Android 11 is the upcoming version of Google’s mobile OS and it is all set to officially launch this May. Google released the first developer preview of Android 11 a few weeks back for the developers and Android users to test it and give their feedback.
The second developer preview of Android 11 is now released and you can download and install it on all your Pixel smartphone, except for the first generation ones released back in 2016. Click here to download the relevant system image file for your Pixel device.
While the first developer preview of Android 11 included a few visual changes and interesting features like the native screen recorder, message bubbles, and improved permissions, this release of the developer preview focusses more on polishing the previous version and improving the overall privacy and security of the OS.
Here are the top 11 new features and changes that were added to the Android 11 developer preview.
11 new features added to Android 11 Developer Preview 2
There is a new option added to the bottom left corner of the notification panel called ‘History’, which is the option to access the Notification history where all the notifications you have received on your device, including the ones you accidentally dismissed are saved.
The notifications are ordered according to the time you received them and you can also view which app sent the notification.
Android developers while already had an option to wirelessly connect their Android device to a PC for debugging purpose, it was a bit complicated and most of them primarily used the USB debugging option.
Google has finally added a convenient way in the developer preview 2 of Android 11 to initiate an ADB connection using your Android device wirelessly to a PC. Developers will now be able to perform tasks like sideloading APKs and testing their apps on Android devices wirelessly making the whole process more convenient.
‘Requires eyes to be open’ option for Face unlock feature
Many users have reported that they are able to unlock their Pixel 4 devices using the Face unlock feature even with their eyes closed which was not how it was supposed to work and it raised several controversies and privacy concerns.
Google announced that it will be fixing this issue soon, and an option to Require your eyes to be open to unlock your phone has now been added in the Face unlock settings page in the Android 11 developer preview 2.
Lockscreen customization options
A new option to customize how the clock is displayed on the lock screen has also appeared in the developer preview 2 of Android 11. While this option is already present in Android versions of other OEMs like Samsung’s One UI and OnePlus’s Oxygen OS, this is the first time this feature has made its way to the stock version of Android 11.
There are not many customization options available at the moment except the default one, however, more options could be added in the final stable release of Android 11.
Redesigned wallpaper picker
The wallpaper picker in the Pixel line of devices has also been redesigned in this developer preview 2 to give a more polished and sleek look. The new design could be accessed by long pressing on the home screen and then selecting the ‘Styles and wallpaper’ option.
Basically the thumbnails of the wallpapers have been made larger and you can now swipe up to access wallpapers from different categories. The wallpaper picker page also has options to customize the accent colors and fonts of your device.
Screen recorder UI
A native screen recorder option was added to the Developer Preview 1 of Android 11 and in this version, the feature also gets a UI added to it. The native screen recorder UI included a short warning informing the user that sensitive information like passwords and payment details could be recorded while using this feature, and also has options to record audio and show touches on the screen while recording.
Separated notifications section
Another minor design change introduced in this developer preview 2 is that the different notification sections in the notification panel of your devices such as the conversations, alerts, and silent notifications are now separated with a clearly noticeable white space making it a bit easier to distinguish between them.
5G state API
This is more of a developer focussed feature where the developer would be able to determine whether a user of their app is on a 5G new radio or a non-standalone network. This would help them to provide better 5G experience to their users like improved speed and latency.
Call screening improvements
Google introduced the call screening feature back in 2018 with Pixel 3 and Android 9 which is a feature that allows your Google assistant to attend the call for you and asking questions on your behalf in an attempt to avoid spam and robocalls.
This feature is now getting a few improvements in the developer preview 2 of Android 11. The new feature can now report a reason for rejecting a call, and the users will now be shown a screen after the call has been rejected with options to either mark the call as spam or add the number to their contacts.
Variable refresh rate support
With more phones being released with high refresh rate displays like 90Hz and even 120Hz, developers will now an option to set a preferred refresh rate for their apps or games in Android 11.
This means that if your phone is set to a default refresh rate of 60Hz but your device has the 120Hz option and a developer thinks that his game would be better run in a higher refresh rate then he would have the option to choose the best refresh rate on your device for his app or game.
Resume on reboot
The new resume on reboot feature in Android 11 slightly changes the way how your Android device acts after an overnight system update has been performed. Previously once a new update is installed, your device would automatically reboot and your apps won’t start functioning and you won’t receive any notifications or alerts until you unlock your device.
This might be inconvenient if you leave your device unattended for a few hours but still want your notifications to be received. With Android 11’s resume on reboot feature all your apps will perform normally and will send notifications after a system reboot following an update without needing to unlock your device first.