Here are almost 100 new features in Android 11

The Android 11 feature list

Entirely new Android 11 features #ANDROID11

  • Power menu stuff

  • Wallet

  • Digital driver's licenses are coming to a power menu wallet: Support for "secure storage and retrieval of verifiable identification documents," including driver's licenses, is coming in a later release.

  • The power menu wallet itself trickled down in Android 10 with the March update/2nd Pixel Feature Drop. That means it's not technically part of Android 11.

  • Third-party apps may also be able to add stuff like cards, loyalty programs, and tickets to your wallet.

  • Smart home controls

  • Long-press power menu smart home controls might be coming: Nothing user-facing has changed, but a series of hidden tweaks implies we might get smart home device controls built into the power menu.

  • Power menu smart home controls: Still not live in DP2, but there's enough on the back-end now for XDA to put together a video that demonstrates what it might look like.

  • Smart home controls debut with Android 1 Beta 1: Though they mostly worked in DP4 courtesy of a Google Home app update, the power menu smart home controls are finally formally live as of Beta 1

  • New refresh rate overlay developer option looks like Fraps: On Android 11, you can trigger an overlay that shows your current refresh rate — useful for things like debugging issues with the new super-smooth high refresh rate displays. Also, it looks kind of like Fraps.

  • Built-in screen recording: It's still a bit buggy, but the built-in screen recording first revealed (then disabled) back with Android 10 is back as of the first Android 11 release.

  • Screen recording gets an new UI: We had guessed that the interface was incomplete when the feature landed with DP1, and DP2 delivers an updated look to the built-in screen recorder.

  • Context-aware Bluetooth airplane mode: If you're playing music over Bluetooth headphones and you toggle airplane mode, then — gasp — Bluetooth won't turn off, and your headphones will continue to get tunes. That's one of the biggest travel frustrations eliminated. (Technically, this is a modification to an existing feature, but it's a big enough deal that I do not care.)

  • This trickled down to Android 10 as part of the March update/2nd Pixel Feature drop, so it's not an Android 11 exclusive feature.

  • "Battery share" hints at reverse charging for Pixel 5: A hidden detail in the first Android 11 release shows a new "battery share" feature for reverse charging other devices using your phone — probably wirelessly, like with Samsung's Wireless Powershare. If they're adding it now, there's a decent chance we'll see it debut with a future Pixel.

  • Shows you your headphones' Bluetooth codec support: Rather than trusting spec sheets or sniffing around with Wireshark, Android 11 simply shows you which audio codecs your headphones support (via a developer options codec selection menu).

  • Notification History: Google's working on a new way to view past notifications as part of the overall notification revamp in Android 11.

  • Rear double-tap gesture for Pixel phones: Android 11 has a hidden feature that creates a new double-tap gesture, customizable for a handful of features, giving Pixels (and perhaps other Android phones) a brand new gesture/trigger for actions.

  • Rear double-tap gesture gets new features, works better: The base feature first arrived in DP1, but DP2 adds some extra functionality, like the ability to take screenshots, and better rejection/tuning for the gesture itself.

  • Multiple audio device playback might be coming: Nothing is user-facing or working yet, but details found deep in DP2 imply we might get simultaneous audio playback from multiple output devices in a future Android 11 release.

  • Call recording for third-party apps might be coming: Teardown details indicate we might get system-level support for call recording in third-party dialer apps.

  • Android 11 gets a trashcan: Apps can throw away files without actually deleting them, allowing you 30 days to change your mind or recover them before they're really gone.

  • Devices launching with Android 11 will require seamless updates: Phones that debut running Android 11 have no choice but to support seamless updates and A/B partitioning to pass Google's Vendor Test Suite and ship with Google apps, effectively making it a requirement.

  • Block Store will make logging in to all your accounts across apps and services on new phones a one-tap deal — if developers implement it: Android 11 has a new "Block Store" API (together with a "One Tap" cross-platform sign-in system) which will make signing in to all your stuff on a new phone as easy as pulling down your cloud backup during the setup process. That is, if developers actually use it.

  • Ethernet tethering: You can share a tethered internet connection via a USB Ethernet dongle, rather than just over a USB cable.

Visual tweaks

  • Android 11's massive notification overhaul

  • Conversations

  • "Conversations" get their own notification group: A new "Conversations" section for notifications from messaging apps now gets priority over other notification types.

  • They also get a different long-press menu compared to other types of notifications,

  • More conversation notification tweaks: The long-press options have changed, also removing the ability to break out a notification as a bubble.

  • Notification counts are now shown in the preview as well.

