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Android 11: Everything you need to know about Android’s 2020 iteration

Android’s 2020 edition, known as Android 11 is now official. Google first rolled out the update to Google Pixel devices and now entering other android devices from OnePlus, Realme, Samsung etc. If you look closely, Android 11 is notoriously similar to Android 10. At first glance, it is difficult to notice any difference when you first crank it up. 

Android 11 comes with a range of new features and we have tried to bring in the most important features for you. This is because there are many features which are developer oriented and not for the general public. Let us find out the best features of Android’s 2020 iteration. 

Chat Bubbles

If you look closely, Android 11 is designed to be around communication. Hence, the most important features are all about notifications, conversation and chat apps. Chat bubbles were actually a part of Android 10 too. But somehow, Google didn’t prioritize it and was lost when the stable version was launched. It is good to see Chat Bubbles featuring as an important part of Android 11.

Chat Bubbles are very similar to Facebook Messenger’s chat feature. In the Messenger, a chat-head pops up and overlays on top of every other app when you receive a new message. All you need to do is to tap the chat head to start the conversation. It can then be minimized and removed once you are done with the conversation. 

Notification History

Ever happened to receive a notification and accidentally swipe it? We have all done it when we are busy or trying to focus or just woke up in the morning. When this happens, the notification is gone and you cannot retrieve it. Android 11 goes one step further to save every notification on your phone for the past 24 hours. You can always go into the notifications tab and find the notifications that you missed.

The notification history is turned off by default. However, you can turn it on if you go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications > Notification history. The only con of this feature is that you will also be able to see all the notifications in the list which you have turned off or marked silent on some apps.

Screen Recorder

There are many Android apps that will record your phone’s screen. If you consider that, Android 11 might be a little late to finally include this feature. However, it is better to use an in-built feature from Android than to download a third-party app.

You can access the screen recorder feature in the Quick Settings tiles.You can simply tap the Screen Record option and select from the available options before you start recording. For example, capturing audio along with video etc. The beauty of this feature lies in its ability to keep things simple, like recording the screen. If you are someone who needs various features along with screen recording, then you may stick to your third party app.

Media Controls

In Android 10, the music player was stationed at the top of the notification drawer. As we know, now that particular section is taken by conversations. Hence, Google has now moved it up to the Quick Settings section. It makes sense because a media controller is not really a notification, it is a mini-app or a tool.

When you swipe down the notification panel, the media control tool will be extremely small. It will show you the system playing the music along with basic controls. If you do not wish to keep the media player up there, you can simply swipe away as usual. It is possible to rearrange the settings so the media player automatically disappears when you stop the music.

Dark Theme Customization

It was so exciting to see Google introduce a native dark mode to Android 10. However, it was just a simple on or off feature without any customization options available. With Android 11, you can now schedule the dark theme with a couple of options. You can select two options 1) Schedule to turn the dark theme on or off when the sun sets or rises. 2) Set a custom schedule for the dark theme as per your requirement. Interestingly, Google launched the sunrise/sunset setting to their flagship Pixel phones with Android 10 but Android 11 will roll out this feature to all android phones supporting Android 11.

Smart Device Control

Everyone is obsessed with some or the other smart home tech in their lives. Owing to that demand, Google has now made it easy to control your smart home devices without even having to open the app. You just need to hold down the power button to launch the new tool. It will show you the most common features at the top but there are various new features underneath. 

Interestingly, there is a Google Play shortcut that enables you to quickly choose a payment option for your next transaction. Below that, there’s a list of buttons connected to different smart home products. Android 11 will automatically populate this section with upto six devices which you can add/remove as per your convenience.

Android 11 Auto Updates

Every year, Google comes with the latest update of Android. After that, each month it pushes the latest software update patch. You get both these updates to your phone either by your smartphone manufacturer or service provider. Due to this, some phones get many updates quickly while it takes significantly longer for other phones to receive updates.

For the first time, Android has decided to launch updates directly to the Google Play Store. Now, Google can take charge of the updates and not rely on manufacturers or service carriers. This will be a major delight for Android users and give them a more secure system update.

Wrapping Up

These are the most important updates from Android 11. We are also interested to see the changes in Android App Development with the launch of Android 11. We would like to know your thoughts on Android 11 and your favourite updates in the comments section.