A brand new Android model is intriguing, thrilling, and — let’s be sincere — generally a bit perplexing. Particularly these days, it is all too widespread to see a shiny new replace present up in your cellphone, eagerly look to see what contemporary treats are in retailer, after which end up scratching your head as you wrestle to see what’s totally different and the way you need to be making the most of no matter was delivered to your machine.
There is no denying it: Android’s evolution has grown considerably extra refined over time. Whereas early Android updates represented huge leaps ahead and near-constant reinventions of the working system, extra fashionable Android rollouts are inclined to revolve largely round refinement and small however important touches. It is a wise shift at this level within the platform’s growth, but it surely usually makes it powerful to know in the event you’re tapping into every little thing Google’s newest software program offers.
And Android 11 is definitely no exception. The newest Android launch is chock-full of vital additions, however a lot of them are beneath the hood and never instantly apparent. And even those which might be on the floor require a teensy little bit of tweaking to be dropped at their full potential.
Whether or not you simply received Android 11 not too long ago or have had it since its formal launch final September, the tips about this web page will aid you unlock all the software program’s sensible worth. The magic’s already all there and ready; it is simply as much as you to hunt it out and embrace it.
In the event you’re among the many many non-Google-phone homeowners nonetheless ready for the software program to succeed in you, hold onto this information for the long run — and take a look at my separate story on bringing Android-11-like options onto any cellphone as we speak for some intelligent methods to offer your self comparable components within the meantime.
(Word that the options and steps described under are all related to Google’s authentic Android 11 software program, which is current on Pixel telephones, Android One gadgets, and sure different merchandise. Some Android phone-makers modify the working system and even sometimes omit options for no obvious motive — so in the event you’re utilizing a tool that does not follow Google’s default Android association, a number of the components talked about right here could also be totally different or in a couple of circumstances solely absent in your cellphone.)
1. Essentially the most consequential addition in Android 11, particularly from a enterprise perspective, is the elevated set of instruments the software program offers you for privateness safety — so do not let that go to waste!
The primary and most vital factor you may need to reap the benefits of is the software program’s extra nuanced controls for digital camera, location, and microphone permissions. As of Android 11, you’ll be able to grant apps entry to these areas on a restricted, single-session foundation — that means the permissions will expire and must be requested anew as quickly as you exit the app and transfer on to one thing else.
However, critically, any apps that had been in your cellphone earlier than the Android 11 improve will have already got everlasting permissions granted — so it is as much as you to return and reassess ’em as wanted.
To take action, open up the Privateness part of your system settings and faucet “Permission supervisor.” One after the other, look via the classes for “Digicam,” “Location,” and “Microphone.” In the event you see any accredited permissions that you just’d quite have dealt with on a case-by-case foundation, faucet the related app’s line after which change its setting to “Ask each time.”
With any apps you put in from this level ahead, the immediate to make that call will come up robotically the primary time the app requests one of many related permissions — so it is solely with present apps that it’s essential to carry out this one-time evaluation.
2. The opposite Android 11 privateness characteristic that requires your motion is the software program’s means to robotically revoke delicate permissions from apps that you have not opened or in any other case utilized in a matter of months. Oddly, that functionality is not all the time on by default — so head into the Apps (or Apps & Notifications) part of your system settings, faucet the road to see your whole apps, if wanted, after which faucet the title of any app the place you want that habits to happen.
Subsequent, you may need to faucet “Permissions” and search for a line labeled “Take away permissions if app is not used.” Activate the toggle subsequent to it, after which relaxation simple understanding that the doorways to your delicate information will robotically shut if the app in query ever will get forgotten.
3. Notifications get a pleasant improve with a brand new devoted “Conversations” part in Android 11, and you’ll take management of how precisely it really works. Anytime you obtain a message inside an app that helps the characteristic, simply press and maintain the notification to disclose a brand new possibility that’ll set it as a precedence dialog — which causes its notification to seem on the high of the “Conversations” part, with the sender’s profile picture as its personal standalone icon in your standing bar space, and optionally even with an expandable bubble you need to use to maintain the dialog available it doesn’t matter what else you are doing.
