Released in September 2020, Android 11 is the latest operating system to be available on Android devices from smartphone giants including Google, OnePlus, Oppo and many more. Android 11 might be a fairly subtle upgrade aesthetically, but it still has plenty of exciting and convenient new features to offer, designed to make your user experience more enjoyable and intuitive. In this blog, we’ll explore the finest features of this upgrade in greater detail.

1. Message Bubbles

Perhaps one of the most transformative updates to Android 11 is the new bubbles feature. This allows you to pin conversations to your screen, so they always appear on top of any other apps you’re using; these pinned conversations can be on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or just in your standard SMS application. You’ll be able to conveniently dip into your most important chats, without leaving your current task, whether you’re using Google Maps, choosing a playlist on Spotify or catching up with your favourite show.

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2. Media Controls

What you’re listening to has never been easier to control, thanks to the media playback widget in this upgrade. The media player – where you can pause and skip your current podcast or song – has been added to Quick Settings, so you can access it by simply swiping your finger down the screen. You’ll then be able see which app is playing and the song title, as well as how far into it you are – there’ll even be a personalised background, which is the same colour as the cover art.

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Switching outputs is super easy too with this update; simply tap on the name of the current speaker or headphones you’re listening with. When a dropdown list appears, you can choose which Bluetooth device you’d like to connect with, once it’s switched to pairing mode and in the vicinity.

3. Google Voice Access

A real step forward for accessibility, Android 11 also has the ability to enable you to control your device with speech, using Google’s Voice Access. With this mode activated, you can easily launch and navigate a wide variety of apps simply by asking – and you can even use this feature when your device is offline.

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Other bonuses for accessibility include the talkback braille keyboard – which allows you to type in braille on your standard keyboard, without any additional hardware – as well as updates to Lookout, which now has two new settings. On Lookout, those who are visually impaired can make the most of Scan Document or Food Label; just point your rear camera at the text, and it can be read aloud by your screen reader, or magnified so it’s easier to see.

4. Screen Recording

While some Android phones already offer this useful option, you’ll now find it included as standard on every device running on Android 11. Drag down your Quick Settings panel until it’s fully extended, and you’ll see the Screen Record option in amongst standard go-to settings like your Torch, and Aeroplane Mode.

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Once you’ve tapped ‘start’ on the Screen Record button, you’ll be presented with pop-up, asking to confirm that you’d like to begin recording now – here you can choose whether you’d like to record any sound using your microphone, or the device’s own audio.

5. Schedule Dark Mode

Dark Mode was an existing feature on Android 10, and is a useful adjustment worth making when using your phone in dim lighting, to lessen eyestrain. Previously, Dark Mode could be activated manually using a simple toggle, or set to turn on at the time of sunrise and sunset, automatically.

With Android 11, you can now set up a custom Dark Mode schedule for your device, so you’re never caught off-guard by a bright screen at bedtime. When live, Dark Mode replaces white or brightly coloured app backgrounds with a black alternative – not only does this make certain apps easier to navigate, but it can also transform app design. If you prefer the Dark Mode version of your apps, you can easily make the change permanent, by visiting settings.

With all this to offer, Android 11 is an exceptional operating system, that’s certain to do your handset justice – whichever model you choose. Find brilliant SIM-free and contract deals on the latest Android smartphones, here at e2save.