Google released the first Android 12 developer preview yesterday, and our friends over at XDA are already digging deep into the code to find out what Google might have planned for future releases of the new OS. In the process, they managed to activate a few flags that pave the way for a brand-new interface.
This feature has been removed or disabled as of Android 11 DP4 and Beta 1, and ongoing and persistent notifications can no longer be dismissed/minimized by swiping them away. Our original coverage of the change is below.
Notification management has always been the feature that Android absolutely nails, and we've already covered that Google continues improving it in Android 11 with the addition of a conversations class. It bundles real-time, bi- or multidirectional communication at the top of the notification shade. We've now also noticed that these conversations notifications offer a slew of new long-press options that help you manage them. The long-press menu for regular notifications remains unchanged, though.
Android's notification shade has been getting a lot of attention in the first Android 11 Developer Preview. In addition to some cool new updates like conversation grouping and enhanced long-press options, a hidden feature uncovered by XDA Developers separates quick settings from app notifications into their own distinct menus.
Android's notification shade is easily one of the platform's best features, and Google has worked on fine-tuning the processes of interacting with and managing notifications throughout the operating system's development. Now with Android 11, Google is introducing its latest tweak to the notification shade in the form of a catch-all conversation section that should help keep things organized.
Our phones receive a lot of notifications each day, and because we're busy people, it's hard to keep on top them. This leads to an anxiety-inducingly large number of items in notification shades everywhere, so much so that when a new alert fires, it's difficult to know which one is the most recent. Thankfully, Google has a new feature to help us out in Android Q.
Since the release of the Pixel last year it's been possible to swipe down on the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor to pull down the notification shade. It took a while, but the feature eventually came to the Nexus 5X, and finally the 6P. Ever since it came to the Nexuses, there was a bug wherein the axis wouldn't change along with the orientation. The release of the second developer preview for Android O (DP2) fixes this, and you can now logically swipe down from whichever side of the device is currently the top, depending on how you're holding it.
If you pull down the status bar on your Google Pixel running Android 7.1, you'll see the time, day, date, and a settings quick access button in the status bar area. In the new Android O preview, things have been changed a bit. For one, we have a much cleaner font for the time and date information. But we also still see our connectivity statuses for Wi-Fi and mobile data, the current battery percentage (plugged in or unplugged), and the individual battery icon is gone (it now just toggles battery saver). Compare below - current Nougat on top, new O version on the bottom.
Android's notification shade is getting a lot more powerful in N, and two new APIs are the key to that: direct replies and bundling. On the surface, both of these things sound fairly unexciting, but in reality, they have the potential to make the notification shade a powerful multitasking tool that reduces the amount of time you spend doing quick tasks and entering apps when you don't actually need to.
First, let's hit the direct reply API. The wonderful ability to reply to messages in Google Messenger or Hangouts directly from the notification bar was, you may be surprised to learn, not a standard Android feature.
There was a lot of backlash when Google did away with the dual notification/quick settings trays on large screen devices (which happened with Lollipop). Now it looks like the company is taking a slightly different approach with the notification shade on tablets - in the M release it has three different positions (left, center, right) and will drop down closest to wherever you actually swipe.
According to Liam, who installed M on his Nexus 9, this is actually kind of jarring since there's no visual indicator as to where the shade will actually show up. Sure, there are some rough guidelines here, but those are fairly extreme.