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Android 11 is now available in stable for Google Pixel phones and in beta for some OnePlus, Xiaomi, Realme, and OPPO phones – XDA Developers

It’s finally here!

Android 11 is the latest update to the world’s most popular smartphone operating system, and the first set of stable builds are finally rolling out to support Google Pixel smartphones. We’ve gone through four developer previews (DP 1, DP 2, DP 3, and DP4) and three betas (Beta 1, Beta 2, Beta 3) to get to this point, and we’ve tracked every little detail along the way as best as we could. And now with the stable release of Android 11, we can finally look forward to Google’s vision arriving in the hands of consumers across the world!

Android 11 stable official

All Android 11 News on XDA

Android 11 comes with a fair few changes, but Google is highlighting some of the major ones.

Communication on Android 11

Conversations section in the notification shade

Conversations across messaging apps are now moved to a dedicated space in the notifications section. This will make it easier to manage ongoing conversations with people, and not have these notifications drown out in the flood of miscellaneous app notifications. Google mentions that you can also prioritize conversations from key individuals if you so want. This conversation section was first present in Developer Preview 1.

Android 11 Conversations section in notifications

Bubbles

Last year, we had pointed out how the Bubbles API introduced in Android 10 will replace the overlay API in a future Android version. With Android 11, Google is pushing developers of messaging and chat apps to make the transition to Bubbles to keep conversations in view and accessible when a user is multitasking on their phone.

As users, you can now respond to important conversations without having to switch back and forth between a messaging app and other apps on your phone.

Built-in screen recording

While you could take screenshots from the very early days of Android, you couldn’t really record the contents of your screen on Google Pixel phone without needing a third-party app. Android 11 for the Google Pixel finally adds a built-in screen recorder, so you can easily capture and share what is happening on your Pixel. You can record with sound from the microphone, from the device (internal audio), or both; and you can do this without needing any third-party apps.

Android 11 screen recorder

The screen recorder within Android was first spotted in Android 10 Developer Previews, but the feature was not user-accessible in the stable release. It was spotted again in Android 11 Developer Preview 1, and the feature received more polish in Developer Preview 2.


Device Controls in Android 11

Power Menu Device Control

Android 11 gets a new power menu that allows you to quickly access your connected smart devices. Simply long-press the power button to reach the new menu and control connected devices like thermostats and smart locks with a tap, without needing to open multiple apps.

Android 11 Power Menu Smart Home Device Controls

With this new addition, it finally feels that Google has brought the smartphone to the smart home!

Redesigned Media Controls

Media controls on Android 11 have been redesigned, now gaining a consistent spot in the Quick Settings menu. You can also quickly switch media playback to another device using a shortcut.

The new media player in the Quick Settings panel caused quite a stir when it was first spotted in Developer Preview 1. Over the course of development, the UI has been refined, and the feature itself has been upgraded with the ability to store up to five previous media sessions.

Wireless Android Auto

Android 11 now allows all devices to work wirelessly with Android Auto, as long as you have a compatible head unit or aftermarket receiver. We’re already heard about this change, and Google is confirming that wireless Android Auto will require support for 5GHz Wi-Fi networks. Consequently, some areas in the EU, Japan, and Russia will not have this function available because of specific requirements for 5GHz Wi-Fi being used in cars.


Privacy and Data on Android 11

One-Time Permissions

As the name implies, Android 11 allows users to grant single-use, one-time permission access to apps that request access to the device’s microphone, camera, or location. The next time that an app needs to access these device features, it needs to request those permissions once again.

Android 11 one-time permission use for location

The feature was first spotted in Developer Preview 1, and it allows the user to temporarily grant an app access to a permission so long as that app is in the foreground. Once the user navigates away from the app, the app loses access to that permission and must request it again. This is different from the behavior introduced in Android 10 in which users could grant the location permission to apps “while the app is in use.” One-Time Permission gives users even more control over sensitive permissions.

Permissions Auto Reset

The average user might not remember to revoke access to sensitive permissions after their use, so Android 11 will auto-reset all the runtime permissions of an app and notify the user if the app has not been used for “an extended period of time”. The app can request the permissions once again the next time the app is used.

This feature addition was first spotted in Developer Preview 3, and we’re glad to see it make its way to the stable release.

