Google’s own Pixel phones were the first in the queue to get the update, and several more companies will get it, too. Some big recipients will be the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. The update of the OS is a crucial moment every single time, but the unfair fact is that the priority falls to flagship and recently released phones. As a result, a lot of Android phones will have a long wait until they get a new iteration. 

Dieter Bohn, guru from The Verge, has made a nice hands-on review, and we will tell you the best parts of it.

If your smartphone is one of the lucky ones to get the new update, you’ll notice that it’s now easier to glide through the interface and find important things. Android is not tired of chasing iOS when it comes to privacy restrictions, and they’ve done their best to show the results. 

When you open your smartphone after the update and note that nothing’s changed, don’t misgive that as a regress. Android is no longer an amateur OS, and the progress is concentrated on polishing the current content. Dieter Bohn describes it as a “slow and steady” condition. 

Android is the biggest ball in the game, as this OS is considered to be the most-used on the planet right now. Google is the titan who keeps the sky on his shoulders, so all Android 11’s updates look like they have a polished effect.

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  • Conversations: The notification shade now breaks out messages from your texting apps into their own section at the top.
  • Priority conversations: You can mark certain conversations as “priority”, which puts the sender’s avatar on your lock screen and optionally allows you to let them break through your Do Not Disturb settings.
  • Bubbles: You can have your texting threads pop out into a little bubble that floats over your other apps. It works just like Chat Heads for Facebook Messenger, but it’s now available to any texting app.
  • Notifications have simpler, easier-to-understand presets for “Alerting notifications” and “Silent notifications” and allows you more control over how those presets work.
  • Do Not Disturb lets you customize which apps or people are allowed to notify you when the mode is on.
  • Media controls have been moved up into quick settings, and you can select where your audio output goes now.
  • Screenshots now appear on the lower-left corner, just like they do on the iPhone.
  • Native screen recording should finally become an official, Android-level feature.
  • The power menu now serves as a kind of digital wallet, with controls for powering your phone, Google Pay cards and passes, and now smart home controls.
  • There’s a new one-time permission option for location.
  • If you don’t use an app for a while, its permissions reset automatically.
  • Voice Access, the accessibility feature that allows you to control your phone by speaking, has been upgraded and can now understand “screen content and context, and generates labels and access points for accessibility commands.”

When it comes to the notifications, Android has an inexhaustible bank of ideas, though not all of those ideas are groundbreaking. But, Google contributes a lot even with minor changes, because you couldn’t guess which one will make the best result in the end. This method accomplishes the best results because in this way essential things are born. 

Notifications get two big improvements, and that’s not without reason. Google gives a fresh update to the feature that is so simple but so meaningful simultaneously. 

The first thing is the redeployment of notifications from chat apps into a separate section at the top of the other notifications, called Conversations. The Android system uses machine learning to single out different chat threads and then prioritize them. You can adjust notifications from a random app and make it a “Priority Conversation” so it’ll stand above the others.

You can also enable or disable the sound for particular notifications. This one is pretty useful, because you won’t be disturbed with constantly blinking messages, though they will still stay up there. 

It might seem that Google’s gone forward to rearrange only notifications, but this one is the default feature that keeps your hand on the pulse. There are a lot of other options dedicated to notifications you can set in your settings, for example, you can choose the right people and apps to alert you even if you have Do Not Disturb set. I suggest arranging your notifications from the very beginning so you won’t get lost in them. 

The second thing you’ll like is the feature called “Bubbles”. This is similar to Facebook’s Messenger option where the dialogue floats above other apps in a bubble. Android expands that so you can transform any conversation into a bubble, not only Messenge.

Bubbles are more convenient in practice than on paper. You can lead two conversations in two apps simultaneously. Also, your smartphone has got a full-fledged desktop so these bubbles are the small equivalent of having a little chat window in the corner of your laptop screen.

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Power Menu

Google changes the perspective on the power button and what functions it should complete. The vast majority of Android phones have got only three physical buttons: two for volume and one for power. We got used to the long-press on the power button leading to reboot or switch off.

Google brings a new idea of how this button can be used. With Android 11, you’ll be able to switch to emergency lockdown for temporarily disabling biometrics. Also, the screen will be cut into three parts. The first part is the upper scale where power, emergency, and reboot buttons are situated. The part in the middle is for Google Pay. The next time Android’s NFC system won’t work, you can initiate the payment directly from the phone.

The bottom part exists specifically for smart home controls. You can customize it on your own or let Google guess what you want to see there.


It’s not forbidden for podcasts and music apps to place their custom controls into your notifications, and Android appreciates that. But, lately it has become a real harassment of private territory because some of the controls stay in your notifications long after you’ve used them. I totally agree with Dieter here, because your notification menu is not a collection wall. Perhaps, the most terrible experience comes with using YouTube because it leaves its controls so you can’t swipe them away at all. 

Android 11 is a solution for this challenge because it pulls out media controls and puts them into the Quick Setting area.

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Android Makes a Restriction Function for Apps too

It’ss a big advantage of iOS that the system indicates when an app is using one of your sensors when you’re not using that app. Android doesn’t lag behind and has created its own restriction system. Android 11 will give you the choice to only grant permission while the app is in use or give the app one-time permission.

Here appears a dilemma: apps are asking for permission and if you don’t agree with it, the app will simply not work. Google finds it a foxy solution. With the new Android 11, if you’ve granted an app access to that sensor but haven’t opened it in quite some time, Android will silently reset that app’s permissions back to having no access to any of your sensors.

My final word will be less impressive as Dieter’s but, Android is a mature OS and all updates coming with a new version will receive only two comments: is it good or not. We cannot compare Apple and Android in the way we can compare two different phones. Android has got totally different features from Apple, though they still have the same aim – to make your phone work better for you.