Does your phone have Android 11? Don’t miss out on these 7 best new features

Get to know Android 11 to unlock all the brand new options. 

John Kim/PJDM

Though Google launched Android 11 in early September, relying on who makes your telephone, it may very well be some time before you’ll see the update and improvements. It is value nothing a number of the extra thrilling adjustments. Or if you happen to’d moderately not wait on your older telephone to get the most recent taste of Android, Google just announced two new phones — the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5 — and each run Android 11 out of the field. Whether or not you purchase a brand new Pixel telephone, or anticipate Android 11 to succeed in your present gadget, there’s a lot to get enthusiastic about. 

You may discover refined tweaks all through the brand new working system that make a giant distinction in how you will use your telephone every single day. For instance, there is a new Bubbles chat function that makes it simple to maintain messaging from any app. My private favourite is the brand new fast controls web page for accessing my sensible house gadgets with a swipe and there is a new screen-recording device for displaying off your favourite gameplay, or to assist somebody troubleshoot a difficulty. 

These are seven of my favourite Android 11 options and tips on how to use them.


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

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/PJDM

Android 11 Fast Controls are a real spotlight

The very first thing it is best to do after putting in Android 11 is long-press the ability button in your telephone to convey up the brand new fast controls display screen. On the Pixel, not less than, this display screen provides you energy management choices alongside the highest and supplies shortcuts to your Google Pay cards and boarding passes. Then under that you’re going to discover my favourite function of Android 11 — fast controls for smart home gadgets. 

My telephone robotically picked a number 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 instantly on this display screen with out having to open the Nest app, which is gradual and a ache to make use of. It is nice. 

You may add or take away sensible house gadgets from this grid by tapping the menu button and choosing add or edit controls.

Google Assistant can wait on maintain for you

As an alternative of ready on maintain, listening to the identical boring music on loop, Google is bringing a brand new function to Assistant and it is debuting with the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5

Referred to as Hold For Me, Google Assistant’s new trick exhibits a immediate on the display screen letting you already know you’ll be able to go about doing no matter it’s you need to do and your telephone will provide you with a warning when somebody lastly solutions. 

To ensure that the function to work, you could flip it on by opening the Cellphone app, tapping on the three-dot menu icon, then faucet Settings. Choose Maintain for me from the record of choices, then flip it on. 

Going ahead, when your telephone detects you’ve got known as a customer support quantity and you’ve got vibrate, silent mode or do-not-disturb turned off, the in-call display screen could have a Maintain for me button you can press if you’re positioned on maintain. 

Faucet Begin after which a display screen will present up reminding you to not hold up. You will not be capable to take heed to music or use your telephone to play a video whereas on the decision. 

There will probably be a textual content transcript that is proven, stay, just under the decision display screen to let you already know what’s been stated earlier than you come back to the decision, or so that you can monitor whether or not or not it is a recording thanking you for being affected person, or if somebody has truly answered the decision. 

Once you’re taken off maintain, your telephone will vibrate and ring, as if you happen to’re getting a name, to let you already know “Somebody’s ready to speak to you” so you’ll be able to then resume the decision. 

I examined out Maintain for Me by calling Comcast and I used to be in a position to virtually instantly have the Assistant start listening to the decision for me. The stay transcription was a pleasant bonus that I wasn’t anticipating to see, however will certainly make it simpler to determine if you could reply the telephone earlier than Assistant alerts you. 


Maintain for me is a fairly darn cool function. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/PJDM

New message notifications get the limelight

After putting in Android 11, you will discover that alerts from your whole messaging apps, like Google Messages, have a devoted “Conversations” part in your notification tray. 

The change makes it simpler to seek out the alerts you probably care about most, however if you happen to obtain plenty of messages, even this part can get messy. 

As an alternative of letting Google type your new alerts by itself, long-press the dialog you need to comply with intently and choose Precedence. Doing it will transfer new messages in that thread to the highest of your whole dialog alerts, activate Bubbles (extra on that under), and use the contact’s avatar because the alert icon within the notification tray and on the lock display screen.   

Having the ability to look on the notification tray and see a profile icon, as a substitute of the usual textual content alert that does not supply any actually worthwhile info, is a pleasant contact. 

Messaging Bubbles on your pals 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. It made the lower for Android 11. 

Bubbles are much like Fb Messenger’s “chat heads” function. When activated, a small avatar — or Bubble — exhibits up in your display screen and is 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. 

With a purpose to use Bubbles for a dialog, faucet on the small Bubbles icon within the bottom-right nook of the notification. Tapping on it’ll instantly allow Bubbles for that thread. Alternatively, you’ll be able to mark a dialog as a precedence to all the time use Bubbles for that contact. 


Bubbles are handy, however will take some adjusting to. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/PJDM

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 discuss to, and the thread will open up, all with out ever leaving the app you are at the moment utilizing. I am glad that is an opt-in function, based mostly on every thread, as a substitute of an all-or-nothing function like Chat Heads, which might be 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. 

If you wish to utterly disable Bubbles, disallowing any and all apps from triggering the doubtless annoying function, open the Settings app and seek for Bubbles. There will probably be a setting to show off Bubbles altogether. 

App builders might want to replace their app to work with Bubbles, and proper now I can affirm that Google’s Messages app works. Fb Messenger labored all through the Android 11 beta program, however an replace just some days earlier than Android 11 launched appears to have damaged or disabled the combination. Should you’re having hassle getting Bubbles to work, I like to recommend reaching out to the developer and seeing in the event that they plan on including assist for Bubbles. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/PJDM

Android 11 will get fancier music controls

In Android 11, there is a new playback management that not seems as a pending notification. As an alternative, there is a small field that exhibits up as a part of the fast settings panel. You may skip, return, play-pause and swap the gadget the music is taking part in on all from the brand new management field. 

As quickly as you begin taking part in some music, the brand new media controls will probably be accessible. They’re so a lot better than the previous notification. 


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

Jason Cipriani/PJDM

A built-in display screen recorder

Screenshots are a fast and simple 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 showcase your gaming expertise, or spotlight the steps to breed a bug — display screen recording FTW! 

You’ll find the Display File 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 File icon and choose whether or not you need your microphone to document audio and if you would like your contact interactions to be highlighted within the video. To cease recording, faucet the Display File notification. The video will probably be saved to your digicam roll the place you’ll be able to then edit and share the recording. 


App ideas on the house display screen are new. 

Jason Cipriani/PJDM

For Pixel house owners: App Strategies change your app dock

In some unspecified time in the future after putting in Android 11, you will see a immediate asking you to allow app ideas on the house display screen. Basically, the brand new app ideas will change the app dock in your telephone, leaving it as much as your telephone to swap apps out and in of the underside row — or dock — in your telephone, based mostly on which apps you utilize at sure instances of the day. 

The apps have a glowing border round them, letting you already know your telephone added them, and regularly change if you return to your private home display screen as you utilize your telephone. You may long-press on any of the app icons to pin that suggestion to your private home display screen. 

You may as well block apps from displaying up as ideas if you don’t need one thing like Gmail displaying since you use a distinct e-mail app. 

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

Google additionally made some important changes to how Android handles privacy settings it is best to know, as nicely. Should you’re on the lookout for directions to put in Android 11, we have your back


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Android 11: What’s new within the public beta


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Jason Cipriani