  • "Important" contacts replace app icons with avatars in notifications: It might end up being app-specific, but DP2 delivered a tweak where contacts/conversations labeled as "important" have the contact's avatar replace the app icon in notifications.

  • "Manage conversations" setting: New section controls the behavior of those "important" contacts you've configured.

  • Notification History

  • Notification history now accessible without workarounds: First appearing in DP1, DP2 gives the useful new notification history feature a dedicated location in Settings, plus an easy shortcut from the notification shade itself.

  • Hidden notification log gets a new look: It's a little less useful (right now), but Google rolled out a redesigned notification log with Android 11.

  • Bubbles

  • Bubble notifications are back: Teased back in Android 10, chat head-style "bubble" notifications are in Android 11, giving you big icon-like non-transparent obstructions to deliver immediate notice of messages and other content.

  • Bubble notifications get more settings in Beta 1: It's probably just a reshuffling of options elsewhere, but the "Bubbles" section for notifications in each app now allows you to set details on a per-conversation rather than a global basis.

  • Messages will soon support Android 11's bubble notifications.

  • Media controls

  • Media control tweaks: This is a developer option as of Beta 1, but Google is bringing a smaller version of the media control notification to the quick settings section of the notification shade, plus an expanded set of controls to the expanded quick settings shade. It also brings a carousel for multiple sets of simultaneous controls and quick access to a (slightly redesigned) output picker.

  • Hidden test splits notifications from Quick Settings: Like the olden days of Android 4.X, Google is apparently testing splitting notifications off from Quick Settings, though the change isn't user-facing yet, and may not go anywhere.

  • Notifications pick up extra padding, slightly tweaked look: Android 11 DP2 increased padding between notification sections, giving bigger gaps between labeled notification types.

  • Option to hide silent notifications in the status bar: If you hate the icons that still appear from silent notifications in the status bar, they can be turned off in DP2. 

  • This has been disabled in DP4.

  • Do Not Disturb menu gets reorganized: It's a new Android version, and Google wouldn't be Google if they didn't find a way to tweak something about Do Not Disturb again. This time it's a reorganization around three types of notifications: from People, Apps, and Alarms and other sources.

  • Hidden option to change Quick Settings icon colors: With an ADB command, you can enable/disable the feature, and additional commands can assign specific colors. More on that here.

  • Always-on display clock style customizations: Only one option as of DP2, but the "styles & wallpaper" menu in settings now has a tab for customizing the clock visible when using the always-on display.

  • Updated wallpaper picker in "styles & wallpaper" menu: DP2 adds a gallery-like interface for choosing wallpapers in the styles & wallpaper menu in settings.

  • Force full-screen apps option: New "tap to restart this app and go full screen" option for apps that don't properly scale to taller aspect ratios.

Privacy and security changes

  • Temporary/one-time app permissions: Android 11 adds the option to grant some permissions "Only this time," so you can continue to decide on a case-by-case basis.

  • Scoped Storage is back: Introduced in Android Q, we got a one-year reprieve before Scoped Storage goes into effect, and it will debut with Android 11. It may be slower, and it will interfere with some legacy operations, but Google champions the effect it will have on user privacy, better sandboxing app storage. Some apps may also be able to secure exemptions, like file managers and backup apps.

  • Repeatedly denying permission requests will block them: If an application requests a permission twice, and it's denied by the user both times, the app will be blocked from requesting the permission again.

  • Extra tap to grant overlay permissions: Overlay-based attacks are a serious concern for the Android platform. Starting in Android 11, apps that need you to grant it can't simply take you to the toggle, they can only dump you to the level before it, where you have to then navigate to the option and turn it on yourself. It's just one extra tap, but it might make a difference for those blindly granting permissions to malware.

  • No more background location access: Although apps can request an exemption, Google is pressuring developers to stop letting apps request continuous location access, so they can't gather that information in the background, only while they're running and you are aware of them. All new apps must meet this requirement by August, and in November, any that don't meet the requirement will be booted from the Play Store.

  • It trickled down to Android 10, so it's not an exclusive feature (just noted in the timeline for posterity).

  • Unused app permissions are automatically revoked after some time: If you don't use an app for long enough (and we don't know how long that's supposed to be yet), it will eventually lose permissions you've granted it.

  • Furthermore, all permissions are set to revoke in this manner by default as of DP4.

Modifications to existing features

  • Pixel Launcher changes

  • Teardown/tweaked app reveals piles of potential changes: Google may be planning or at least testing a ton of other Pixel Launcher changes, including actions replacing the app suggestion row in the overview/multitasking menu, hiding specific app suggestions, and automatic folder naming.

