Find out how to use our prime 5 favourite Android 11 options


Android 11 has a bunch of goodies. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

It has been awhile since Google launched the Android 11 public beta, permitting Google Pixel customers to assist check and get an early preview of the modifications which are included. There are many under-the-hood options for builders and courageous customers alike, however there’s a lot extra to Android 11 than that. 

You may want a appropriate telephone and a few endurance to cope with random bugs, however you’ll be able to set up the Android 11 beta proper now if you happen to do not need to watch for its full launch.

I have been utilizing Android 11 on a Pixel four XL and have discovered a number of options that can change the best way I exploit Android — for the higher. The fast controls web page is within the operating for my favourite addition, adopted by the revamped media controls. The brand new Bubbles function, however, will take some getting used to.

The 5 options I define under aren’t all the pieces that is included in Android 11. Google is sort of assured to have extra surprises in retailer for us. In the meantime, get acquainted with these Android 11 options now, so what’s coming to your telephone later this 12 months. 

Android 11 Fast Controls are a real spotlight

The very first thing it’s 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 ability button in your telephone to convey up the brand new fast controls display screen. On the Pixel, a minimum of, this display screen offers you energy management choices alongside the highest, supplies shortcuts to your Google Pay playing cards and boarding passes, after which under that you will discover my favourite function of Android 11 — fast controls for sensible dwelling gadgets. 


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

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

My telephone robotically picked a couple 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 immediately on this display screen, 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 dwelling gadgets from this grid by tapping on the menu button and choosing add or edit controls. 

Messaging Bubbles on your buddies appear like they’re going to be helpful 

Keep in mind Bubbles? This function was speculated to be a part of Android 10, however Google pulled it on the final minute. Properly, they’re again. 

Bubbles are just like Fb Messengers “chat heads” function. When activated, a small avatar — or Bubble — in your display screen 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 absolutely opening the app. You may drag the Bubble round your display screen, or drag it to the underside of the display screen to delete it. 

Google up to date the Messages app to work with Bubbles shortly after the general public beta launched. You may need to decide in to the Messages beta program to get the replace.


Bubbles are handy, however will take some adjusting. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

In an effort to use Bubbles for a dialog, faucet on the small Bubbles icon within the bottom-right nook of the notification. Tapping on it would instantly allow Bubbles for that thread.

One other strategy 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 would additionally enable that dialog to interrupt via Do Not Disturb guaranteeing you do not miss any messages. 

You may then drag the icons on your numerous Bubbles chats round in your display screen, or faucet on the avatar for the particular person you need to speak to, and the thread will open up all with out ever leaving the app you are presently utilizing. I am glad that is an opt-in function, primarily based on every thread, as a substitute of an all or nothing function like Chat Heads. It is messy and downright overwhelming. 

To eliminate a bubble for a selected dialog, simply drag the icon to the small X that exhibits up on the backside of your display screen.

App Ideas 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 strategies on the house display screen. Not sure of what precisely that was, I reluctantly agreed. Seems, it is fairly darn cool. 

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


App strategies on the house display screen are new. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

The apps have a glowing border round them, and regularly change whenever you return to your property display screen as you employ your telephone. You may long-press on any of the app icons to pin that suggestion to your property display screen. 

It’s also possible to block apps from displaying up as strategies if you don’t need one thing like Gmail displaying up despite the fact that you employ a special e-mail app. 

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

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 a substitute of playback controls wanting extra like a pending notification, they’re positioned within the Fast Settings panel on the prime of your display screen. And whenever you work together with them, there is a new choice to regulate the place the music is taking part in. 

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


The brand new media controls certain look good. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

As of public beta 2, the function ought to be enabled by default and you do not have to do something to get it to work. Nonetheless, if you happen to set up the Android 11 beta, and the function is nowhere to be discovered whenever you start taking part in music. Do not get discouraged — it is there, however it’s hidden. 

You may must allow Developer Choices in your telephone by opening the Settings app and going to About telephone. Scroll to the underside of the display screen 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 telephone. 

The following time you begin taking part in some music, the brand new media controls will probably be accessible. 

A built-in display screen recorder

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


You may lastly document your display screen with an official Google device. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

You’ll find the Display Report device 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. 

Faucet on the Display Report icon and choose whether or not you need your microphone to document 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 probably be saved to your digicam roll the place you’ll be able to then edit and share the recording. 

We will preserve digging into Android 11 and see what different goodies are hidden or added all through the remainder of the beta course of. There are some vital modifications to how Android handles privateness settings it’s best to know, as effectively. Within the meantime, if you happen to simply cannot watch for Android 11 to launch later this 12 months, you’ll be able to set up it proper now

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