Android 11’s most vital additions could also be extra about privateness than any front-facing flashiness, however the software program certain does have its share of serious surface-level enhancements.I’ve been utilizing the brand new Android 11 Beta launch because it arrived final Wednesday. It’s our first actual have a look at Google’s full (or no less than near-complete) imaginative and prescient for the following Android model, and it has fairly a number of new small however impactful experience-enhancing parts. Some of ’em match into the three broad themes I lined in my most up-to-date publication, whereas others are simply scattered little treasures strewn all through the software program.But all of ’em are stuff you would not essentially discover by yourself — and, in some instances, would not even see until you knew which out-of-the-way change to flip.Whether you are among the many adventurous explorers already attempting out Android 11 otherwise you’re conserving an analytical eye on it from a distance, these noteworthy new touches are value contemplating and/or conserving in thoughts for the long run.(Of observe: I would not counsel most individuals set up the Android 11 Beta at this level — particularly not on a main cellphone that is wanted for day-to-day productiveness. The software program is comparatively secure, but it surely’s nonetheless a beta-level launch that is unfinished and never supposed for broad, public use, and you’ll run into occasional glitches and app compatibility points when utilizing it.)Android 11 gem #1: Notification HistoryFirst up is a characteristic I’ve been longing to see in Android for ages: a built-in and person pleasant Notification History part. What’s current in Android 11 is not the complete notification inbox idea I’d been envisioning, however hey, child steps, proper?All quibbling apart, Android 11’s Notification History characteristic does precisely what you’d anticipate: It offers you a simple approach to look again at notifications you have dismissed and even work together with their contents as in the event that they have been nonetheless current. You can return so far as 24 hours — however there is a catch: The characteristic will not be current until you first discover and allow it.To try this, open up the Apps & Notifications part of your system settings, faucet the road that claims “Notifications,” after which search for the brand new “Notification history” line on the prime of the display screen that comes up. Tap that, and you can activate a toggle to show the characteristic on.And when you do, effectively, good golly, how ’bout that?JR There she is! You can pull up your fancy new Notification History part anytime by on the lookout for the “History” possibility beneath your notifications.JR So lengthy, accidental-swipe-away remorse!Android 11 gem #2: Priority dialog alertsOne of Android 11’s most attention-grabbing changes is the best way it emphasizes conversation-related notifications — placing all such alerts, no matter what messaging app they got here from, into their very own separate part on the prime of your notification panel. But there’s one other a part of that system that is fairly highly effective and useful to have.When you press and maintain any notification throughout the new Conversations part, you will see a one-touch possibility for setting it as a “Priority” dialog:JR Activating that possibility will trigger any future alerts from that particular contact to look on the prime of your Conversations part — and, in a neat little contact, will even trigger that individual’s profile picture to look as its personal separate icon throughout the standing bar on the prime of your display screen every time a notification from them is current.JR Visual novelty apart, that actually does make it simpler to see when one thing notably urgent — an incoming message out of your boss, an alert about your extra-large meatball sandwich being prepared for pickup, or regardless of the case could also be — is demanding your consideration.Android 11 gem #3: BubblesAs you might or might not know by now, I’m very intrigued by Bubbles — a brand new multitasking system we first heard about in Android 10 and are simply now attending to expertise for the primary time. Well, nearly.The thought behind Bubbles is to have a system-level interface for conserving vital conversations (and maybe additionally finally different kinds of content material) on demand and available anytime through a small round icon that sits atop no matter else you are doing. Tap the icon, and the related dialog will seem in a floating window. Tap it once more, and it will get condensed again down into the bubble.The drawback, as of proper now, is that Bubbles requires apps to assist it in an effort to imply something — and to date, finest I can inform, someplace between “hardly any” and “absolutely zero” apps truly do. But that is sure to alter earlier than lengthy, through Google’s personal Messages app, if nothing else. (The official phrase from Google is that Messages ought to get Bubbles assist in its beta channel throughout the subsequent couple weeks after which extra broadly someday within the subsequent month or so.)In the meantime, you may get your cellphone prepared for Bubbles by enabling the characteristic: Just head again into the Apps & Notifications part of your system settings, once more faucet “Notifications,” and this time, search for the road labeled “Bubbles.”Tap that, then flip on the toggle to activate it.JR You also can manually allow or disable any particular app’s capacity to show a dialog right into a bubble by going again to the principle Apps & Notification display screen inside your system settings, tapping the “See all apps” line, then discovering and deciding on the app you need within the record. Once you are within the app’s settings display screen, faucet “Notifications” after which search for the “Bubbles” possibility there.JR Mmm…bubbly.Android 11 gem #4: Custom share pinningThis subsequent factor is an particularly tiny and trivial-seeming contact, however my goodness, am I ever excited to see it. It’s the return of a little-known, underappreciated possibility from Android’s Nougat period that allows you to customise the system share menu — the record of choices that pops up while you hit the Share command from inside an app.Android’s share menu is a helpful approach to transfer information from one app to a different, however the choices you utilize probably the most typically aren’t on the prime of the record. Well, after eliminating the flexibility to customise the order sooner or later alongside the best way, Google is giving us again that energy. And I, for one, will gladly settle for it.To take management of your system share menu in Android 11, simply share one thing from an app — as an illustration, in Chrome, you may faucet the three-dot menu icon whereas viewing an internet web page after which choose Share — after which simply press and maintain your finger to any icon within the record that pops up and faucet the choice to pin it.JR That’ll place the icon right into a particular part on the prime of your share menu, the place it will seem persistently it doesn’t matter what app you are sharing from (as long as the app is not annoyingly utilizing its personal customized share interface as an alternative of the system customary, that’s — grumble, grumble, grumble).It was an superior hidden gem when