Android 11 Beta is live and available to download, refreshed conversation tools, improved notification menu, and several more upgrades over the Android 10 operating system.

The Android Developers Blog announced, Android 11 is pitched as “more people-centric and expressive,” emphasizing features like dedicated conversation notifications and clever floating Bubbles that keep a text chain in view when using other apps, similar to Facebook Messenger’s long-running Chat Heads feature.

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Android 11 features

Notification types have been clearly labeled, and offer more granular control over preset settings, like Alerting versus Silent notifications, for example. Do Not Disturb mode has broader customization options as well, letting you choose which apps or contacts are permitted to trigger notifications. 

Android 11 beta gives greater emphasis to smart home and media controls, too. A new Device Controls panel offers quick access to the connected smart home, while media playback controls have joined Quick Settings, making it more convenient to adjust audio or video content, whether you’re streaming to wireless earbuds, Bluetooth headphones, TVs, speakers or other home entertainment devices.

The new playback UI needs to be enabled in Developer Options in this initial beta release, though Google says it’ll be the default behavior going forward.

More security Android 11’s user-facing security features, there’s a new one-time permission that grants an app access to the phone’s microphone, camera, or location for just a single instance. Permissions will now also auto-reset if an app hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, which is certainly useful given how apps often change their feature sets through successive updates.

There are many more small but helpful additions to Android 11, from the reinvented power menu (complete with quick Google Pay access and toggles for your smart home devices), to a built-in screen recording feature Pixel owners will appreciate, to a much more streamlined screenshot UI.

How to get the Android 11 beta on your phone

Before we go any further, note that you’ll need a Pixel 2 or newer Google handset to install the Android 11 beta. Beta software can be buggy, so you might not want to install it on your everyday phone.

With that in mind, here’s how to download the Android 11 beta now.

1. Grab your Pixel 2 or any newer Google phone and make sure it’s powered on.

2. Go to https://developer.android.com/preview/get.

3. Click ‘enroll in the Android Beta program.’

4. Sign in with the same account used for your Pixel. Soon after that you should get an update alert on your phone.

5. Approve the update and refer to your phone’s on-screen prompts to download and install the Android 11 beta.

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