Google has launched its new Android 11 operating system, bringing a number of powerful new features to its software platform.
The operating system has been in beta for months and has now been released for Google Pixel devices, as well as selected smartphones from OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Realme.
Highlights of the new platform include dedicated notifications for messaging apps and chat bubbles that are integrated into the user interface.
Android 11 also brings built-in screen recording, allowing you to record activity on your smartphone without the use of a third-party app.
It also includes integrated smart device functionality. A long press of the power button allows you to quickly control any connected smart devices without the need to open multiple applications.
Media controls have been redesigned, and Android Auto now works wirelessly across all Android 11 phones provided you have a compatible vehicle.
Google has also improved the privacy and data protection features of Android 11 through the implementation of one-time app permissions, update modules, and expiring hardware or file system permissions.
Google said that this update will roll out to more smartphones over the coming months.
We have listed the best new features of Android 11 below.
- Voice Access – Control your applications by speaking commands out loud. Features offline support.
- Talkback braille keyboard – Native support for typing braille on the software keyboard.
- Lookout – New Lookout modes allow you to scan documents and food labels easily, and opening the application now automatically opens the flashlight.
- 3P Performance Optimisations – Better camera functionality in photo sharing platforms such as Snapchat.
- Mute during camera capture – New APIs let camera apps mute vibration from ringtones, alarms, or notifications.
- Bokeh modes – New API for bokeh support in third-party camera apps.
- Camera support in Emulator – Now supports a fully functional camera HAL.
- Bedtime mode – Quiets your phone when it is time to go to sleep, switching to grayscale and silencing notifications via Do Not Disturb. Can be scheduled to run automatically or when your phone charges.
- Clock – New bedtime feature allows you to track screen time at night and fall asleep to calming sounds. Sunrise Alarm slowly brightens your screen to start the day.
- Work profile enhancements – Full privacy from IT on your smartphone’s work profile, as well as new asset management features which ensure security while keeping personal usage opaque to IT.
- Connected work and personal apps – Provides a combined view of information from both profiles in applications such as Calendar.
- Schedule work profile – Allows you to set a schedule to automatically turn your work profile on and off.
- Work tab in more places – Better integration for work tabs allow you to use more apps across work and personal profiles.
- Location access notifications – Receive a notification if your IT admin has turned on location services on your managed device.
- Device controls – Easily manage your connected devices all from one spot on your phone.
- Media controls – With Android 11, you can quickly change the device that your media plays on.
- Android Auto – Android Auto now works wirelessly with devices running Android 11.
- Context-aware Bluetooth airplane mode – If you have headphones or hearing aids connected to your phone, Bluetooth will stay on if you enable Airplane mode.
Messaging and Sharing
- Conversations – See, respond to and control your conversations across multiple messaging apps. Choose priority conversations that will show up on your lock screen.
- Bubbles – Pin conversations so they always appear on top of other apps and screens.
- Smart reply – On Pixel devices, replies are intelligently suggested based on what’s been said in the conversation.
- Keyboard autofill – GBoard provides suggestions to help fill in forms with info such as passwords or a home address.
- Overview actions – On Pixel devices, you can easily copy, save, and share info between many apps.
- Nearby Share – Quickly and securely send files, videos, map locations and more to devices nearby.
Security and Privacy
- One-time permissions – Allows you to give one-time permissions to apps that need your mic, camera, or location.
- Auto-reset permissions – Android 11 will reset permissions for your unused apps. You can always turn permissions back on.
- Google Play system updates – More security and privacy fixes sent to your smartphone from Google Play.
- Scoped storage – Android limits broad access to shared storage for all apps running Android 11.
- Resume on reboot – Apps run immediately after an update is installed.
- Blocked permissions – If a user denies permissions to an app multiple times, it will be blocked from requesting the permission again.
- Soft restart – Google Play system updates pushed when your phone is idle, removing the need for a full reboot.
- Background location – Get more control over location sharing with apps that are not in use.
- Screen recorder – Screen recording is now built-in, so you don’t need an extra app.
- App suggestions – Pixel devices1 now make app suggestions based on your daily routines.
- Smart folders – See intelligent suggestions for folder names on your Pixel device.
- Call screening – New APIs to help screening apps better identify spam calls.
- Schedule Dark mode – Schedule when you want your phone to turn to Dark mode.
- Picture-in-picture – Picture-in-picture windows can be adjusted to fit the size you need.
- 5G detection API – With new APIs, apps know if you’re on a 5G connection. So you get better performance.
- Hingle angle sensor support – Better app support for foldable smartphones.
- Ethernet tethering – Share a tethered internet connection with a USB ethernet dongle.
- Gesture sensitivity – When using gesture nav, you can now fine-tune both Back gestures on the left and right edge independently of one another.
- Notification history – Your notification history is now available in settings.
- Sharesheet – Pin the apps you use most in the Sharesheet.