Google Play System Update — Project Mainline modules

One of the biggest changes in Android 10 for newly launched devices is the introduction of Project Mainline. The purpose of Project Mainline is for Google to take control away from OEMs of framework components and system applications that are critical to security and maintaining development consistency. Each Mainline module is encapsulated in either an APK or an APEX file and is updateable by Google through the Play Store. The user sees updates as a “Google Play System Update” (GPSU) on their device, and updates are released on a regular cadence as a train (ie. they’re downloaded and installed at the same time).

Google mandates the inclusion of specific Mainline modules, which at the time of Google I/O 2019, included 13. With Android 11 Developer Preview 1, Google mandated a total of 20 Mainline modules. Now, with Android 11 (starting from the Beta 1), Google has mandated a total of 12 Mainline Modules in addition to the ones present on Android 10. The total is now at 25 modules.

– APKs: Captive Portal Login, Documents UI, ExtServices*, Module Metadata, NetworkStack, Network Stack Permission Configuration, Permission Controller*, Telemetry TVP

— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) July 9, 2020

Android Enterprise Changes

Android 11 brings some changes for Android Enterprise users, with the work profile now giving the organization’s IT department the tools to manage a device without monitoring their personal profile data or activity. The announcement from Google leaves out most of the details, but you can view the changes here.


Exclusive features for Pixel users

There are some new features reserved for Google Pixel devices, likely being made available through the closed-source Pixel Launcher, Device Personalization Services, and other Pixel-exclusive applications. Google mentions that supported Pixel devices will get additional tools to organize and manage the phone, like app suggestions based on daily routines, new actions for selecting text and images, and for screenshots.


Android 11: Download and Rollout

Android 11 will begin rolling out today in stable for all Pixel devices going back to the Pixel 2, but beta releases are also now available for select OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Realme smartphones. The OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 10, Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro, OPPO Find X2, OPPO Find X2 Pro, OPPO Ace2, OPPO Reno3 4G, OPPO Reno3 Pro 4G, and the Realme X50 Pro are the devices getting new Android 11 beta builds today.

Download Android 11 for Google Pixel devices

The Android 11 update should be arriving through an OTA update to your supported Google Pixel device. But in case it hasn’t, you can download Android 11 for supported Google Pixel devices from the following links, and sideload it very easily:

Google Pixels

GSI Downloads

You can track the other phones getting the update by visiting our Android 11 update tracker article. And if you’d like to take a peek under the hood, Google has also started uploading the Android 11 source code to AOSP. We’ll of course be digging into AOSP ourselves, so stay tuned for more news on Android 11!


What are your thoughts on Android 11? Have you tried it out on your device? Let us know in the comments below!

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boost Phone's

9 Apps to Boost Your Phone’s Security and Privacy – WIRED

Android and iOS are both constantly evolving to be more secure and protect your privacy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use a little help here and there. We’ve rounded up 9 great security apps for your phone right here, eschewing the standard antivirus and VPN options to bring you some lesser-known utilities that can really make a difference to how well protected your phone and all the data on it is.

By the way, we are aware that this list is a little Android-heavy, but that’s due to the nature of Android and iOS. Apple takes more control over the security of iOS, whereas Google is more willing to let third-party apps step in—iOS apps simply aren’t allowed to scan for viruses, analyze networks in detail, reconfigure user permissions, or access any of the other deep hooks in the software that a serious security app would need.

Access Dots

Make sure your device’s camera and mic aren’t used without your permission.

Screenshot: David Nield via Access Dots

iOS 14 adds a new feature to iPhones that shows an on-screen alert if an app is trying to use your device’s camera or mic—just like the ‘active’ light that might be next to your laptop’s webcam. Access Dots brings the same functionality to Android, quickly and easily.

There’s not much to the app, but it’s incredibly useful: You’ll see an indicator in the status bar if an app has secretly enabled the camera or the mic. Make a donation to support the app’s development, and you can change the position and size of the indicator dot too.

Access Dots for Android (Freemium)

Jumbo

Deleting old tweets is just one of many tasks Jumbo can take on.

Screenshot: David Nield via Jumbo

Social network privacy settings are difficult to understand and constantly changing—but Jumbo can do the hard work for you when it comes to making sure you’re not sharing more about yourself than you’d like. It can also help you keep your social accounts locked down.

