After months of delay, the Android 11 public beta is finally here! The beta was supposed to show up at Google’s June 3rd virtual event.
However, the tech giant had to cancel it due to unrest in the US. Since there is no Google I/O this year, and the Android 11 roadmap is in ruins thanks to the Coronavirus, Google has just pushed out the first beta of Android 11 without a show.
Nevertheless, here are some of the biggest features of Android 11 first beta. Some of the changes are already known to Android fans due to the recent “accidental” Android 11 beta roll-out and Android 11 developer previews.
Android 11 Beta Eligible devices
While the Google Beta program that allows non-Pixel users to try out the new Android version is live, the only people that can try out Android 11 beta are Pixel users as of now.
In other words, owners of Pixel 2/2 XL, Pixel 3/3 XL, Pixel 3a/3a XL, and Pixel 4/4 XL can try out the first beta of Android 11 right now but mind you, not the Google Pixel 1 users.
Android 11 Beta features
The latest Android update revolves around three key themes — People, Controls, and Privacy.
With the goal of making Android 11 “more people-centric and expressive,” Google is adding a new section in the notification shade called “Conversations.” This will separate all kinds of text messages from other obtrusive notifications.
Within the notification, Android users can open it as a Bubble, snooze it, or even create a conversation shortcut on the home screen.
Bubbles is another Android 11 feature that opens the conversation in little chat bubbles around the corner similar to Facebook Messenger Chat Heads. Google first showcased the feature in Android 10, however, it didn’t work until now.
Another feature of Android 11 is Consolidated Keyboard Suggestions which will let auto-fill apps offer context-specific suggestions in an IME’s suggestion strip.
Android’s voice control accessibility feature is getting a major update. The latest Android version comes with “an on-device visual cortex that understands screen content and context, and generates labels and access points for accessibility commands.”
This section is dedicated to controlling smart devices via your Android device. To that end, there are new Device Controls on the menu that appear when you long-press the power button.
Android users will be able to control smart devices right from the power menu such as turning smart lights on/off or changing the color.
— Google (@Google) June 10, 2020
Apart from that, Android 11 is offering Media Controls for switching the audio output to headphones, speakers, or even a connected TV. The toggle currently resides in the Developer Options as “Media resumption.”
In the latest Android update, Google puts a major focus on the privacy of users. Android 11 users will now be able to grant one-time permission access to apps for the microphone, camera, or location.
Moreover, the app will be stripped of permissions aka Permissions auto-reset “if users haven’t used the app for an extended period of time.”
New apps on Android 11 will need to get approval from Google to use the background location. However, existing apps will be given until 2021 to follow the changes.
Google is adding 12 more system modules to Project Mainline, making it a total of 25. For those who don’t know, Mainline allows users to update key components of Android without needing to wait for an update from the smartphone manufacturer.
Android 11, overall, has several other features such as dark mode scheduling, picture-in-picture resizes, new icon shapes, and more.
How to install Android 11 beta?
- Go to the Android 11 Beta program
- Tap on “View your eligible devices” or simply scroll down.
- Locate your device and click on Enroll.
- You should get a ping on the device that the update is ready to install.
- Tap on it and install the update.
Bear in mind that the Android 11 update will come with a few bugs and glitches. If you haven’t received the system update notification and patience is not your strong point, you can choose to sideload the Android 11 update.