4. You possibly can truly flip any appropriate messaging thread right into a bubble, too, no matter whether or not it is set as a priority-level dialog. Simply look within the Apps (or Apps & Notifications) part of your system settings and discover the brand new “Conversations” possibility, then faucet the road similar to the dialog you need to convey into the bubble interface.
That’ll pull up a settings display on which you’ll decide to have the dialog all the time seem inside that persistent bubble, no matter its standing.
5. That very same conversation-specific settings display holds another choice price remembering: the choice to drag a selected messaging thread out of the “Conversations” part altogether in order that it seems as a daily, much less emphasised notification.
6. Ever end up wishing you may convey again a notification you inadvertently swiped away? Android 11 has the answer with its new Notification Historical past characteristic. Make certain to allow it by going into the Apps (or Apps & Notifications) part of your system settings, then tapping “Notifications” adopted by “Notification historical past.” Flip the toggle on the high of the display into the on place, and every time you’ve at the least one notification current, you may see a brand new “Historical past” possibility that’ll take you to a listing of all dismissed alerts from the previous 24 hours.
Shortcuts and time-savers
7. Android 11’s most sensible new characteristic, in the event you ask me, is the connected-device command middle it brings into the system energy menu — the display that comes up while you press and maintain your cellphone’s bodily energy button. Some device-makers, sadly, determined to drag this characteristic out of the working system earlier than sending it to their prospects (hello, Samsung!), but it surely’s unquestionably a shining spotlight of the newest Android software program.
As long as you are utilizing a cellphone the place that aspect hasn’t been eliminated, press and maintain that newly empowered energy button for a second or so, and you will see your new finest good friend pop proper up in entrance of you — full with controls for any sensible lights, cameras, thermostats, or different such merchandise which might be arrange in your setting and related to your Google account.
8. You’d by no means understand it from wanting, however the tiles inside that new energy button menu can do extra than simply act as mere on-off toggles. For any tiles the place extra choices can be found, you too can long-press to drag up superior prospects in a easy overlay display.
9. As useful as it may be, that connected-device command middle may also get a bit cluttered. If, like me, you discover the on-by-default presence of gigantic photos displaying your Google-Pay-connected bank cards in that space to be of little sensible worth, head into the System space of your system settings, faucet “Gestures,” after which faucet “Energy menu” adopted by “Playing cards & passes.” (In case your cellphone’s menu construction does not match that, strive looking out your system settings for energy menu to get to a comparable place.)
Flip the toggle on the display that comes up into the off place, and that Pay-related aspect of the ability menu might be gone for good.
10. Along with eliminating pointless components from Android 11’s energy menu, you’ll be able to add in new connected-device controls and alter the order of the prevailing controls to place your most regularly accessed objects into particularly easy-to-reach locations. Faucet the three-dot menu icon inside the energy menu after which choose both “Add controls” or “Edit controls” to reap the benefits of both chance.
11. You do not have to cease with related gadgets, both. With a couple of minutes of superior configuration, you’ll be able to add virtually something into the Android 11 energy menu — an always-accessible shortcut to launch Android’s split-screen perform, a easy on-screen button for capturing a screenshot of any app, or perhaps a one-tap command for composing a selected prewritten “thanks” e-mail or textual content message to observe a gathering, for a couple of fascinating examples.
All you want is a robust Android app known as Tasker and about 5 minutes of artful configuration to make it occur — and whereas the preliminary setup course of is a teensy bit sophisticated, I’ve received an easy-to-follow information that’ll take you thru it step-by-step.
12. One other simply missed Android 11 goodie is the software program’s addition — or re-addition, to be extra correct — of the power to pin objects to the highest of the system share menu and maintain your mostly used targets on the high.
