5 finest new options in Android 11 and the way you will use them


Android 11 has a bunch of goodies. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Google launched the first public beta of Android 11 this week. There are many under-the-hood options for builders to reap the benefits of, however common customers aren’t overlooked both. You may set up the primary beta proper now so long as you’ve gotten a Pixel 2 or newer. I signed as much as take part within the beta program on a Pixel four XL ($800 at Amazon) and have been digging by the replace. 

We’re huge followers of the brand new fast controls web page that is simple to entry and extremely useful, together with the revamped media controls, whereas app recommendations and Bubbles will take some getting used to. 

Whereas we’re certain Google has extra Android 11 surprises in retailer for us, listed below are 5 options we now have tried and know you will love when it is launched later this yr. 


Android 11’s fast controls are my new favourite controls. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android 11 Fast Controls are a real spotlight

The very first thing it is best to do after putting in Android 11, whether or not it is the beta or when it is formally launched, is long-press the facility button in your cellphone to convey up the brand new fast controls display. On the Pixel, not less than, this display provides you energy management choices alongside the highest, supplies shortcuts to your Google Pay playing cards and boarding passes, after which under that you’re going to discover my favourite characteristic of Android 11 — fast controls for sensible residence gadgets. 

My cellphone routinely picked a number of gadgets I’ve linked to Google Assistant, just like the Nest thermostat in my workplace and my Nest video doorbell. I may even view a livestream from my doorbell instantly on this display, with out having to open the Nest app (which is sluggish and a ache to make use of). It is nice. 

You may add or take away sensible residence gadgets from this grid by tapping on the menu button and choosing add or edit controls. 

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Bubbles look all types of helpful. 


Messaging Bubbles on your associates appear to be they will be helpful 

Bear in mind Bubbles? This characteristic was purported to be a part of Android 10, however Google pulled it on the final minute. Nicely, they’re again. 

Bubbles are much like Fb Messengers “chat heads” characteristic. When activated, a small avatar — or Bubble — in your display that’s seen it doesn’t matter what app you are utilizing. Faucet on the avatar and it’ll open a small window so that you can learn and ship new messages in that thread, with out totally opening the app. You may drag the Bubble round your display, or drag it to the underside of the display to delete it. 

Within the first public beta, the one app that appears to work with Bubbles proper now’s Fb Messenger. Even then, it does not totally work. We count on Google will work out the kinks earlier than the complete Android 11 launch.

To be able to use Bubbles for a dialog, there will likely be a small Bubbles icon within the bottom-right nook of the notification. Tapping on it’s going to instantly allow Bubbles for that thread.

One other solution to activate Bubbles for particular conversations is to long-press on its notification and mark it as a precedence. Doing so is not going to solely activate Bubbles for that thread, however it’s going to additionally enable that dialog to interrupt by Do Not Disturb guaranteeing you do not miss any messages. 


App recommendations on the house display are new. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

App Options substitute your app dock

Instantly after putting in the general public beta and unlocking my Pixel four XL, I used to be greeted with an choice to allow app recommendations on the house display. Not sure of what precisely that was, I reluctantly agreed. Seems, it is fairly darn cool. 

Beforehand, Android made recommendations within the app drawer of apps it thought you’d wish to use, relying on the time of day and different mysterious components. In Android 11, there’s now a row of app recommendations on the underside of your property display the place your foremost app dock would usually present up. 

The apps have a glowing border round them, and often change if you return to your property display as you utilize your cellphone. You may long-press on any of the app icons to pin that suggestion to your property display. 

It’s also possible to block apps from displaying up as recommendations if you don’t need one thing like Gmail displaying up although you utilize a distinct electronic mail app. 

To entry App Options and tailor the way it works for you long-press on your property display and choose Residence Settings then Options. There you’ll be able to management recommendations within the app drawer and on the house display or block apps from displaying up on the checklist. 


The brand new media controls certain look good. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android 11 will get fancier music controls

Within the weblog submit announcement for the Android 11 public beta, Google confirmed off a brand new music management interface that regarded superb. As an alternative of playback controls trying extra like a pending notification, they’re positioned within the Fast Settings panel on the high of your display. And if you work together with them, there is a new choice to manage the place the music is enjoying. 

For instance, when you have Google’s new Pixel Buds 2 and a Nest Hub ($90 at Greatest Purchase), you’ll be able to rapidly change between the 2 gadgets with a few faucets. 

If you happen to set up the Android 11 beta, the characteristic is nowhere to be discovered if you start enjoying music. Do not get discouraged — it is there, but it surely’s hidden. 

You will must allow Developer Choices in your cellphone by opening the Settings app and going to About cellphone. Scroll to the underside of the display the place you will discover Construct Quantity. Faucet on it till you see a small notification present up saying one thing like “Congrats! You are now a developer.” 

Subsequent, we’ll want to enter Developer Choices in Settings > System. As soon as there, discover Media resumption, flip it on, after which reboot your cellphone. 

The following time you begin enjoying some music, the brand new media controls will likely be obtainable. 


You may lastly file your display with an official Google instrument. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

A built-in display recorder

Screenshots are a fast and straightforward solution to seize one thing in your display, however there are occasions when a recording is healthier suited to the duty at hand. For instance, if you wish to exhibit your gaming expertise, or spotlight the steps to breed a bug — display recording FTW! 

You’ll find the Display Report instrument within the Fast Settings panel after putting in Android 11. If it isn’t seen, faucet on the pencil icon so as to add it to your panel. 

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Faucet on the Display Report icon and choose whether or not you need your microphone to file audio and if you’d like your contact interactions to be highlighted within the video. To cease recording, faucet the Display Report notification. The video will likely be saved to your digicam roll the place you’ll be able to then edit and share the recording. 

We will hold digging into Android 11 and see what different goodies are hidden or added all through the remainder of the beta course of. Within the meantime, for those who simply cannot anticipate Android 11 to launch later this yr, you’ll be able to set up it proper now.

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