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Gadgets

Android 11 is here – Best features and how to update

If you have an old Android smartphone there are plenty of reasons to think about upgrading. Not only do newer models have more impressive features like better cameras and more storage space, but you also don’t have to worry about vulnerabilities specific to old devices.

We recently found out about a security flaw found on every gadget running Android 9 and earlier. Tap or click here to find out how to patch that flaw.

And now, after months of testing, Android 11 is ready for the general public to get its hands on. If you want to take this new operating system for a spin, here’s a quick look at all the new goodies you can expect in Android 11.

What to expect with Android 11

Android 11 is available right now and you’ll see three major themes: privacy, people and controls. Let’s take a deep dive into what that means.

Privacy

Android 11 gives you more control over sensitive permissions, and developers are working to keep devices more secure through faster updates. Here are some things to look forward to:

  • One-time permission allows you to give an app access to your device’s microphone, camera or location, just that one time. The app can request permissions again the next time it is used. Right now, you need a separate (paid) app to accomplish that.
  • Permissions auto-reset: If you haven’t used an app for an extended period of time, Android 11 will “auto-reset” all of the runtime permissions associated with it and notify you when it does. That means unused apps will no longer have access to your location, camera or microphone. You can grant permissions again the next time you use the app.
  • Google Play System Updates launched last year and lets Google expedite updates of core OS components to devices in the Android ecosystem. Android 11 more than doubled the number of updatable modules, and those 12 new modules will help improve privacy, security and consistency for both you and developers.

You may also like: How to get the most out of your Android apps

People

Developers are rethinking the way you communicate using your phone, building an OS that can recognize and prioritize the most important people in your life. Here’s how.

  • Conversation notifications will appear in a dedicated section at the top of the shade, with a new design and conversation specific actions. You’ll be able to open a conversation as a bubble, create a conversation shortcut on the home screen or set a reminder.
  • Bubbles will help you keep conversations in view and accessible while multitasking. Messaging and chat apps will be able to use this feature.
  • Voice Access, for people who control their phone entirely by voice, now includes an on-device visual cortex that understands screen content and context and generates labels and access points for accessibility commands.

Controls

  • Device Controls make it faster and easier to access and control your connected devices. Now, by simply long pressing the power button, you’re able to bring up device controls instantly and in one place.
  • Media Controls allow you to switch the output device for audio or video content, whether it be headphones, speakers or your TV.

Those are just a few key features you can expect with Android 11. There are many more. You can check out Google’s blog with full details on the release here.

You may also like: 7 Android security settings to enable now

How to install Android 11 on your device

Installing the software is simple. Here are the steps you need to follow to get Android 11 on to your device:

  • Open the Settings app on your Android device and tap System
  • Tap Advanced, followed by System Update.
  • Tap Check for Update. If the update is available on your device, it will populate the menu for you to download.

OnePlus users have a slightly different set of steps:

  • Open the Settings app and tap System.
  • Tap System Update. If the update is available on your device, it will populate the menu for you to download.

If you were previously enrolled in the Android 11 Beta Program, all you need to do is update your phone to graduate to the final release version of the operating system.

There’s a lot to unpack here. Once you weigh the exciting new features against potential bugs that you’ll have to deal with, is it worth it for you to update? That’s something only you can answer, but there’s nothing wrong with a little adventure in life.

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