The share menu, in case the title does not instantly ring a bell, is the factor that comes up while you share one thing from one app to a different — like while you spotlight textual content in an e-mail after which faucet “Share.” Some Android apps now use their very own customized menu for that perform, quite vexingly, however everytime you’re seeing the usual system share menu, you’ll be able to take management of it by urgent and holding any common icon inside its record after which choosing the “Pin” possibility that pops up.
That’ll trigger the app’s icon to stay in a particular high row inside that menu, above every other objects.
You possibly can pin as much as 4 share targets there, they usually’ll all the time seem in that spot in alphabetical order.
Superior audio, video, and visible choices
13. Whereas some Android device-makers have added display recording methods into their software program for ages now, Android 11 marks the primary time such a perform has been constructed into the precise core working system. In the event you’re utilizing a cellphone with Google’s model of Android, you’ll be able to reveal the brand new system-level Display Recorder by swiping down twice from the highest of your display to open the Fast Settings panel, then tapping the small pencil icon in its lower-left nook to edit its contents.
Scroll down till you see an icon labeled “Display Document,” seemingly towards the underside of the record. Press and maintain it after which drag it up right into a place inside the panel’s lively space.
Again out of that modifying device and look again at your Fast Settings menu to search out and use your newly uncovered device.
14. You’d in all probability by no means consider it, however along with supplying you with a simple solution to file demo movies and carry out troubleshooting in your cellphone, Android’s Display Recorder can allow you to file an ongoing name — whether or not it is a common cellphone name or one revamped a community (with or with out video) by way of an app. Simply activate that very same Display Document perform when a name is underway, then faucet the “Document audio” line and alter the setting from “Microphone” to “Machine audio and microphone.”
Simply ensure you are conscious of any legal guidelines surrounding that course of in your space earlier than you start. Some states require just one particular person to conform to any recordings being made throughout a name, whereas others require everybody on a name to offer consent. Insurance policies range internationally as properly.
15. One in every of Android’s finest hidden options is its means to pop an actively enjoying video or perhaps a Google Maps navigation right into a small floating window while you transfer away from the related app. As of Android 11, that characteristic will get much more helpful with the utterly invisible means to resize the window of any such picture-in-picture field.
After getting one in place, simply drag your finger in or out diagonally on any of its corners to make it larger or smaller. Who knew?!
16. Talking of media, Android 11 introduces an clever new consolidated media participant that places controls for any audio or video enjoying out of your cellphone right into a single, streamlined area above your notification panel — as an alternative of getting every app create its personal unbiased set of controls that exists as a notification. Generally, although, that new participant sticks round properly previous its welcome, lengthy after you’ve got completed interacting with the content material.
Properly, take be aware: You possibly can press and maintain the participant to discover a tucked-away choice to dismiss it and ship it a-packin’. In case you have a number of gamers going directly, you’ll be able to swipe to the best or left on the participant interface to maneuver between ’em after which long-press on the participant whereas any supply is displaying to dismiss it.
17. In the event you discover the Android 11 media participant begins sticking round too lengthy as a common rule, strive looking out your cellphone’s settings for media. Except your machine’s producer has eliminated the choice, you need to discover a setting known as “Media participant in Fast Settings” (or one thing alongside these traces). Pull it up and transfer the toggle related to it to the off place. That’ll inform Android that you just do not need it to maintain the participant round “for an prolonged interval” even after you’ve got completed listening.
18. Final however not least, in the event you regularly end up looking at your cellphone in dim lighting, do your self a favor and reap the benefits of Android 11’s new Darkish Theme scheduling functionality. Look within the Show part of your system settings to search out the “Darkish Theme” possibility, then faucet its line — the precise textual content, not the toggle subsequent to it — and you will see the newly added “Schedule” characteristic. You possibly can set the Darkish Theme to return on and off robotically at sundown and dawn, respectively, or you’ll be able to create your personal schedule in the event you’d quite preserve a unique set of nighttime hours.
The opposite possibility, in fact, is to show your flippin’ cellphone off and go to mattress already — however that, as everyone knows, is usually simpler mentioned than carried out.