Here are almost 100 new features in Android 11


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Android 11 may look like a relatively iterative release of Google’s mobile operating system, at least on the surface. But we’re not so sure. Android’s latest update features changes large and small, some of which you can’t even see, but that could have a significant impact on the platform going forward. We’ve compiled a list of what we think are at least 100 of the new and notable changes—a list that’s only bound to grow as we near its official release.

Google has changed the timeline for its Android 11 releases in recent months, adding an extra Developer Preview and pushing most subsequent releases back by around a month. However, the final stable release is still set for sometime this summer in Q3.

Above: Old Android 11 timeline. Below: The new timeline.

Before we dive in, we’d like to thank you: our tipsters and readers. Our job would be so much harder if it weren’t for you helping us spot new stuff to look into, and AP ️s you.

Now up to Beta 1

Our coverage has been updated through Android 11 Beta 1, including the previous DP1, DP2, DP3, DP4. The most recent additions to our list are just below. By our count, the number of features added in total to Android 11 so far comes in somewhere around 90-95, though that varies depending where you draw the line on separate features. If you count features that arrived on Android 11 first and trickled down to Pixels on Android 10 via Feature Drops, then it’s a little over 100, and if you break out smaller individual changes to “big” features, the number is even higher — especially if you count every individual API change or reversion separately.

Either way, the number is at least a little subjective, but we tried to be conservative.

End of Update

What’s new?

While Android 11 still has quite a few user-facing changes (especially as of Beta 1), they’re less numerous than in previous releases, and we’re getting a lot more “under-the-hood” tweaks to things like general user privacy and changes to APIs.

It’s been a bit since we updated our full list, paired with the fact that some stuff in Android 11 is so subtle that it slid under the radar for a while, the new additions below come from several versions. Some of these features are new as of Android 11 Beta 1, some (like many of the APIs) are older, but didn’t get standalone coverage. Either way, they’re all present on Android 11:

Current bugs

The Android 11 feature list

Entirely new Android 11 features

Visual tweaks

Privacy and security changes

  • Temporary/one-time app permissions: Android 11 adds the option to grant some permissions “Only this time,” so you can continue to decide on a case-by-case basis.
  • Scoped Storage is back: Introduced in Android Q, we got a one-year reprieve before Scoped Storage goes into effect, and it will debut with Android 11. It may be slower, and it will interfere with some legacy operations, but Google champions the effect it will have on user privacy, better sandboxing app storage. Some apps may also be able to secure exemptions, like file managers and backup apps.
  • Repeatedly denying permission requests will block them: If an application requests a permission twice, and it’s denied by the user both times, the app will be blocked from requesting the permission again.
  • Extra tap to grant overlay permissions: Overlay-based attacks are a serious concern for the Android platform. Starting in Android 11, apps that need you to grant it can’t simply take you to the toggle, they can only dump you to the level before it, where you have to then navigate to the option and turn it on yourself. It’s just one extra tap, but it might make a difference for those blindly granting permissions to malware.
  • No more background location access: Although apps can request an exemption, Google is pressuring developers to stop letting apps request continuous location access, so they can’t gather that information in the background, only while they’re running and you are aware of them. All new apps must meet this requirement by August, and in November, any that don’t meet the requirement will be booted from the Play Store.
  • “Require eyes to be open” setting for face unlock on Pixel 4: This showed up in Android 11 DP2 first.
  • Unused app permissions are automatically revoked after some time: If you don’t use an app for long enough (and we don’t know how long that’s supposed to be yet), it will eventually lose permissions you’ve granted it.
    • Furthermore, all permissions are set to revoke in this manner by default as of DP4, though the change may have reverted in Beta 1, and we aren’t sure if the original change was a bug/intentional or not.

Modifications to existing features

Under the hood/developer/API changes

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Brian Jones

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