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Now available: The best new features of Android 11

Last updated on March 9, 2021

Android 11 is officially available as an update. The operating system has a lot to offer, from clearer notifications to new playback controls.

Android 11 has been officially available for download since the beginning of September 2020. The smartphone manufacturers are gradually supplying their models with the new Google firmware – so it can take some time until the update is available on your device. TECHBOOK has found out the best new functions of the new Android version for you.

Easier communication

Android users know it: In the notification bar, messages from messenger and e-mail apps alternate with any inconsequential messages sent by installed apps. You will quickly be overwhelmed by the multitude of notifications that are stacked on top of each other in the notification center. But that’s exactly what Android 11 puts an end to: messages from conversations are now separated from other notifications. The notification center appears tidier and clearer.

In addition, important chats can be marked as priority so that they always appear at the top of the messages. Priority chats also show up on the Alway-On display and are even shown in do not disturb mode.

With Android 11, Google is now introducing system-wide “bubbles”, that is, conversation bubbles that are placed over the running apps and give quick access to a chat. This function is known, for example, from Facebook Messenger. To open a bubble, all you have to do is click on a chat notification. Instead of switching between the messenger app and other apps, the bubble simply remains on the surface and can be opened at any time.

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The Android 11 bubbles are very reminiscent of Facebook Messenger
Photo: Google Photo: Google

Another new feature are automatic text and smiley suggestions when you type on Google’s own Gboard keyboard. According to Google, the intelligent suggestions should take place entirely through machine learning on the smartphone itself – without Google seeing what you are typing.

New control options for smart home and media

The control for smart devices can now be called up simply by pressing and holding the power button (previously only the switch-off menu appeared here). Third-party apps can be integrated into the control system in such a way that certain processes, such as switching on the lights or unlocking the front door, are carried out at the touch of a button. Your means of payment and tickets are also stored in the control. Google describes the new control center as a pocket for the digital wallet, keys and more.

Android 11 also introduces new control options for videos and music. It is now easier to switch the device on which the audio and video are played, for example from headphones to speakers or TV. In addition, users can reopen music apps directly from the notification center after closing them, as Android 11 now remembers which music apps (such as Spotify and YouTube Music) were last open.

Advanced security settings

Of course, security improvements should not be missing in a new Android version. With Android 11, the control options for app authorizations are even more detailed. It is now possible, for example, to give individual apps one-time access to the microphone, camera or location. If you only grant one-time access, an app has to ask again every time it needs these permissions.

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One problem is apps that users haven’t used for a long time and that may have been updated in the meantime and want more data. Android 11 automatically resets their permissions. As soon as they are used again, users have to grant the authorizations again – permanently or once.

Android 11 is now available for these devices

First, Google provides its Pixel smartphones with the update. A number of other smartphones will also get Android 11 from day 1 – albeit as a public beta version. In the next few days, most users will receive a notification that Android 11 is available as an update. If you want to install it now, you can find the update under Settings > System > System updates .

In a nutshell

What is a public beta?

There are three phases in the development process of the Android operating system: the developer preview, the public beta and the final version. In the Developer Preview, developers get an early insight into the basic features of the new system and can thus start optimizing their apps for it. After several versions of the preview, the public beta follows, in which everyone who has a compatible smartphone can test the pre-version of Android. “Platform stability” should already be achieved in the final phases of the beta. This means that apps have to be tested with Android 11 by then in order to be classified as compatible. The last stage is the final release version, which will be played out as an official update in the third quarter of this year.

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Other Android smartphones will only receive the new operating system version once the manufacturers have adapted the update to their specifications. This may take a few days or weeks in some cases, but months or more in others.

Here is the list of devices on which Android 11 is already available as a release version:

  • Pixel 2
  • Pixel 2 XL
  • Pixel 3
  • Pixel 3 XL
  • Pixel 3a
  • Pixel 3a XL
  • Pixel 4
  • Pixel 4 XL
  • Pixel 4a

Here is the list of devices on which Android 11 is available in beta:

  • OnePlus 8
  • OnePlus 8 Pro
  • Oppo Find X2
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro
  • Oppo Reno 3
  • Oppo Reno 3 Pro
  • Oppo Ace 2
  • Realme X50 Pro
  • Xiaomi Mi 10
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro
  • Xiaomi Redmi K30 Pro
  • Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro