With every big new OS version there are countless under-the-hood upgrades that will go unnoticed by regular users but could have a positive impact on their experience. Android 11 will be no different, and we've spotted one such small but potentially important new feature in Google's developer documentation for the upcoming release. Starting in Android 11, apps will be able to grant per-process network access.
Android 11 is nearly feature-complete now, but Google is still putting its final touches on the software and APIs before the first stable release. One of these last-minute additions is an API that allows devs access to two, or more, on-device cameras at the same time, including both front and rear cams.
The second Developer Preview of Android 11 replaced the built-in file manager with Files by Google, the same application that was already present on the Play Store (and pre-installed on Android Go phones). However, the Files app on Android 11 has a slightly different appearance than the same app on Android 10 phones, and there is some added functionality.
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.
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.
As part of the ongoing Android 11 beta release festivities, Google just published a new video for developers detailing how the company plans to change how you sign into apps and services. That might sound boring, but the changes described are huge. Google is rolling out an entirely new system called Block Store, and if developers actually use it, signing back in with your apps on a new phone will be as easy as restoring from a backup during the setup process.
Before phones started recording 4K footage, most people balked at the idea their videos could grow to 4GB and larger. Things have changed, of course, and it takes less than 15 minutes at 4K30p to hit that mark. You might be thinking this shouldn't matter thanks to 64-bit filesystems that can handle file sizes up to 16TB. However, an old API from the days of 32-bit Android still capped sizes at 4GB, which forced video recordings to be split into separate files at regular intervals. A fix for this was promised a while back and Android 11 Beta 1 finally delivers on this, but it's not going to matter if you're not using the right camera apps — and the Google Camera isn't one of them (yet).
One of the bigger features in Android 11 is a new type of "bubble" notification, which has been in development for years and looks a bit like Facebook's ancient chat heads. Unfortunately, they require that apps specifically support them to work going forward. However, Google's first-party Messages app will pick up support for it "in the next week or two." The settings section for bubbles has also been changed slightly as of Android 11 Beta 1.