Top 5 Android 11 Features: Big Tweaks!

what’s up guys mkbhd here so typically with every single new version of android we’ll get an early look at it in the form of an alpha or beta release then we’ll dig into it find the coolest new features and then share it with you guys now this year with android 11 those earlier builds were honestly a little bit underwhelming like the alpha builds were not super feature rich and they weren’t ready but now that we’re getting towards that time of year where we were supposed to have google i o which was of course canceled but now that we’re getting to that time the beta builds that are coming out especially this first one are a lot more close to final and there’s some good stuff in here so we’re going to dive in and take a look now keep in mind android as just as a whole is a lot more well baked more mature than it was a couple years ago so a couple years ago a version update like this could be a whole visual overhaul this isn’t a visual overhaul anymore this is a lot more tweaking a lot more fine tuning but there is still some cool stuff and some good features in here so that’s what we’re gonna take a look at and uh yeah so this is the top five new features in android 11.

And number five is the updated pixel launcher so this has been my favorite launcher i guess on any android phone for a couple years now anytime i get a new phone i just kind of try to make the home screen feel kind of like a pixel but they have tweaked some stuff here so first of all they let me turn auto rotation on on the home screen which correct me if i’m wrong that wasn’t enabled before so you can just turn your phone sideways like a tablet and just use it like that right away i don’t think i ever would use my phone like this on the home screen i almost never turn it that way anyway so it’s cool i don’t think that was enabled before then there’s now a new option for your bottom row of apps to be app suggestions so basically it moves everything up a row and then that whole new bottom row is suggested apps to open on your phone based on learned behaviors and you can pin a suggested app in place down there if you think it should be there permanently and there’s also an option in settings to block an app

from ever showing up there so just check the box if you don’t want it to ever be suggested this to me is of neat i guess if those suggestions get really good but i’m not a huge fan of the idea of my home screen being variable i i feel like they should just stay locked in place so i have quick access to everything now inside the app drawer they let you have that top row as suggestions that’s cool i’ll leave it like that it’s been like that for years but yeah i think i’m probably not gonna use that option then the app switcher is also a little bit different huge cards still but now you get an app screenshot button a share button and a select button to select text within the app and you now lose the extra pull down up to get into the app drawer and there’s some small new animations did you catch that you can see the wallpaper shifts a bit when you pull the notification bar down and it also shifts when you pull up into the app drawer it’s it’s really subtle it’s super subtle but that’s nice all right so number four is the new media controls up at the top now this is an option that’s actually not enabled by default and i suspect that’s because it’s a bit buggy and incomplete but when you do go into the developer settings and enable it it puts this little colorized media widget in the top of your quick settings pull down i think this is sweet it’s like an

androidized version of the iphone’s quick settings media toggle and since it’s at the top it means you never have to scroll very far to pause whatever music or podcast you’re listening to now like i said it is a bit buggy but you can have more than one open at once but it doesn’t yet work with every single app like it doesn’t work with youtube yet and also sometimes the playback scrubber doesn’t work but generally i’m a big fan of this feature you can also quickly toggle playback devices so if you have headphones or speakers paired stuff like that you can quickly get to that and the little mini player the color of it is always going to match the album art of whatever you’re listening to so again very subtle but that’s nice all right number three three voice access or voice control full credits to dieter from the verge for surfacing this for me i saw it on his twitter he tweeted a video of using it and it blew my mind i’ll link his tweet below but basically it’s an accessibility feature so not everyone’s gonna use it but i feel like anything that improves accessibility on a phone this much could be used by anyone basically and and when it gets this good it’s worth it so here’s how it works so the voice access feature itself is not new you can grab it from the play store it shows up in the menus of your phone and when you enable it in this new android beta it’s controlling the phone with your voice and the best improvement here is instead of just saying the number corresponding to what you want to press you can actually also just say the name of the action and it’s gotten really good at responding open relay pro scroll down scroll up go home open chrome scroll up go back open twitter tweet this is a test of voice commands on android 11.

delete all text go back go home that’s pretty good okay so number two the power button hold which is usually just to like turn off the phone or reset gets even more functionality now i’m not sure why they chose the power button hold for this stuff other than just giving quick access to things that weren’t originally quick but here we are so now when you press and hold the power button instead of just getting shutdown restart and screenshot you get all those things plus a shortcut to google pay and whatever other cards and passes like boarding passes you have which is broken right now in this beta and then also a bunch of smart home toggles and i happen to have some compatible smart home stuff that i can control so i can turn on my smart lights on and off and they work pretty quickly it seems like and nest thermostat also works quickly and easily and you can even preview nest cameras now again i don’t know if putting them here in the power button long press menu is what i expected or what most users will expect to find here but i’m cool with it side note if you aren’t you can go into the system settings under power menu and take away the things that you don’t care about having here and then number one the biggest new change in yet another android update is a new notification shade classic android update so in android 11 the notifications get separated into three categories

there’s conversations alerting notifications and silent notifications so conversations is for messaging basically so text messages twitter dms or whatever other apps end up supporting this i imagine slack and other messaging apps then alerting notifications is basically all the standard stuff that’s where you’d have them pile up normally and then silent notifications are the ones that are persistent happening in the background more background stuff like weather or google now cards it’s also got these more jelly animations they’re pretty sloppy actually at the moment in this beta but i think they can clean them up and they’ll look nice and that’s the real main change here there’s also some other little things like you can do bubble notifications now so basically chat heads are being supported for messaging apps this is a thing you can turn on and off in the settings i was never really a huge fan of chat heads so i’m keeping it off and then there’s also a new fancy screen on and off animation see it’s there’s a lot of little things definitely little things and that is it for android 11.

My favorite new feature of these is definitely the the new media controls up in the top nice little compact widget up here because i’m always listening i feel like to something music or a podcast but i’m curious let me know in the comment section what your favorite feature of these five is now at the end of the day the unanswered question is when will you get this update like when will you try this new stuff because i’m testing it right now on my pixel 4. And that’s what you’d expect is a pixel to get it and there’s a couple other pixel models that can download it and test it right now some people are literally dailying this beta but there’s kind of no way to know when a samsung phone uh htc phone a motorola phone and oneplus phone are all going to get it when the carriers will allow it so i i don’t know if you want to guarantee that you get these latest features in your phone you have to have a pixel basically and that’s the way it’s been for a little while but other than that that’s about all we know that’s the top five features in android 11.

if you have any questions feel free to drop them below and we can chat about them but that’s been it thanks for watching catch you guys the next one peace.

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