it first confirmed up again in 2016, and it is simply as superior upon its revival as we speak.Android 11 gem #5: A local display screen recorderEver end up needing to document one thing in your display screen — possibly to point out another person a characteristic or to offer a distanced demo of some kind? Traditionally, you have wanted a third-party app on Android to perform that. As of Android 11, that is now not the case.This first beta features a new native display screen recording system, though — as soon as once more — it is as much as you to seek out it.The possibility is tucked away in your Quick Settings part, so begin by swiping down from the highest of your display screen twice to open that space up — then faucet the tiny little pencil icon within the lower-left nook to edit it.Once you have finished that, it’s best to be capable of scroll down and discover an icon for “Screen Record” within the part of the display screen dedicated to inactive Quick Settings choices. Hold your finger onto its icon and drag it up into any spot you want throughout the energetic Quick Settings space, then again out of that modifying menu, and it’s best to be capable of discover the icon precisely the place you plopped it:JR All that is left is to faucet that sucker, and ta-da:JR You may even choose to have the recorder seize audio through the cellphone’s mic, in case you wish to narrate together with no matter you are displaying, and you may have it make a visible mark on the display screen each time you contact wherever in an effort to illustrate precisely what you are doing. (With the third-party recorder apps of yore, you’d must wade deep into Android’s developer choices in an effort to accomplish such a feat.)Unfortunately, the system continues to be missing some display screen recorder fundamentals — like the flexibility to edit what you recorded and to transform it into an animated GIF for simple sharing — but it surely’s a begin!Android 11 gem #6: Smarter voice controlWe’ve talked earlier than about how Android’s Voice Access system is extremely helpful, even in case you do not want it for accessibility functions — and with Android 11, the characteristic will get much more sensible and highly effective.With previous Android variations, you may use Voice Access for fundamental app-opening and on-screen navigation. You may use it for getting round apps, too, however solely by saying the quantity it’d place on the display screen subsequent to selectable gadgets — efficient, certain, however not the only or most intuitive system.JR Well, with Android 11 in place, you possibly can merely say the identify of any command on the display screen to have Voice Access activate it — no quantity referencing or complex-command-remembering required.That’s clearly invaluable from an accessibility perspective, but it surely’s additionally only a quick and handy method for anybody to do virtually something on a cellphone in a hands-free method. To expertise it, you should set up the Voice Access app after which observe the steps it offers you to activate it.Android 11 gem #7: Dark mode schedulingThis subsequent one’s technically been out there on Pixel telephones for a short time now, due to an earlier Google “feature drop,” but it surely appears to be linked to Android 11 as effectively (and even in case you have a Pixel cellphone, there is a first rate likelihood you had no thought it was there, anyway — three cheers for hidden Pixel options!).It’s one thing super-simple however super-effective: the flexibility to schedule your system-wide darkish mode in order that it goes on and off routinely at sure occasions. That method, you may have your whole cellphone use a darker, easier-on-the-eyes motif from sunset to sundown — or from one particular time till one other particular time (10 p.m. to 7 a.m., maybe, in case you lead as wild of a life as I do).To discover it, skip merrily into the Display part of your system settings, choose the Dark Theme possibility, then faucet the road labeled “Schedule” and decide no matter association you want.Android 11 gem #8: Resizable picture-in-picture video windowsSupport for picture-in-picture video is one more underappreciated Android characteristic, and with Android 11, it will get an especially hard-to-find however useful new contact: When one thing is taking part in in a small floating field in your display screen, Android 11 helps you to resize the field to make it bigger or smaller.The characteristic is actually sort of difficult to make use of in its present type, but it surely’s effectively value determining. Just get one thing right into a picture-in-picture field — by beginning a YouTube video after which returning to your house display screen or switching to a different app, as an illustration, or by beginning a Maps navigation after which doing the identical factor — after which contact your finger to the field’s lower-left or lower-right nook and drag it up or down diagonally.It may take you a number of tries to seek out the exact proper spot, however when you do, you can make the field no matter dimension your valuable little coronary heart needs for much more efficient cell multitasking.Android 11 gem #9: The streamlined media playerLast however not least, certainly one of Android 11’s highest profile however hardest to seek out front-facing options: Android 11 replaces the notification-based media gamers of the previous — the place you’d get a person management panel as a notification for each app through which you begin taking part in audio or video — with a streamlined “carousel” that lives in your Quick Settings space and serves any and all media gamers in a single spot.It’s truly fairly intelligent: Instead of getting all of the completely different gamers in your notifications, you simply have a single participant in that one constant place. And while you’ve had a number of apps taking part in audio or video, you possibly can swipe left or proper on the participant to maneuver from one set of controls to a different.JR There’s a catch, although: As of now, the characteristic is deactivated and fully invisible by default. And you actually must exit of your approach to change that.Here’s how:Enable Android’s developer settings by opening the About Phone part of your system settings, scrolling right down to the “Build number” line on the very backside, and tapping that line seven occasions. The cellphone will verify that you simply wish to allow the settings and can in all probability make you set in your PIN or sample, too.
Back out to the principle settings menu, then go into the System part and faucet “Advanced.”
Tap the road labeled “Developer options” towards the underside of the display screen.
Scroll down ’til you see the Media part and search for the road labeled “Media resumption.”
Activate the toggle subsequent to that, then observe the prompts to restart your cellphone.
And that is it: Anytime you play media from any app shifting ahead, it’s best to see the nifty new carousel participant within the Quick Settings space. (Just do not fiddle with any of the opposite developer settings until what you are doing!)Some attention-grabbing stuff, eh? And we’re solely simply barely getting began.Want much more Googley data? Sign up for my weekly publication to get next-level suggestions and perception delivered on to your inbox.[Android Intelligence videos at Computerworld]
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