Google officially released the first developer preview of Android 11, the upcoming version of Android on Wednesday, 19th February. This was an unexpected early release as Google usually releases developer previews of upcoming versions of Android somewhere in March. However, this early release gives developers more time to get used to the newer version of Android, provide their feedback and suggestions for the upcoming beta releases and the final official stable release of Android 11.
Similar to the previous version of Android, Android 10, Android 11 also does not come with a lot of major visual or UI changes, and most of the updates and improvements that are made in Android 11 are behind the screens, API level updates. However, there are also quite a bit of new features that are introduced in Android 11, and here are the top 11 Android 11 new features and updates found in the first developer preview.
Top 11 Android 11 new features and updates
Conversations section in the notification panel
A majority of the notifications that most of us get on our phones are from messaging or social media apps. Android 11 has decided to highlight the notifications of messages and emails that you might get on your phone from different apps into a separate section on the notification panel called ‘Conversations’. This way all your messages would be grouped together and easily accessible from your notification panel and would be separated from other less important notifications that do not need your immediate attention.
The Message bubbles feature was introduced in the earlier versions of Android 10 and it was supposed to make its way through to the final version. However, it was scrapped due to some reason but it has not made its way back again to the first developer preview of Android 11. If you are a frequent user of the Facebook Messenger app you might already be familiar with the message bubbles feature. It is an option where all your conversations would be accessible from anywhere on your phone by clicking on a floating bubble at the corner of your screen. You can read and reply to messages and then minimize the bubbles to access at any time.
Better and more focussed permissions
Android 11 has included three new options whenever an app is requesting permission to access something like your location, storage, or your camera. The options include Only this time, While using the app and never. So, based on your choice the app will either be allowed to access whatever it is requesting either for just that once or only while you are using that app or never. This gives you more control over what your apps have access to and also makes sure that apps that are running in the background or the ones you are not even using do not have access to your data.
Native Screen Recorder
Just like the Message bubbles feature, the screen recorder feature was also supposed to be included in the final version of Android 10 but was not for some reason. The feature could be found in the first developer preview of Android 11, However, it is too early to determine whether it would make its way into the final stable release. While screen recording in Android has been possible for a long time with the help of third-party apps, it is good to know that we might finally get this feature natively without having to rely on third-party apps.
Better Do Not Disturb settings
The Do Not Disturb settings page in the DP1 of Android 11 has been slightly revamped to make it more organized into different kinds of notifications and alerts you get on your phone such calls, apps, alarms, and reminders. You can individually modify the do not disturb settings for each of these alerts like allowing notifications only from certain contacts or apps and so on. You can also schedule the do not disturb mode or restrict all notifications no matter whom or where they are from.
Auto dark mode
The ability to automatically enable dark mode on your device based on the time of the day or based on your preferred schedule is finally introduced to Android 11. You can enable this option to activate dark mode at sunset and automatically deactivate at sunrise or even at specific times during the day. This feature is already available in the older Android versions of Samsung and other OEMs but it is the first time it has been added to stock Android.
The scrolling screenshot feature is also available in the older versions of Android in other OEMs, but this time it seems like it might be added to the stock Android as well from Android 11. This is one of the most requested features and while it is not found in the DP1 of Android 11 explicitly, some of the people at XDA Developers have managed to enable it manually. However, it still doesn’t work completely and hopefully, it will be fixed and a more stable version would be released with the future Android 11 developer previews.
Pinning apps in the share sheet
If you are someone with a ton of apps installed on your phone, you might find this feature particularly useful. The ability to pin your favorite apps to the top of the share sheet whenever you want to share something quickly was a feature introduced back in Android 7, however it has been removed since only to be introduced back again the DP1 of Android 11. You can pin your favourite apps to the top of the share sheet so that you don’t need to scroll through all the supported apps to find them.
Support for foldable phones, flip phones, notched and edge displays
Google has introduced a new API to Android 11 that will allow the app developers to specify the interactable area of an app this will make sure that the elements of the app that the user needs to interact with are not hindered by the placement of the notch in some displays and that the UI elements do not extend over to the edge of the screens on devices with edge to edge displays. Android 11 will also be designed in a way that it works seamlessly and is compatible with all kinds of devices including the ones with foldable and flip screens.
Muting notifications during video recording
Android 11 also introduces a new API which will allow app developers to mute and restrict vibrations of notifications whenever the device’s camera is in use. So, next time you are recording a video using your phone and you are receiving notification in Android 11, your phone will mute it in the background and won’t let it disrupt your recording.
Increased touch sensitivity
Android 11 comes with a new setting called ‘Increase touch sensitivity’ under the display settings page in the settings app. This setting will likely be useful if you are using a thick screen protector or are wearing gloves, helping you to register the touches on the screen more accurately.
These are the top 11 new features and updates that are found in the official developer preview of Android 11 and there are more changes done in the background that will help in improving the overall experience of Android 11. Let us know in the comments below which one of these features is your favourite and what are you most looking forward to in the upcoming version of Android 11.