Google released the first preview for Android 11 developers on Wednesday 19th February 2020. The release anticipates features and functionality that are expected to be included in the final operating system edition, such as improved application permissions control, messenger bubbles, improved performance on 5G networks and more.
The preview can be installed manually only on Pixel mobile phones. Quite developer-oriented, the edition does not have any noticeable changes in the graphical interface and has changes that impact the system’s operation more discreetly. Here are some of the most noticeable changes that can affect the daily lives of Android 11 users.
Activation of dark mode at specific times
Android 10 already supports activation of the so-called dark mode throughout the system interface, but the feature works only manually. The new feature introduced in the Android 11 preview is that it supports a scheduling feature: those who prefer can set a schedule so that the phone automatically switches between dark and light interfaces.
The feature is simple and not exactly new since brands such as Samsung have created methods that allow the user to set times for activation and deactivation of the dark interface in models with Android 10.
Mute notifications during video recording
Another new feature of Android 11 is the ability to prevent applications from interrupting video recording with notifications that make the phone make sounds and vibrate. In principle, this new feature will be part of the camera app settings and can be activated by the user. With the feature turned on, the camera will prevent other applications from making notifications and hindering the making of a video or the clicking of a photo.
New features for conversations
The Android 11 preview comes with several news related to messaging apps. One of the most significant changes is the ability to answer messages directly from notifications, which now have a dedicated area called “Conversations”. With the new feature, it is now possible to hold conversations and respond to contacts from different apps through the notification area, without ever having to open the respective apps.
The feature also allows the sending of images and videos through the structure: this way, it becomes possible to send a screenshot or a photo to the direct contact through the notification, without having to access the app. For it to work, the chat application in question must support copying and pasting images.
Another new feature is the chat bubbles for all chat apps. Similar to Facebook Messenger, applications like WhatsApp and Telegram can take advantage of the on-screen bubble to make accessing conversations more convenient.
Storage Access Restrictions
Another feature that debuts on the preview and finds a parallel in Apple’s iOS, is a feature that makes apps installed on the smartphone without being able to “see” the system’s directory structure. The measure has to do with security and privacy, but should also make it easier to control the internal space for data since the applications are now only able to access their folders.
Authorize permissions only once
Granular control of apps’ access permissions to mobile features will be enhanced even further. Starting with Android 11, the user will be able to set some permissions, such as camera access and GPS location, only while using the app at that specific time.
In this model, permissions are revoked as soon as you stop using the app. If you return to the app at another time, you will have to allow access to these features again. The idea is to strengthen the access control to tools that may end up compromising the user’s privacy such as camera, microphone, and geolocation. The counterpart is the need to manually reactivate permissions whenever you use the affected apps.
Native screen recording
Some manufacturers’ customized versions of Android already offer a similar screen recording feature. However, the feature gains native support in the preview released by Google. The feature will be available in the system’s quick settings tray with a button that starts recording and also lets you stop it.
When the recording is finished, an MP4 video file is generated by the phone. Just like a static screenshot, the user can view the end result immediately, or share the file.
Android 11 Supported Devices
At the moment Android 11 is only available on Pixel phones. It can be downloaded from the Android developer’s page. It is important to mention that this is the first beta, so it is likely that many bugs will appear. These are the supported models.
- Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
- Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL
- Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL
- Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL
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