  • Pixel Launcher teardown shows coming "hotseat" tweaks: A teardown of the Android 11 Pixel Launcher shows we might get suggested apps in the "hotseat," the area above the Google search widget on the Pixel homescreen — perhaps like the suggested apps already present at the top of the app list in the Pixel Launcher.

  • And here they are. Pixel Launcher's new app suggestions for the home screen: Some of the details for this were spotted in the seemingly accidental early Beta 1 rollout. Now you can add a set of app suggestions to the persistent bottom row of the Pixel Launcher's home screen.

  • Screenshots

  • An updated screenshot interface: It's pretty hot, with a new ribbon on the bottom with the share and edit buttons, plus a floating screenshot preview, and a big obvious X in the corner to close/dismiss it with. But we're still missing...

  • Scrolling/extended screenshots: Although Google first labeled the idea "infeasible," the company later agreed to add the feature, and the first hidden signs of it have appeared in Android 11 — though it doesn't work yet.

  • Rear double-tap gesture gets new features, works better: The base feature first arrived in DP1, but DP2 adds some extra functionality, like the ability to take screenshots, and better rejection/tuning for the gesture itself.

  • You can take screenshots from the recents menu.

  • Most of this (barring one trigger) trickled down to Android 10 as part of the March update/2nd Pixel Feature drop. It might not make its way to other phones until Android 11, but technically Android 10 got it as well.

  • Apps using the camera can mute notifications: To prevent a rogue vibration or notification sound from ruining a long-planned shot or clip, camera-using apps can prevent your phone from firing off a notification.

  • Project Mainline upgrade: The system Google introduced last year with Android 10, which enabled system components to be updated via the Play Store, is expanding to support updating more different system modules, bringing the count to 20. The non-technical summary is that even if you don't get Android updates from your phone's manufacturer, your phone can stay secure and get some new features separately.

  • Pinning apps in the share sheet/menu is back: Introduced with Nougat and killed with Android 10, now that the share sheet has been redesigned, you can pin apps for frequent use again.

  • This also tricked down to Pixel 4s on Android 10 as part of the March update/2nd Pixel Feature Drop.

  • Hidden test integrating media controls into Quick Settings: A manually enabled test in Android 11 shows that Google might be experimenting with moving media controls into the Quick Settings menu. It looks... pretty weird right now.

  • Back gesture sensitivity setting changes: It might not actually do anything yet, but a hidden activity showing sensitivity options for the "fully gestural navigation" back gesture was spotted in Android 11, similar to the one that leaked in Android 10, and which was later removed.

  • Looks like it actually works as of DP3

  • Car crash detection comes to older Pixels via Android 11 app: Thanks to the version of the Personal Safety app included in Android 11, you can sideload car crash detection functionality onto older Pixels. We even tested it as working in a "simulated" crash, though it might still be geographically restricted, or have other limits in functionality.

  • As with many other features on this list, Android 10 received this feature as well as part of the March update/2nd Pixel Feature Drop, though many phones may not get it until Android 11.

  • New volume key magnification shortcut.

  • DNS server issues get labeled as such: Rather than simply give you an unhelpful "no internet" notification, Android 11 lets you know if your custom DNS server might be the culprit behind connectivity issues.

  • Files by Google replaces the old Files app (but not entirely): Though the old original AOSP files app still handles some file-picking duties and a few other things, it's lost its place in the app drawer. The only user-facing file manager in DP2 is Files by Google.

  • File picker gets new sort options: Again, though it was replaced in the app drawer, the AOSP file app still handles some things like file picking, and it picked up two new sort options in DP2: "Large files" for sorting by chonk, and "this wee" for sorting by recent creation/modification.

  • Confirm SIM deletion toggle: DP2 adds an option to confirm deleting eSIMs.

  • Picture-in-picture resizing might be coming: A teardown of DP2 indicates we might be able to resize picture-in-picture windows in the future.

  • And it's here as of DP4.

  • Volume key accessibility lock screen shortcut: It's labeled as "experimental," but a new accessibility shortcut that uses the volume keys from the lock screen has been added in DP2. That could make the process of unlocking your device easier if you rely on accessibility tools to use your phone.

  • Files app on Android 11 picks AOSP file manager features: It's not an Android 11 feature, per se, but the Files app has picked up the AOSP file manager's ability to access storage sources in other apps like Dropbox.

  • Voice Access improvements: Android's accessibility feature now understands the context for your commands. It can read you the content on your screen, and respond to commands based on that content contextually, rather than through numbers for interactive elements, as it did previously.

