Google releases Android 11 Beta 2, here is everything you should know

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Google releases Android 11 Beta version 2, here are all the new features and changes made that you should know

Google yesterday released the Android 11 Beta 2 after the successful reviews of the previous beta released in June. With this beta release, the company is left with the final beta release before the stable release of Android 11 on September 8. Beta 2 is considered the “Platform Stability” release, meaning the Android 11 SDK, NDK APIs, app-facing surfaces, platform behaviors, as well as restrictions on non-SDK interfaces have been finalized.

Yesterday Google released the Android 11 beta 2 program publically. Well, the Android 11 beta program is only available on Google Pixel smartphones and other Google-powered Android smartphones. So let’s have a look at the new features and changes that are made in Android 11 Beta 2.

Notable changes and features added in Android 11 Beta 2

New glowing “ripple” animation in the media player controls

This is admittedly a rather minor change, but one we thought was neat when we first noticed it. There’s a spiffy new glow/ripple animation when interacting with the buttons in the media playback notification. It’s a small touch, but it looks really nice.

[Source: XDA developers]

Screen recorder can record device/internal audio and/or microphone at the same time

Finally, Beta 2 adds the ability to record device audio, microphone, or both at the same time! This will prove super helpful for making instructional screen recordings or narrating over gameplay.

Less clutter in the Share Sheet

Fortunately, Android 11 Beta 2 declutters the share menu a bit by combining any share targets that are from the same app. In the screenshots above, there are 3 share targets from MiXplorer, a free and popular file manager app from our forums. While these 3 share targets are still shown in the Sharing Shortcuts section, they’re all listed under “MiXplorer” in the full “Apps list.”

Long press on device controls in power menu brings you to the activity

One of Android 11’s best features is the ability to surface smart home controls in the power menu. This feature, dubbed “Device Controls,” comes with an API that developers of smart home apps can hook into. So far, the Google Home app has already added support, and this week Google has started informing smart home developers to get on board.

New icon to launch a conversation in a bubble

“Bubbles” is one of Android 11’s highlight features, although it started out as a developer option in Android 10. In the first beta, the Bubbles feature moved out of Developer Options and into Settings > Apps & Notifications > Notifications. The “Allow apps to show bubbles” option is now enabled by default, but apps still need to support showing a conversation as a bubble.

PiP windows have less resizability

It appears that Picture-in-Picture windows have less flexibility when it comes to resizing, a feature that was just added in Android 11 Developer Preview 4. The screenshots above show the extent to which you can resize the windows.

New Select button icon in the recent apps overview

Here’s another small little change: the “Select” button in the Recent Apps overview has been redesigned with a new icon. That’s it.

3 more new key layout files for gaming controllers

We wrote about how Android 11 brings 84 new key mappings for Xbox, Razer, PDP, Mad Catz, and other gaming controllers. Well, Beta 2 adds 3 more to the list: another Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, an Xbox USB Controller, and the Steam Controller (Model 1001). These controllers will now have their buttons properly mapped to key inputs that apps can recognize while connected to an Android device.

Force 90Hz refresh rate option removed, Smooth Display now one less page away

As was first pointed out to us by some Reddit users, the option to “Force 90Hz” refresh rate in the Developer Settings has been removed in Android 11 Beta 2 for the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. In addition, the “Smooth Display” toggle has been given more prominent placement in the Display settings.

Conversations have a dedicated settings page

In Settings > Apps & Notifications, there’s a dedicated settings fragment for Conversations that’s separate from the other Notifications sub-settings. Here, you can change the settings for any app notification that is recognized as a “Conversation.” You can change the priority, whether the app can show as a bubble and more.

Slight tweak to the markup screenshot editor

Pixel phones come with a basic screenshot edit called Markup. In Android 11, the top row of icons has been changed. The “Share” button has been replaced by a share icon, the “save” button has been moved to a new dialog that appears when you tap “Done” (which was previously just a back arrow to exit Markup), and there’s now a trashcan icon to delete the image. When you tap “Done,” there’s also now a Delete option in case you change your mind.

New “Allow screen overlays on Settings” Developer Option

There’s a new option in Developer Options is called “Allow screen overlays on Settings.” Enabling this will allow apps with the “display over other apps” permission to show their floating windows on top of Settings screens.

From Beta 1: Disable Wi-Fi Auto-connect for specific networks

Android has supported automatically turning on Wi-Fi and connecting to nearby (trusted) networks, but this has always been an all-or-nothing thing for Pixel phones. You either enabled the “Turn on Wi-Fi automatically” setting in Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi preferences or you didn’t. In the first Android 11 beta, Google added the option to toggle this feature on a per-Wi-Fi-network basis. Simply go to “Network” details for any saved Wi-Fi network and then toggle “auto-connect.”

From Beta 1: Save Images from the Recent Apps Overview

The Device Personalization Services app on Pixel phones adds a nifty feature to the recent apps overview: the ability to long-press text or images to open the context menu. In an earlier Android 11 beta, Google added the ability to “save” an image you long-press in the recent apps overview.

These are the new features and changes made in the Android 11 Beta 2 update. For more news on tech and cybersecurity stay tuned on Android Rookies by subscribing to our newsletter from here.

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