Android 11 features: 5 best new software tools and how you’ll use them

Android 11 has a bunch of goodies. 


Jason Cipriani/CNET

Google launched the first public beta of Android 11 earlier this week, bringing under-the-hood options for builders and courageous customers alike. You can install the first beta right now so long as you might have a Pixel 2 or newer Google Pixel phone, however even when you do not, any Android fan can anticipate the bonus instruments that’ll come to telephones. 

I signed as much as take part within the beta program on a Pixel 4 XL ($799 at Amazon) and have been digging by means of the replace. So far, I’m an enormous fan of the brand new fast controls web page, which is simple to entry and extremely useful, together with the revamped media controls. Other options, like app options and Bubbles, will take some getting used to. 

These 5 options right here aren’t the total extent of Android 11. Google is nearly assured to have extra surprises in retailer for us. Meanwhile, get acquainted with these Android 11 options now, so you recognize what’s coming to your phone later this yr. 

Android 11’s fast controls are my new favourite controls. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android 11 Quick Controls are a real spotlight

The very first thing it’s best to do after putting in Android 11, whether or not it is the beta or when it is formally launched, is long-press the ability button in your phone to deliver up the brand new fast controls display. On the Pixel, at the least, this display provides you energy management choices alongside the highest, supplies shortcuts to your Google Pay cards and boarding passes, after which beneath that you’re going to discover my favourite characteristic of Android 11 — fast controls for smart home units. 

My phone mechanically picked a number of units I’ve linked to Google Assistant, just like the Nest thermostat in my workplace and my Nest video doorbell. I may even view a livestream from my doorbell straight on this display, with out having to open the Nest app (which is sluggish and a ache to make use of). It’s nice. 

You can add or take away good dwelling units from this grid by tapping on the menu button and deciding on add or edit controls. 


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Bubbles look all kinds of helpful. 


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Messaging Bubbles in your mates appear like they will be helpful 

Remember Bubbles? This characteristic was alleged to be a part of Android 10, however Google pulled it on the final minute. Well, they’re again. 

Bubbles are just like Facebook Messengers “chat heads” characteristic. When activated, a small avatar — or Bubble — in your display that’s seen it doesn’t matter what app you are utilizing. Tap on the avatar and it’ll open a small window so that you can learn and ship new messages in that thread, with out totally opening the app. You can drag the Bubble round your display, or drag it to the underside of the display to delete it. 

In the primary public beta, the one app that appears to work with Bubbles proper now could be Facebook Messenger. Even then, it does not totally work. We anticipate Google will work out the kinks earlier than the total Android 11 launch.

In order to make use of Bubbles for a dialog, there might be a small Bubbles icon within the bottom-right nook of the notification. Tapping on it’s going to instantly allow Bubbles for that thread.

Another technique to activate Bubbles for particular conversations is to long-press on its notification and mark it as a precedence. Doing so is not going to solely activate Bubbles for that thread, however it’s going to additionally permit that dialog to interrupt by means of Do Not Disturb guaranteeing you do not miss any messages. 

App options on the house display are new. 


Jason Cipriani/CNET

App Suggestions substitute your app dock

Immediately after putting in the general public beta and unlocking my Pixel four XL, I used to be greeted with an choice to allow app options on the house display. Unsure of what precisely that was, I reluctantly agreed. Turns out, it is fairly darn cool. 

Previously, Android made options within the app drawer of apps it thought you’d need to use, relying on the time of day and different mysterious elements. In Android 11, there’s now a row of app options on the underside of your own home display the place your most important app dock would usually present up. 

The apps have a glowing border round them, and regularly change whenever you return to your own home display as you employ your phone. You can long-press on any of the app icons to pin that suggestion to your own home display. 

You may block apps from exhibiting up as options if you do not need one thing like Gmail exhibiting up though you employ a distinct e-mail app. 

To entry App Suggestions and tailor the way it works for you long-press on your own home display and choose Home Settings then Suggestions. There you’ll be able to management options within the app drawer and on the house display or block apps from exhibiting up on the checklist. 

The new media controls positive look good. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android 11 will get fancier music controls

In the blog post announcement for the Android 11 public beta, Google confirmed off a brand new music management interface that seemed wonderful. Instead of playback controls trying extra like a pending notification, they’re positioned within the Quick Settings panel on the high of your display. And whenever you work together with them, there is a new possibility to manage the place the music is taking part in. 

For instance, if in case you have Google’s new Pixel Buds 2 and a Nest Hub ($89 at Crutchfield), you’ll be able to shortly change between the 2 units with a few faucets. 

If you put in the Android 11 beta, the characteristic is nowhere to be discovered whenever you start taking part in music. Don’t get discouraged — it is there, nevertheless it’s hidden. 

You’ll have to allow Developer Options in your phone by opening the Settings app and going to About phone. Scroll to the underside of the display the place you will discover Build Number. Tap on it till you see a small notification present up saying one thing like “Congrats! You’re now a developer.” 

Next, we’ll want to enter Developer Options in Settings > System. Once there, discover Media resumption, flip it on, after which reboot your phone. 

The subsequent time you begin taking part in some music, the brand new media controls might be obtainable. 

You can lastly document your display with an official Google software. 


Jason Cipriani/CNET

A built-in display recorder

Screenshots are a fast and simple technique to seize one thing in your display, however there are occasions when a recording is best suited to the duty at hand. For instance, if you wish to exhibit your gaming abilities, or spotlight the steps to breed a bug — display recording FTW! 

You can discover the Screen Record software within the Quick Settings panel after putting in Android 11. If it is not seen, faucet on the pencil icon so as to add it to your panel. 


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Tap on the Screen Record icon and choose whether or not you need your microphone to document audio and if you would like your contact interactions to be highlighted within the video. To cease recording, faucet the Screen Record notification. The video might be saved to your digital camera roll the place you’ll be able to then edit and share the recording. 

We’re going to maintain digging into Android 11 and see what different goodies are hidden or added all through the remainder of the beta course of. In the meantime, when you simply cannot look ahead to Android 11 to launch later this yr, you can install it right now.

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Tarun Banerjee

Professional Web Designer & Developer,Expert in SEO & Digital Market, Founder of Tech Hunt.

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