probably won’t be of much use.
Having your phone connected to multiple audio devices — for example, headphones, a smart hub, your laptop — means switching between them can be a bit of a nightmare. Android 11 adds a pull-up screen to let you quickly choose the source and change the volume to play your music. It looks like a handy feature but let’s see how it integrates with all your non-Google devices.
One-time privacy permission
Another major change will focus on even more granular privacy permissions. Android 10 already allowed you to choose between allowing an app to access certain information all the time, only while using the app or completely denying it. Android 11 gives you another more useful option — the ability to give it a one-off permission.
This tool is extremely useful for those who like to pop on GPS tracking when they’re driving somewhere but don’t ever need it used otherwise. Same goes for apps that sometimes need microphone usage but shouldn’t need it every time you use it.
Android 11 will also auto-reset the permissions an app has after a certain amount of time of not using it, which you can re-grant when you start to use it again.
Bring your notifications back from the dead
Finally, we all have a tendency to swipe away new notifications as they come in. Sometimes it becomes so second-nature that we’ll half-read as we swipe away and instantly regret it. A new feature in Android 11 might be here to solve that problem.
Sort of like your computer’s ‘Recycle Bin’, Android 11 has a log of recently dismissed notifications so you can go back through them. You have the option of turning it off too but if you like having a second chance to review your recently-swiped notifications, it might be good flicking it on once you have 11 on your device.
This article has been updated with the latest information from Google’s Android 11 release.