Google releases Android 11 with new features and privacy enhancements

The latest Android update helps you keep your information private, adds a screen recording tool, and is rolling out starting today.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer

Google is ready to release Android 11 to the general public. The announcement on Tuesday follows several months of beta testing and updates to the latest mobile operating system. 

The update is rolling out right now for Google's Pixel line (Pixel 2 and newer) and devices from OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Realme. 

Images: Google

As a refresher, here are the main features Google has added to Android 11:

  • Bubbles are small avatars that float on top of whatever app or screen you're using, allowing you to continuously go back to the conversation(s) you're in. They're like Chat Heads from Facebook Messenger, but for any messaging app.
  • Hold the power button on your Android phone to view your Google Pay cards, along with any of your Google Assistant-connected smart home devices.
  • There's a new media control visual that moves playback controls from the notification tray to the quick settings panel. It looks great and even lets you change which device your audio is playing on.
  • Screen recording is now possible without the need for a third-party app or a workaround.

In addition to those new features, Google also made some privacy changes. For example, you can now grant apps one-time access to your microphone, camera, or location. Each time you open the app, you'll be asked again if you want to approve the request again. 

Another privacy feature will reset the permissions of apps you haven't used in a while, preventing any unnecessary access in the background for apps you installed and only used once. 

Google is also improving the way Android 11 handles work and personal profiles for enterprise users -- better separating personal and work data, preventing your IT admin from accessing any of your personal data. 

The real question surrounding any major Android update is how long it will take for it to reach devices from companies like Samsung, especially devices that are a year or two old. Odds are you're going to be waiting.

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