Android 11 update launches for Google Pixel phones, beta comes to others

Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL
(Image credit: Future)

The wait for Android 11 is officially over, at least for some of us. Google has released a final build of the newest Android operating system, which can be found here. At present, it's only available on Google Pixel phones: anyone with a Pixel 2 or newer can upgrade to Android 11, and that includes the new cheap Pixel 4a.

Users on other Android devices may still have to wait some time to see Android 11 come to their phones, and even Pixel owners won't be getting a simple OTA (over-the-air) update just yet. But, a handful of devices from major Chinese smartphone manufacturers are getting an updated beta version of Android 11, reports XDA-Developers.

The new Android 11 beta build will be available for the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, the Xiaomi Mi 10 and 10 Pro, the Realme X50 Pro as well as nearly a half-dozen Oppo phones, including the Find X2 Pro.

What's in the Android 11 update?

Android 11 comes with some major quality-of-life updates. Perhaps the most important is the new Android 11 security features for app permissions. Now, users will be able to offer apps one-time permissions that only apply while the app is running in the foreground. 

This means, if you don't want an app to always have access to your location, microphone, or camera, you can limit that. Android 11 will also automatically revoke certain permissions for apps that haven't been interacted with in a few months.

The Android notification shade is also getting some changes. For one, notifications from messaging apps will be grouped into a conversations section that will appear above and separate from other notifications. This can make it easier to keep up with ongoing conversations.

Google is also adding options to mark conversations as priority and silence or set custom sounds or vibrations for a conversation. You can also convert the notifications from a conversation into Bubbles (akin to Facebook Messenger's Chat Heads)

The Android 11 update has better control for media and smart home devices in mind with this update as well. Media controls in the notification shade will have more options to help you manage the multiple streams you might have running on both the phone and external devices, such as a cast target. And, a new power button menu will offer quick controls over smart home devices without needing to launch individual apps.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.