This week’s release of the final build of Android 11 comes with no major new attractions but rather several modest ones that should delight most users.
Owners of Google Pixel smartphones can install the upgrade now, as well as users of Android One, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Realme devices. Google launched seven beta upgrades starting with February before the final version rolled out this week.
The changes focus on conversations, notifications, location sharing, user interface, and media operations.
Key Changes in AR and Apps Permission
Google has revealed Live View a year ago, an AR app that overlays directions on live images while guiding users to their destination. Now, the company is merging Live View with Location Sharing, which makes it possible for users to share their locations and be guided by Live View to each other.
The Android 11 update also made some improvements to privacy settings. Users have been offered more control when it comes to permissions – apps requiring access to functions such as the microphone, camera, or location must be granted permission to use these features.
The new build makes it easier to restrict access to such data to a single instance, and apps trying to access this data may be forced to ask for permission each time it is used. Moreover, apps that remain unused for a specific period will automatically be restricted from access until manual permission is granted again.
Android 11 Update Brings Communication Enhancements
The Voice Access feature has enabled users for years to issue vocal commands in order to operate their smartphones. The latest update comes with improved voice recognition that offers greater precision to voice commands, as it is aware of the content on the screen.
With the new Android 11 update, there’s no need to plug in your device into your vehicle to access Android Auto anymore – the build brings wireless connectivity to compatible cars. In addition, Android devices will now have messaging bubbles, similar to what Facebook Messenger offers.
The latest build also brought changes to the recording feature: you can now record screen contents. To use the function, simply select the audio source (microphone, audio device, or both), tap a button, wait for the three-second countdown and start recording.
Changes in the User Interface
The Power Menu of the operating system has been expanded in this Android 11 update. A long press of the power button now also includes links to smart home devices associated with the Google Home app, Google Pay cards, or alternate apps that can be selected in the setup segment. The button now also includes some other features that are easily accessible, such as system settings, gestures, and Power Menu.
Finally, a small but useful change is the consolidation of all music buttons in the quick settings menu. A swipe down shows settings that can be applied to all media devices. There’s also quick and easier access to music streaming options, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, speakers, or earbuds.
Even though Android 11 will be released in the next few days, users of some model smartphones may have to wait longer for the update.