Android 11 beta 2 is here. That means we’re just one beta away from a Release Preview, otherwise known as “the beta you want to get if you want to try new features in as stable an environment as possible.” From there, it’s on to the Android 11 final release. So close!
If you’ve previously enrolled yourself in an earlier stage of the Android 11 beta, I strongly encourage you to check your device’s settings for a System Update today. (And if you’re looking to take your first steps in the beta today, it’s easy to set that up!)
Once you’ve done that and installed the latest beta—it shouldn’t take very long to download—there are a few new features you’ll want to know about. The most important one is a new navigation gesture that makes Android’s Gesture Navigation mode a bit more palatable.
If you have a ton of home screens because you’re a super-user, you’ll now be able to swipe up from the bottom of your screen to return to your primary one (much as you previously would have done by tapping the virtual home button in two- or three-button navigation).
The other two key gestures remain the same: swiping up anywhere on your screen pulls up your App Drawer, and swiping up from the bottom of your device launches Android’s view of recent apps you’ve opened. Easy.
Other Android 11 beta 2 updates worth knowing about include:
- Screen recording now allows you to capture your Android’s audio in addition to video of whatever it is you’re doing
- Android 11’s redesigned media player is now a default in your notification panel; previously, you had to enable a developer option to unlock it
- Google is decluttering Android’s Share Sheet a bit. If an app previously prompted you with multiple options for sharing, these will now be buried under the app’s icon. You’ll tap on that to expand the menu of options, and then tap on the option you want.
- You can now edit settings for app conversations—a different type of notification—via a dedicated section in Settings > Apps & Notifications. You’ll first have to adjust the settings for an app’s “conversation” notifications to appear here, which you’ll do by long-pressing any of these notifications after pulling down from the top of your Android’s screen.
- New limitations for picture-in-picture windows—thanks, Google—means you won’t be able to expand your tiny videos as large as before.