Pixel 5

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

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Google launched Android 11 in early September for its Pixel telephones, and a small group of its {hardware} companions launched the replace shortly after. The general rollout is ongoing, and can be for a while, nevertheless it’s nonetheless price noting among the thrilling modifications you will get. Or if you happen to’d fairly not wait on your older telephone to get the most recent taste of Android, Google’s Pixel 4a 5G or Pixel 5 each run Android 11 out of the field. Whether you purchase a brand new Pixel telephone, or look ahead to Android 11 to succeed in your present system, there’s a lot to get enthusiastic about. 

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

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

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

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/

Android 11 Quick Controls are a real spotlight

The very first thing it is best to do after putting in Android 11 is long-press the facility button in your telephone to deliver up the brand new fast controls display. On the Pixel, a minimum of, this display provides you energy management choices alongside the highest and supplies shortcuts to your Google Pay playing cards and boarding passes. Then beneath that you will discover my favourite function of Android 11 — fast controls for sensible residence gadgets. 

My telephone mechanically 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 with out having to open the Nest app, which is gradual and a ache to make use of. It’s nice. 

You can add or take away sensible residence gadgets from this grid by tapping the menu button and deciding on add or edit controls.

Google Assistant can wait on maintain for you

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

Called Hold For Me, Google Assistant’s new trick exhibits a immediate on the display letting you realize you may go about doing no matter it’s you wish to do and your telephone will provide you with a warning when somebody lastly solutions. 

In order for the function to work, it’s good to flip it on by opening the Phone app, tapping on the three-dot menu icon, then faucet Settings. Select Hold for me from the checklist of choices, then flip it on. 

Going ahead, when your telephone detects you have referred to as a customer support quantity and you’ve got vibrate, silent mode or do-not-disturb turned off, the in-call display may have a Hold for me button that you may press once you’re positioned on maintain. 

Tap Start after which a display will present up reminding you to not dangle up. You will not be capable of hearken to music or use your telephone to play a video whereas on the decision. 

There can be a textual content transcript that is proven, dwell, slightly below the decision display to let you realize what’s been mentioned earlier than you come 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. 

When you are taken off maintain, your telephone will vibrate and ring, as if you happen to’re getting a name, to let you realize “Someone’s ready to speak to you” so you may then resume the decision. 

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


Hold for me is a reasonably darn cool function. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/

New message notifications get the limelight

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

The change makes it simpler to search out the alerts you doubtless care about most, however if you happen to obtain a number of messages, even this part can get messy. 

Instead of letting Google kind your new alerts by itself, long-press the dialog you wish to observe intently and choose Priority. Doing it will transfer new messages in that thread to the highest of your entire dialog alerts, activate Bubbles (extra on that beneath), and use the contact’s avatar because the alert icon within the notification tray and on the lock display.   

Being capable of look on the notification tray and see a profile icon, as an alternative of the usual textual content alert that does not provide any actually invaluable info, is a pleasant contact. 

Messaging Bubbles on your associates seem like they will be helpful 

Remember Bubbles? This function was alleged to be a part of Android 10, however Google pulled it on the final minute. It made the reduce for Android 11. 

Bubbles are just like Facebook Messenger’s “chat heads” function. When activated, a small avatar — or Bubble — exhibits up in your display and is seen it doesn’t matter what app you are utilizing. Tap on the avatar and it’ll open a small window so that you can learn and ship new messages in that thread, with out totally opening the app. You can drag the Bubble round your display, or drag it to the underside of the display to delete it. 

In order to make use of 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 may 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/

You can then drag the icons on your varied Bubbles chats round in your display, or faucet on the avatar for the particular person you wish to speak to, and the thread will open up, all with out ever leaving the app you are presently utilizing. I’m glad that is an opt-in function, primarily based on every thread, as an alternative of an all-or-nothing function like Chat Heads, which could be messy and downright overwhelming. 

To do away with a bubble for a selected dialog, simply drag the icon to the small X that exhibits up on the backside of your display. 

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 can 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 verify that Google’s Messages app works. Facebook 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 mixing. If you are having bother 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/

Android 11 will get fancier music controls

In Android 11, there is a new playback management that now not seems as a pending notification. Instead, there is a small field that exhibits up as a part of the fast settings panel. You can skip, return, play-pause and swap the system 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 can be accessible. They’re so significantly better than the outdated notification. 


You can lastly report your display with an official Google software. 

Jason Cipriani/

A built-in display recorder

Screenshots are a fast and straightforward method to seize one thing in your display, however there are occasions when a recording is best suited to the duty at hand. For instance, if you wish to showcase your gaming abilities, or spotlight the steps to breed a bug — display recording FTW! 

You can discover the Screen Record software within the Quick Settings panel after putting in Android 11. If it is not seen, faucet on the pencil icon so as to add it to your panel. 

Tap on the Screen Record icon and choose whether or not you need your microphone to report audio and if you’d like your contact interactions to be highlighted within the video. To cease recording, faucet the Screen Record notification. The video can be saved to your digicam roll the place you may then edit and share the recording. 


App solutions on the house display are new. 

Jason Cipriani/

For Pixel homeowners: App Suggestions substitute your app dock

At some level after putting in Android 11, you will see a immediate asking you to allow app solutions on the house display. Essentially, the brand new app solutions will substitute 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, primarily based on which apps you employ at sure occasions of the day. 

The apps have a glowing border round them, letting you realize your telephone added them, and steadily change once you return to your house display as you employ your telephone. You can long-press on any of the app icons to pin that suggestion to your house display. 

You also can block apps from displaying up as solutions if you don’t need one thing like Gmail displaying since you use a unique e-mail app. 

To entry App Suggestions and tailor the way it works for you long-press on your house display and choose Home Settings then Suggestions. There you may management solutions within the app drawer and on the house display or block apps from displaying up on the checklist. 

Google additionally made some necessary modifications to how Android handles privateness settings it is best to know, as effectively. If you are searching for directions to put in Android 11, we’ve your again

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