Android 11 update release date, beta, features
Android 11 beta is out for all
While we’re still expecting the public Android 11 to roll out toward the end of 2020, everyone can finally get an early look now that the public beta has launched.
While developer previews have given app devs early access to Android 11 since February, anyone with a Pixel 2 or newer phone in Google’s Pixel family can download the beta and see for themselves what new features are coming.
The official reveal of Android 11 was going to happen on June 3, but that date was pushed back. Typically it would have landed at Google IO 2020 in May, but that event got canceled. Then out of sensitivity for the global protests, Google simply decided to forgo an announcement event and just release the beta online with a blog post.
The 2020 Android update is set to be called Android 11 – that’s not speculation, but fact, since Google has confirmed the name itself. This follows, because with Android 10 Google pledged to follow a numerical system of operating system organization.
That means while Android 9 was Android Pie, Android 10 wasn’t Android Quiche, and Android 11 won’t be Android Rhubarb and Custard (sadly) or Android Rocky Road – but it will be packed with updates and, likely, a few long-awaited features.
We’ve already started hearing rumors and news surrounding the upcoming Android operating system. Here we’ll collect everything we know about Android 11.
Update: The Android 11 beta has arrived! Now anyone can download the public beta.
- How to download Android 11 right now
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The newest Android operating system
- When is it out? Likely September 2020, at least on Pixel phones
- How much will it cost? Android 11 will be available for free
Android 11 release date
Google tends to unveil some of the features of its newest operating system at Google IO in May, before releasing the OS for Pixel phones with an Android 11 release date of sometime in September – in 2019, for example, it debuted on the Pixel 4.
We know that Google IO 2020 isn’t happening in 2020 thanks to coronavirus concerns. Having originally booked an replacement online event for June 3, Google has now decided that isn’t happening either. In the end, the Android team simply decided to release the beta on June 10 via a blog post and a series of developer-focused videos
Subsequent betas will land in July and then August, followed by the finished release probably in September.
After that, different smartphone brands will have their devices eligible for the finished Android 11 update slowly over time. The OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro were the first non-Google smartphones which came with Android 10 in the box, but it could be a different company for Android 11.
Not all smartphone manufacturers upgrade immediately, however, and it will likely be some time in 2021 before all smartphones that can upgrade, have had the upgrade made available.
Android 11 beta
The first public Android 11 beta has now landed, but it’s only available for Google Pixel handsets, and for the first time the original Pixel models have been excluded, so you need a Google Pixel 2 or newer to get the beta.
It’s not yet been confirmed whether that will be the case for the final release but we’d think it’s likely. After all, the original Pixel launched way back in 2016.
If you have a compatible phone you can head here to download the beta – but note that being a beta it’s obviously unfinished, and won’t be as stable as the final Android 11 release.
Android 11 beta compatible phones
These are the phones that are currently eligible for the Android 11 beta:
- Google Pixel 2 / 2 XL
- Google Pixel 3 / 3 XL
- Google Pixel 3a / 3a XL
- Google Pixel 4 / 4 XL
- OnePlus 8 / 8 Pro
Some companies have confirmed their phones will receive an Android 11 beta soon including Xiaomi and Oppo, but right now only Google and newer OnePlus phones will actually let you use the beta.
Android 11 features
While we’ve finally gotten our official look at the Android 11 public beta, that version typically doesn’t have all the features introduced in previous developer betas. Ergo, we’re still examining what’s come out of the various Android 11 Developer Previews, the first of which was unveiled to software developers in mid-February 2020.
The latest of these previews has highlighted smart home controls, with Android 11 bringing up toggles for all your supported smart home devices with a long press of the power button. You can see how this would look below.
This is called a Device Control hub, and you’ll now be able to try it for yourself in the Android 11 public beta (if you have a compatible phone).
The public beta has also brought improved media controls, designed to make it quick and easy to switch the output device for audio or video content, for example switching to headphones, speakers or a TV.
We’ve also spotted signs of a recycle bin in the Android 11 file system, which means you’ll be able to get back anything you accidentally delete. It’s hidden for now though, and it remains to be seen how different apps will implement the feature.
Beyond that, an important Android 11 feature seems to be how apps can now find out if you’re on 5G, continuing a feature which lets apps distinguish whether you’re on 4G or Wi-Fi connection. This would optimize content and performance for however you’re connected, likely stopping you draining loads of data unnecessarily.
Additionally, it seems that the notification bar in Android 11 will have its own conversations section, so notifications from ongoing conversations, or from other apps, will be divided to let you ignore some if you want, as the image below shows.
From this conversations section you’ll be able to access shortcuts to set reminders, as well as opening a chat in a pop-out ‘Bubble’.