New Android releases always bring exciting new features to the table, but every once in a while, a beloved feature gets reworked or removed altogether. That's no different for Android 11, which made it more cumbersome to grant apps the permission to install APKs, requiring a restart of the application in question up until at least Developer Preview 4. While that requirement is still present on more recent builds, the situation is now slightly improved: when apps are programmed correctly, they'll restart the latest activity, making the experience as smooth as possible.
Scoped Storage was the most controversial addition to Android 10 when it debuted last year, as it blocked most applications from accessing your phone's entire internal storage to improve privacy and security. Google ended up pushing the deadline for supporting Scoped Storage to the release of Android 11 later this year, but there's additional functionality in the new Android version for apps to try out.
Android 11 is now official, and Google is releasing the first Developer Preview for this new version starting today. The software changes this time sound ambitious, with Google essentially taking most of its work on Android 10 and (literally) turning it up to 11, featuring enhancements to privacy and security, improvements to Project Mainline, a new dedicated "conversations" section for notifications, and tweaks to better harness 5G — all among a much longer list of changes just too big to include here. You can check it out for yourself by manually flashing it onto supported Pixel phones (everything but the 2016 OGs).
Privacy has always been an important consideration for smartphones, but over the past two years or so, it has become a key component of Android updates — Android 9 and 10 both introduced breaking changes designed to better protect users. The first developer preview of Android 11 went live today, and to the surprise of nobody, there's another round of privacy-focused features.
Perhaps the most drastic change announced for Android Q was Scoped Storage, which changes file management on Android by limiting which folders apps can access. After complaints from developers that they wouldn't be able to update their apps in time for Q, Google said it wouldn't make Scoped Storage a requirement until Android R, but well-known file manager Solid Explorer has just added support anyway.
Android Q Beta 3 has hit our devices only a couple of days ago, but so far, it turns out to be the buggiest preview release of the latest OS version yet. We're experiencing mobile-network-breaking eSIM trouble, some Google Pay problems, and some issues related to the new gesture navigation. Now, another bug has surfaced that affects screenshot sharing and saving.
Following our previous expectations and just in time for developers in attendance at the ongoing I/O developer conference, Google has just pushed out downloads for Android Q Beta 3. OTAs don't seem to be pushing out via the traditional means just yet, but you can start sideloading the update on your Pixel now. Beta 3 also adds support for 15 other partner devices from 12 OEMs.
Android Q beta 2 led to a slew of controversy over "Scoped Storage," a new set of rules that changes how apps are allowed to access local storage. Google hopes to improve security through this since the current free-for-all system can enable bad actors to snoop data from around your device. Now, Google has announced that it will stop enforcing Scoped Storage with beta 3 to give developers more time to adapt to the new API.