Android 11: Everything you need to know

Android 11 is the latest operating system for all Android devices, bringing with it a new host of features to assist users in adapting to home-working, improving their messaging capabilities, sharing, enhancing privacy settings, and much more! If you have an Android device, check out everything you need to know about Android 11 below. 

Last updated: 14th Jun 2021 at 4:34pm

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Launch date

Android 11 was officially launched on 8th September 2020 by Google, the developer of Android models. This OS replaced Android 10, which came out in September 2019. It’s predicted that Android 12 will most likely be released in Autumn of 2021. 

Which phones have Android 11?

When Android 11 was released, the Vivo X51 5G was the first phone to be launched with the new operating system on it. After that, the update was first made available to all Google Pixel phones, and then rolled out in stages amongst other manufacturers. 

Brands like Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, and Realme were on the beta programme testing out the new OS before its launch, so they had Android 11 made available from the 8th September. 

Most phone manufacturers, like Samsung, have access to Android 11, but not all of the models in every brand will be compatible, particularly if they’re old or operating on a system earlier than Android 9. 

How to check if your phone has the update

If you haven’t received an automatic notification on your phone stating that it’s ready for you to download Android 11, here’s how to find if you’re eligible and begin installing manually. 

  1. Find your Settings - on most Android phones, you can usually swipe down and tap the little gear icon to enter the Settings
  2. Once in Settings, scroll down to find System 
  3. Select Advanced 
  4. Scroll down to find System update 
  5. Select Check for update 

On other Android devices, you may only have to select Download and install after finding Software update in the Settings. 

If your phone is eligible for Android 11, you’ll see a message appear stating that it’s ready to install. Follow the installation process on the screen to download the new OS. 

If your phone isn’t compatible, it will say “Your system is up to date”. Likely, you won’t be able to install Android 11 ever because your phone is too old to manage the new features. If this is the case and you do want Android 11, you might have to consider looking for a new phone.

If you’re looking for a new phone, why not pair it with one of our fantastic bundles? Grab 10GB of data for just £10 a month!

Android 11 Features

If you are able to install Android 11 on your device, or already have it but aren’t sure what new things you can do, check out some of the best features below. 

Messaging

The new update brings with it a different way of communicating that is more efficient for multitaskers. If you dislike having to bounce between multiple apps to find the conversation you were just having, you’ll enjoy these additional features to messages.

All messages in one place

You can see and control all of the conversations you’re having in one spot on your screen, even if they’re across multiple messaging apps.

Priority messages

You can choose people and messages to prioritise so that they show up on your lock screen, rather than all of your messages - particularly any unwanted ones - taking up the space. Only see what you want to see. 

Pin conversations as bubbles to the side

All of your messages can be pinned to the side of the screen in ‘bubbles’ (little pop-ups of their profile faces) so you can continue doing another task or activity whilst keeping an eye on any incoming messages. 

Call screenings

Scam calls are on the rise, with many unfortunate people becoming victims of fraud and hacking. But the new OS screens your calls, so you don’t answer robots or possibly harmful phone calls. The call is also transcribed directly onto your device, so you can refer to it for evidence if needed. 
 

Cameras

Android 11 has made some adjustments that improve the quality of images taken on the camera.

3D optimisations

These improved graphics make the camera function better on photo platforms, like Snapchat and Instagram, so pictures will be clearer and more detailed than before. Want to take your images even further? Check out the best photo editing apps in 2021. 

Mute

New APIs for apps will mute the vibration function that can appear from ringtones, alarms, and notifications. This way, you won’t suffer any shakiness or blurring whilst taking photos, or be distracted by an incoming notification
 

Wellbeing

Staring at a screen for too long can have a negative impact on your body and mind. The blue light that is omitted from electronic screens can stop you from getting a good night’s sleep, so Android 11 has two features that can help combat this.

Bedtime mode

You can schedule a bedtime so that your phone knows when it’s time to sleep. This means it will switch the display to greyscale to soften the harsh lighting, and turn on ‘Do Not Disturb’, which mutes notifications. This feature can stay on automatically every night whilst your phone is resting or charging.

Clock bedtime feature

In the Clock app, there’s a new bedtime feature aimed at improving the user’s sleep schedule. The Clock links in with your audio, so you can choose to fall asleep to calming sounds or wake up to a good song. Also, the ‘Sunrise Alarm’ feature gradually brightens your screen so that your eyes aren’t exposed to harsh brightness in the morning. 

Additionally, you can track screen time at night to gain a better understanding of how long you stay switched on for, and alter your usage to aid a better sleep. 
 

Working from home

With more and more people opting to continue working from home, Android 11 has brought a few new features that remote workers might find handy to use during their day. 

