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Android 11: New features we want to see


Android 11 logo stock image 1

Android 10 has made its way to scores of phones around the world, and it’s now coming preinstalled on virtually every new device out there. But the next version of Android — Android 11 — has just received its first developer preview.

Android 10 gave us plenty of neat features, but there’s still plenty more we’d like to see. So with that in mind, here’s our wishlist! Be it functionality lifted from popular Android skins or long-requested tweaks, these are the Android 11 new features we want to see in the final build.

More battery modes

android q quick settings dark mode google pixel 2 xl

Google already offers Doze and a battery saver mode to help users eke out more juice. There’s no doubt that these modes have helped users get a little more endurance out of their phones.

But the Pixel 4‘s mediocre endurance shows that even battery saver isn’t enough in some situations. So with that in mind, it would be great if Android 11 offers more battery modes, such as a Samsung-style Ultra Power Saving mode.

Fortunately, this feature might be coming to Pixel phones after hints of it appeared online. Now, about bringing it to Android phones at large…

More screenshot options

Realme UI's partial screenshot functionality on the X50 Pro 5G.

One of the biggest features missing from stock Android right now is scrolling screenshot support, which would allow you to take a long screenshot of a webpage or conversation thread. In fact, this is available on the majority of Android skins out there right now.

Another option we’d like to see in Android 11 is partial screenshot support. Realme UI offers a rather cool take on this (seen above), letting you tap and hold three fingers on the screen to summon a selection box. Simply adjust the box to highlight what you’d like saved and you’ve got a partial screenshot — no need to visit a separate editing menu.

Google has already confirmed that scrolling screenshot support is targeted for Android 11, but we’d add partial screenshot functionality to our Android 11 features wishlist too.

Game mode

samsung game tools

Samsung pioneered the game mode and associated tools, giving you a dedicated game space and a few useful tools (e.g. the ability to tweak resolution and capture screens). We’ve since seen this mode and some of these tools come to gaming phones and some Android skins in general.

It would be great if Google brought a gaming mode to Android 11 or later as well, giving you the ability to seamlessly tweak the display resolution/frame-rate, an option to automatically disable notifications, and quick capture functionality.

More privacy features

Oppo's Personal Information Protection feature.Oppo

Android 10 delivered some overhauled privacy features, including revised permissions and a dedicated privacy section in the settings menu. We’d like to see Google go even further with Android 11.

The company could look at a variety of measures, but we quite like Oppo and Realme’s Personal Information Protection feature (seen above). This essentially feeds blank data to apps that request things like contact lists, call logs, calendar entries, and message access. This can also be set on an app-by-app basis, so apps with a legitimate use for this data can be whitelisted.

Read: Everything you need to know about privacy in Android 10

It wouldn’t hurt if Google added a few more privacy-focused features to the fray, such as a BlackBerry-style Privacy Shade, or automatically sending shots to a file locker when taken with a physical fingerprint scanner or alternative shutter key.

Google could also look to Apple for more privacy features, such as generating a unique email address that forwards messages to your real address. By doing so, your real email address should be safe from data breaches and other nefarious activities. Apple also has a system option that strips metadata when sending images via AirDrop — it would be great if Google implements this as an option for all uploads.

A desktop mode

Desktop mode is a feature that was previously teased in Android 10, but was hidden away from users in the final release. This is another feature we’d like to add to our Android 11 features wishlist, as the likes of Huawei and Samsung have offered it for several years now.

For the uninitiated, a desktop mode allows you to have a PC-style UI when your phone is hooked up to a big screen. When paired up with a keyboard and mouse, you’ve got a PC alternative of sorts when traveling or for office presentations.

Optimized charging

OnePlus 7T Pro display

Asus was among the first to introduce an optimized charging solution with its Zenfone flagships back in 2018. This essentially uses your past charging habits to adjust the charging rate. This practice ensures your phone isn’t sitting at 100% for ages, resulting in slower battery degradation over time.

Read: Charging habits to maximize battery life

We’ve since seen Apple and OnePlus offer this solution as well, but we’d like to see Google add this to Android proper. This way, other OEMs don’t have to do the legwork, and battery health across the board should be improved. It’s particularly important as people are holding onto their phones for longer, making battery degradation more of a concern.

An Android Beam replacement

Pixel 3 XL vs Pixel 3a XL showing camera modules

One of the best things about Apple devices has to be AirDrop, giving a seamless way to locally share files with other devices. Google used to have the aging Android Beam solution, but it’s since killed that.

Android 10’s previews teased a so-called Fast Share/Nearby Sharing solution as a local file sharing option, using Bluetooth for the initial pairing process before switching to Wi-Fi to share. Unfortunately, the final Android 10 release didn’t offer this feature, so hopefully this comes to Android 11.


What about Android 11 Developer Preview features?

Android 11’s first developer preview contains several nifty features, but there’s no guarantee they’ll come to the final, stable release. Just look at how many features were missing when Android 10 transitioned from preview to stable. Nevertheless, with that in mind, here are some of Android 11’s new features we hope to see in the final release:

  • Screen recording — Record what’s happening on your screen, following in the footsteps of OEM skins.
  • Dark mode scheduling — The Pixel feature drop lets you toggle dark mode based on sunrise/sunset, but we’d like to see the ability to set custom time-frames.
  • Pin apps to share menu — Lets you pin apps in the sharing menu, so you don’t need to keep scrolling for your favorite app.
  • Conversations — All chat-related notifications go into a “conversations” section in the notification shade.

That’s it for our Android 11 features wishlist, but what would you like to see in an upcoming Android update? Give us your own wishlist below!


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