The app connects directly to your online accounts to offer a variety of useful services: deleting your old tweets automatically, stopping Google from collecting quite as much information about you, limiting ad personalization on Facebook, and much more.

Jumbo for Android and iOS (Freemium)

GlassWire

 GlassWire keeps watch on how much data apps are using.

Screenshot: David Nield via Glasswire

GlassWire keeps a careful eye on app data usage—you can see which of the apps on your smartphone are using up the most data (both in terms of uploads and downloads), get instant alerts when a new app starts communicating with the internet, and more.

Whether you’re worried about your data plan while you’re away from the Wi-Fi at home or you want to make sure certain apps aren’t sending data back to base when they shouldn’t be, GlassWire can help. There’s an integrated firewall available inside the app as well.

GlassWire for Android (Freemium)

Norton App Lock

Lock down certain apps with Norton App Lock.

Screenshot: David Nield via Norton

Passcode lock apps add an extra layer of security beyond the main lock screen on your phone, which can come in very handy if you’re always sharing your device with a colleague, partner, or young relative—they effectively seal off part of your phone.

We’ve covered these apps in more detail here, but our favorite option on Android is Norton App Lock (not least because it comes from a brand you can trust). It’s simple to use, it’s completely free, and it supports PINs, passwords, and patterns for unlocking apps.

Norton App Lock for Android (Free)

Fing

Use Fing to figure out what’s going on on your network.

Screenshot: David Nield via Fing

Are all the devices on your home network yours, or are your neighbors making use of your broadband too? Fing can tell you exactly what’s on your network at any given moment, which is helpful for troubleshooting problems as well as keeping your home Wi-Fi secure.

It has plenty of other strings to its bow too: Fing will check the speed of your web connection, attempt to find hidden cameras in your hotel room, warn you about internet outages, tell you about new devices connecting to your network, and more.

Fing for Android and iOS (Freemium)

Alfred Home Security Camera

Make use of an old phone or tablet with Alfred.

Screenshot: David Nield via Alfred

Did you know that with the right app you can repurpose an old phone or tablet into a security camera? Whether you want to keep an eye on the back yard or a sleeping baby, Alfred Home Security Camera makes it easy to get everything set up and configured.

Obviously you’re going to need more than one device here—one to do the video recording and another to watch the feed from wherever you happen to be—but Alfred offers all the features you’ll need, including motion detection, two-way audio, and a built-in siren.

Alfred Home Security Camera for Android and iOS (Freemium)

Twilio Authy

You should have 2FA in place, and Twilio Authy can help.

Screenshot: David Nield via Twilio Authy

We’ve written about the importance of two-factor authentication (2FA) many times, but we’re not going to stop mentioning it—it makes a huge difference to the security of your online accounts, and Authy is one of the best tools for the job of managing your 2FA codes.

Adding new accounts is easy, and so is generating login codes, and so is moving Authy between devices, all of which makes 2FA as stress-free as it should be. It’ll work with a whole host of accounts, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Evernote, and Dropbox.

Twilio Authy for Android and iOS (Free)

Firefox Focus

Firefox Focus offers a clean, secure browsing experience.

Screenshot: David Nield via Firefox

There are privacy-focused browsers, and then there’s Firefox Focus—a browser that blocks ads and trackers by default, leaving you with a fast, secure, and mostly untracked browsing experience (though be aware of the limits of this type of locked-down browsing).

Even better, there’s a big trash can icon up at the top of the Firefox Focus screen that will wipe out your browsing history, stored passwords, and site cookies with a single tap—it’s like having instant access to a private or incognito mode whenever you step online.

Firefox Focus for Android and iOS (Free)

Bouncer

Take more control over app permissions with Bouncer.

Screenshot: David Nield via Bouncer

It’s not always easy to keep on top of app permissions, but Bouncer gives you a little more control over what apps are allowed to do on your Android device. It essentially lets you grant permissions to apps on a temporary, one-off basis whenever it’s necessary.

Say you want to give Facebook permission to tag a photo, but don’t want it accessing your location the rest of the time, then Bouncer can help. Permissions can be revoked after a certain time or when the app closes, and it keeps a log of app permission activity as well.

Bouncer for Android (Free)


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