Connect apps

You can connect your personal apps and your work apps so that both pop up in other helpful apps like Calendar and Reminders, as well as Google platforms such as Excel, Sheets, and Docs. This way, you can stay on top of both your private and public life, and avoid missing out on anything important for either occasion. 

Work schedule 

If you work from home, it can be difficult to shut off. With the new OS, you can set a work schedule to automatically turn your work profile off at the end of the day so you don’t continue to access all of the files and documents on your smartphone or tablet.

Work profile privacy

Working from home (and in an office) poses a number of online security risks. Android 11 comes with privacy enhancements on the work profiles on company-owned devices, so you have a host of new features to protect your information whilst online. 
 

Sharing content 

The new update simplifies the way users access and share their content, making it easier and quicker to complete little tasks. 

Screen recording

You can now record your screen without the need for another app. The built-in feature will also record sound from your microphone, so you can use this as a mini presentation feature, presenting both your screen and audio. 

Select, share and copy

Copy, send, and share text and images more easily than before across as many apps as you wish. 
 

Predictive Tools

Make life easier with these predictive tools, which can help you to avoid making mistakes, or just clear up the need to overthink. 

Smart reply

When you’re typing in a conversation, you can get suggested responses to speed up the process, as well as frame things more simply or eloquently. Replies are based on the context of the chat, so will always be relevant. Emojis will also be suggested, so you can skip a whole phrase in favour of a simple icon. 

Smart folders

Stay organised with smart folders that suggest correct names for your folders based on the apps you bubble together. Easily navigate your categorised screen with names based on themes, like ‘work’ and ‘fitness’. 

App suggestions

Like the smart reply, you can also have app suggestions show up at the bottom of your home screen. These will become more personalised the longer you use your phone, as it will start to recognise your routine and helpfully supply that workout app or YouTube in the mornings for you. 
 

Accessibility

If you struggle with dexterity issues or suffer with visual impairments, Android 11 has a couple of accessible features installed to help you navigate your phone more easily. 

Voice Access

Voice Access is an assistive feature that allows you to make verbal commands on your phone, similar to the way you can communicate with AI assistants to complete tasks for you. Use your voice to open apps, type messages, and more. This feature also understands several languages. 

Talkback braille keyboard

You can type in braille using your device, without the need for additional hardware. 

Lookout

Lookout is another helpful feature for those who struggle with their sight or are blind. Lookout has two new modes: ‘Scan Document’ and ‘Food Label’, so you can more easily understand what you’re looking at. Activating this feature also turns on the flashlight automatically, aiding people with poor visibility to see better in low light conditions. 
 

Device Controls

You’ll benefit from the smart technology that Android 11 brings with it - revel in the control you can wield over several devices at once with these new additions. 

Control connected devices

If you hold down the power button before the phone asks to be switched off, you’ll be able to see all of the devices connected to your Android phone. This may include your TV, your lights, any smart kitchen appliances, your home security system, and your heating. 

From here, you can change whatever you need to; adjust the temperature in the room, turn off lights, turn on the TV, and whatever else you have attached - all from one place. 

Control media

Similarly, you can quickly change the device that your audio is playing from, whether that be music, the radio, or a podcast. If you want to switch a video from your phone to your TV, you can do so with the click of a button. Additionally, you can switch from your headphones to your loudspeaker quickly and easily. 

Android Auto

The Android Auto feature allows you to connect your phone to your car without a wire. Your phone will connect wirelessly to your car’s display, so you can ask for directions, send a text, play music, or make a call - all hands-free!
 

Privacy and Security 

Phones can access a lot more than we think. They monitor and track what we do each day, but with the Android 11 update, you can gain better control over what’s shared and what’s kept private. 

App permissions

Android 11 lets you select from two different types of app permissions. ‘One-time permissions’ means you can give certain apps access to your microphone, camera and location, if required. But each time you access the app, it will have to ask for permission again, so it can never automatically use these tools. 

‘Permissions auto-reset’ means that your device will turn off the data permissions on an app you haven’t used in a while, so nothing can keep storing your data. 

This security update means you can rest assured that you’re in control of how much your apps are allowed to know and feedback to creators. 

Google Play

Android 11 sends more security and privacy fixes to your phone from Google Play, the Android app store. This means that if you accidentally encounter any malicious apps, your phone will alert you, tell you what to do, and help you avoid it in the future. 

Google Safe Browsing

Google Safe Browsing helps you to avoid suspicious websites and malicious content so you can browse the web safely. 

Location

Control which apps are allowed to know your location, if any, and turn off background location on irrelevant apps to keep yourself safe. 
 

And there’s all of the best features you can use on the Android 11 update. Check out the full list on their official website. 

If you have an iPhone, why not check out the newest and best features on the most recent iOS update?

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