Android 11’s first Developer Preview is out now. This build is for developers only, and not for regular users as the public beta is still a few months away. But from the early looks of it, Android 11 brings a pretty impressive set of features, and it seems Google has been keenly listening to user feedback and taking cognisance of their rants about missing features. There are chat bubbles, ability to send images in quick replies, one-time permissions for apps, and a lot more. Here are the top ten Android 11 features that we have come across so far:
1. Chat bubbles
Android 11 introduces Bubbles API, which means messaging apps can now use bubbles to make conversations more accessible. How does it work? Well, users will see a bubble on the screen which they can tap to open a small window where they see the recent messages and send a quick reply without opening the app. It will be enabled by default for all compatible apps, and users won’t have to tinker with developer settings to activate it. Pretty neat touch!
2. Better permission control
Tired of apps asking for permission to access location, mic, camera, or whatever? Android 11 makes things much easier by introducing a one-time permission option that will let users grant an app certain permissions for only one session while it is being used. As soon as the app is closed, the permissions are revoked. This will be implemented via the “Ask Every Time” option. Also, if you grow tired of an app asking for permissions, there is a way out of it as well. In Android 11, if users deny permissions twice for an app, it won’t ask for it a third time.
3. Conversations section in the notification shade
Chat bubbles are awesome, but what if an app doesn’t support it? Google has something for such scenarios too in its next major OS version. Android 11 comes with a dedicated conversation section in the notifications shade where you can see an ongoing conversation with just a downward swipe. This makes chats more accessible without making users actually open the app.
4. Send images from the notifications shade
Android 11 allows users to send a quick response to a message on WhatsApp or similar apps from the notifications shade, but you can’t send images. That changes with Android 11, as it allows users to copy images from apps like Chrome to their Gboard clipboard, and send it as a reply to inline chat notifications without opening the app.
5. Schedule Dark Mode
The name says it all. Android 11 lets users schedule when Dark Mode is enabled or disabled, based either on the default sunset and sunlight time preset, or by creating a custom schedule. This works similar to how scheduling works for Night Light in Android 10.
6. Carry a digital copy of your driving license
Android 11 adds support for securely storing and retrieving verifiable identification documents such as a driving license. Google says this feature will support ISO 18013-5 compliant documents, however, there is no word on the progress Google has made regarding regulatory approval to securely store more documents like certificates, banking cards, and more. It does sound similar to the Doc Vault app in ColorOS 7 that has been certified by the Indian government to store documents such as ID cards, educational certificates, and more.
7. Mute vibrations while using the camera app
It is a huge nuisance when the phone vibrates for an incoming call alert or alarm while we are using the camera app. Android 11 brings new APIs that mute such vibration alerts when the camera app is active.
8. New Motion Sense gestures
With Android 11, the Pixel 4 has reportedly received a pair of new air gestures that take advantage of the phone’s Soli radar chip. Pixel 4 users can now pause or play a song by just tapping (or mimicking a tap gesture) in the air above the phone. Earlier, Pixel 4 only allowed users to wave above the phone to change the track.
9. Bluetooth remains active during flight mode
Enabling flight mode on an Android phone cuts off the cellular network, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity as well. So, if you have paired a Bluetooth device like wireless earbuds, you can no longer enjoy music. Android 11 will change things up, as enabling flight mode on an Android 11 phone no longer turns off Bluetooth.
Android 10’s share menu is still a hassle and if you have to search for apps where you want to share something. Android 11 will reportedly let users pin up to four of their most frequently used apps to the share menu. Users can do so by just long-pressing on an app’s icon in the share menu and then tapping on the ‘Pin’ button.
Android 11 has also tweaked how the screenshot capture UI looks, but more importantly, it also adds supports for a scrolling screenshot feature. XDA-Developers reports that the “Extend” prompt for screenshots has not been activated in the first developer build, but it is a clear sign that the feature will eventually make its way to users via the upcoming builds.
Stock Android users have long demanded a native scrolling screenshot tool, considering the fact that custom Android skins like OxygenOS have had it for quite some time. There are a host of other user-facing and developer-specific enhancements in Android 11 as well, such as support for more display types, camera improvements, 5G-related enhancements, easier debugging process, and more.