Android 11 features
Android 11 is the eleventh major release and the 18th version of the Android mobile operating system. It was released on September 8, 2020. Alphabetical release names based on desserts were discontinued as of Android 10; therefore the OS was immediately branded as “Android 11”. The logo for the release features a dial turned to 11 – a reference to the music mockumentary film This Is Spinal Tap.
Android 11 introduces “conversations” notifications; they are designed for a chat and messaging, and can be presented in pop-up overlays known as “bubbles” when supported by apps. Conversations can also be marked as “priority” to give them greater prominence (pushing them to the top of notifications, and allowing them to bypass do not disturb mode). Notification history over the past 24 hours can also be displayed. Bubbles are designed to replace the existing overlay permission, which is being deprecated in the future due to security (due to its use by clickjacking malware) and performance concerns.
The menu displayed when holding the power button now includes an area devoted to controlling smart home devices. Media controls are displayed as part of the quick settings area and no longer as a persistent notification. The screenshot button is moved to the recents screen. Apps can be pinned on the share menu. Android 11 will include a built-in screen recorder.
The voice control system is capable of recognizing screen context.
Android 11 contains various APIs designed for detecting the presence of 5G network connectivity in order to provide enhanced in-app experiences. Android 11 contains new APIs for handling devices with hinged displays (such as foldable smartphones) and ultra-curved “waterfall” displays.
A new API can be used to monitor a device’s temperature and adjust application operations accordingly. OpenSL ES is deprecated in favor of Oboe. Android 11 supports wireless debugging.
Privacy and security
If automatically rebooting after a system update, apps can automatically resume and regain access to credential-encrypted storage without authentication.
Android 11 introduces “one-time” permissions for camera, microphone, and location; when requested by an app, the user must choose whether to grant access whenever they are using the app, only once, or deny. Repeatedly denying permission will imply an indefinite rejection. Apps must require users to go to the system settings menu in order to enable background location tracking, and all “sensitive” permissions are automatically reset if the user has not used an app for several months.
Like its predecessor, Android 11 is an iterative update to Google’s mobile OS that brings useful features like expanded power menu controls and better permissions settings. It also offers a long-awaited built-in screen recorder and controversial chat bubbles. The new Conversations section in notifications might add clutter and needs improvement, but the good news is you can disable most of Android 11’s changes if you hate them.
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