Most Android users, with smartphones, roam with Android 10 or less rocking, but not you. No sir.
Instead, you’re one of the lucky ones with a handset that goes all the way up to 11 – and only some of the best Android phones allow it. It’s louder than Android 10, according to our Scribbled calculations, which means you’ll have a plethora of new features.
We’ll take a look at some of the fancy new features below so you can be sure you’re building Google’s latest and greatest mobile OS. If you’re not currently using an Android 11 smartphone, but just want to end your curiosity, that’s fine too.
From soup-up messaging to hidden Easter eggs, screen recordings and more, there’s a lot to discover, so let’s jump straight.
1. A little more conversation
Our phones can be a pink mess of direct messages, WhatsApp tsp group updates, game notifications, breaking news and much more.
It’s easy to lose important messages amidst this barrage of information, which is why the new Conversation tab in Android 11 is the perfect godsend to bring some much needed organization into your life.
Sweeping from top to bottom in Android 11 now divides information into two groups: notifications and conversations. The former has general notifications of apps, while the latter is made up of all notifications like chat apps, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter, allowing you to prioritize them.
2. A little less conversation
While it’s nice to be in touch, we all have at least some WhatsApp groups that have keyboard-happy members, that don’t know much about when to put their phones down to embrace the much-needed silence. Thankfully, Android 11 lets you prioritize important messages while keeping silent on less important issues – for example, consider pixelated Facebook memes sent from your mother.
Long pressing a conversation in the dropdown will present three options: Priority, Warning, and Silence.
Priority conversations will always appear at the top, showing a yellow highlight around their icon. Not easy if you are expecting an important message, you can also choose priority conversations to ignore the Not Disturb rule.
Alert notifications usually behave, while silence protects certain threads from alerting your phone. They will still appear in your instructions, mind you, but at the bottom of the list. Using all three options will help relieve the headaches associated with Chetty WhatsApp groups, while still bringing important messages to your attention.
3. Blowing bubbles
While we’re talking, Android 11 also has built-in support for chat bubbles – a feature that will be familiar to Facebook Messenger users.
When you receive a new message, swipe from top to bottom and check your chat notification. If the application supports bubbles, there will be a small circle in the bottom-right corner of the notification. Tap it, and you’ll create a chat bubble – a floating circular icon that stays at the top of anything you’re doing on the screen.
New messages will appear from the bubble without taking up your full screen; Message tapping allows you to reply. This is especially useful if you want to continue a conversation with another task or watch a video. To dismiss the bubble, hold it straight and drag it to the ‘X’ that appears at the bottom of the screen.
Screen. Screen recording is finally here
The built-in screen-recording functionality is something we’ve been waiting for years to see baked in Android, and while it’s been available in handsets like OnePlus for a while, we’re finally happy to see it included as the latest standard. Android version.
Just drag from top to bottom and tap the screen record icon to expand the quick settings of the notification bar. When you do, you’ll have the option to choose whether you want to record .dio using a microphone or device’s dio. Once it’s done, a three-second timer will appear before everything is recorded.
While our main use will be to record case tech tutorials, it will be easy to show parents how to navigate the complex settings of Android or especially for those who want to record gameplay during a busy gaming session.
5. Second chance
We’ve all had the experience of going away when it comes to notification. Sometimes, it is far from a sharp instinct, honored by your ancient, panther-like reflex. At other times, it may be the result of finding an email with words like ‘overdue’ or ‘Christmas plans,’ which relieves your panic.
Unfortunately, however, these false swipes can prove to be a pain, especially if you rely on instructions as a form of to-do list. Thanks, Android 11 includes an option that allows you to quickly forward your suggestion history. Tap the history button at the bottom of the notification shed and you will be treated with all your notifications from the last 24 hours, so you can easily see what you lost
6. Embrace the darkness
We’re huge fans of dark themes in apps, as they’re less harsh on the eyes, and a little extra battery life can help if you’re using a phone with an OLED display.
Even if you find yourself constantly switching between dark and light themes, then, Android 11 will make your life a little easier by giving you the ability to automatically schedule dark themes.
You can choose to embrace darkness from sunset to sunrise, protect your eyes from exposure to harsh blue lights in the evening, or choose the time of your choice. Just drag down the Quick Settings menu from the top of the screen, hit the dark theme icon and select the scheduling option of your choice.
7. Share the pin ‘n’
One of the things we’ve always loved about Android (yes, we have a list) is its strong sharing features, which were long before iPhone users were supposed to have the same capabilities.
The only downside is that choosing which app you want to share can be a messy process. If you have a lot of apps, you can finish scrolling through some page options before choosing what you want to share.
Android 11 simplifies this process by allowing you to pin your favorite / most used sharing apps to the front of the pack, saving you precious seconds every time you share something. Simple, yet incredibly effective.
Android 11 comes with improved media controls that are less intrusive than before. For starters, they now appear in the Quick Settings bar in the form of a mini-control setup with the default game / pause, the name of what’s going on with the previous and next track options.
The new mode is great, as it reduces the area below, leaving more room for your instructions. Drag further down and the media control expands to the top of the screen, providing more options – such as the ability to ‘select’ a track.
If you have a music app like the Podcast app, YouTube and / or Spotify Open, you can also swipe for individual control for each app, which is great news for audio multitaskers.
9. Application notifications (pixels only)
Pixel owners have a chance to glot here, as this feature is currently only compatible with Google’s Pixel phones.
If you’re currently running a Pixel device with Android 11, you can use Google’s AI Smarts to predict which apps you’ll be able to use, based on past usage at different times of the day. For example, if you want to wake up your brain every morning with a cup of coffee and a cat GIF, you’ll find the Reddit app built into the dock.
Later, around noon, it can be replaced by a Twitter icon, as you are likely to go to a post-lunch rent about the state of the economy in the game. Destiny 2 (Or whatever happens to your routine).
You also have the option of removing certain apps from the selection pool or turning off the feature altogether, but it is definitely worth a try if you have pixels in your pocket.
10. Power Button 2.0
Android 11 supercharges your power button, allowing it to do more than turn off or restart your phone. Holding it now launches a new screen, which will add more options than simple power.
This includes a shortcut to using Google Pay, making it easier to quickly purchase a low down lunch sandwich from a local supermarket of your choice. Below that, Android 11 will pre-create the New Home section with your six connected smart devices, allowing you to quickly and easily control your lights, thermostat and more in one instant. If you wish, of course, you can edit this list with your most used devices.
Overall, this is one of our favorite additions to Android 11, as it allows you to access useful features without having to run separate apps. Well done, Google.
11. Make friends with a cat
Android has long been famous for its built-in Easter eggs, and version 11 is no exception. Follow the steps below and you will soon become a proud companion of a host of virtual cat friends.
- Fire Settings, then go to ‘About Phone’
- Tap ‘Android Version’
- On this screen, repeatedly hit the ‘Android version’
- Crank the volume dial all the way up to 11
- After three attempts, you should see a small cat emoji at the bottom of the screen, popping up at number 11.
- Hold down the power button
- Select ‘Add Controls’
- Select ‘View other apps’ at the bottom
- Select ‘Cat Control’
- Choose a water bubbler, food and toy
- Return to the Power menu screen
- Select the down arrow next to ‘Home’ and select ‘Cat Control’.
- Swipe over the water bubble to fill it, tap the food bowl and tap the cat
- Ask what you do with your life while waiting to add a virtual numbered cat to your collection
Freelance twitter maven. Infuriatingly humble coffee aficionado. Amateur gamer. Typical beer fan. Avid music scholar. Alcohol nerd.