  • Emergency alerts in Spanish, plus Do Not Disturb alert exceptions: You can configure in Android 11 Beta 1 to receive alerts in Spanish (when possible), and a new setting explicitly allows alerts to be exempt from Do Not Disturb (though they sometimes were before, it wasn't something you could adjust).

  • Sideloading apps is about to get a bit more tedious: Android 11 restarts apps that try to install other apps after you enable the "allow from this source" setting for sideloading them. Google claims it's working as intended, we claim that's stupid.

  • This has been disabled, though you may still be able to re-open apps by quickly re-opening the recents menu again — we can't tell if it's a bug or not.

  • Independent left/right gesture navigation sensitivity setting: You can fine-tune it to make the edge gestures fit your use better.

  • Recents/multitasking loses app suggestions, gets screenshot, share, and select buttons: Faster access to those features, but we lose the old app suggestions.

  • Volume menu renamed: It's "Sound" now.

  • Flower and Hexagon shapes for Pixel Themes.

Under the hood/developer/API changes

  • Developers will get a bit more time to fix things for Android 11: Google is giving us an extra "platform stability milestone" with final SDK/NDK APIs changes, so developers rushing to build for Android 11 have until June before things are finalized. Apps on the Play Store also don't have to be updated to support the changes until the end of 2021.

  • Better support for "waterfall" curved-edge displays: A new API augmenting the existing display cutout API will help developers better build apps for phones with curved screens, letting them exclude certain elements from hitting those curved, prone-to-accidental-touch sides when required.

  • More restricted and undocumented APIs getting the boot: Developers using non-public APIs for stuff will need to make sure their apps keep working with new restrictions in Android 11.

  • "Overscan" ADB command doesn't work in Android 11: We aren't sure if it's an intentional change or not (Google hasn't answered our inquiry), but Android 11 has killed the ADB overscan command, used by many third-party apps that modify the navigation bar.

  • Support for "soft" reboots: It doesn't save that much time right now, but a slightly faster way to restart userspace software while keeping lower-level systems running has been added in Android 11. This could be related to...

  • A "Resume on Reboot" feature that allows your phone to install OTAs and resume apps in the background before you unlock it, so you don't miss notifications.

  • Generic System Image/DSU installer: It doesn't seem to work right now, but a built-in installer for GSIs is present in Android 11.

  • Built-in app compatibility tester: Android 11 has tools to better help developers test platform changes, individually enabling and disabling them to see how they might interact with apps.

  • Wireless ADB: Non-developer-types won't care, but Android 11 added proper wireless debugging with code- and QR-based pairing.

  • This has an optional quick settings tile now, as well.

  • GPS improvements: We knew it was coming to the Pixel 4 with Android 11, and Google says Android 11 will deliver enhanced GNSS performance for even greater location accuracy.

  • More display cutout options for developers: Adding onto the notch cutout option Android P got, Android Q DP2 gets "Punch Hole" and "Waterfall" cutout settings, which developers can use to emulate those obstructions on other devices. Good for playing with layouts and designs without having every type of device on-hand.

  • Android Flash Tool compatibility: DP2 picks up support for the new Android Flash Tool for relatively easy installation from a browser, no ADB required.

  • Expanded support for authentication prompts: It's pretty technical, but Android 11 DP2 adds "Expanded support for authentication prompts," which we think means that apps can use more types of authentication mechanisms to secure user data.

  • New IPSec VPN options: Additional encryption options for VPNs are available in DP2.

  • ANGLE preferences return: DP2 adds preferences for Chrome's ANGLE WebGL/OpenGL ES.

  • New "Enhanced Connectivity" toggle: Does nothing yet as of DP2, lives in developer options.

  • New "HD audio toggle: Currently switches between SBC and AAC audio codecs in developer options.

  • Wireless debugging quick setting tile.

  • 5G state detection API that will let apps know if you're connected to a 5G connection.

  • Hinge angle detection API so apps can better support UI tweaks in different configurations on foldables.

  • (Better) variable refresh rate support for high framerate displays.

  • Neural network API improvements.

  • Developers can better see how and why their apps crashed thanks to new "Crash Reasons Reporting" in the exit reasons API.

  • ADB Incremental makes it easier and faster for developers to push updates and tweaks to in-development apps over ADB.

  • Data access auditing: New APIs developers can use to follow permissions access below the granularity of the app and track down which bits of the app (like third-party libraries) might be abusing those permissions.

  • Disable ADB authorization timeout: A setting in developer options that lets you disable the automatic revocation for ADB authorizations after 7 days.

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