Android 11 has formally landed — even though for many phone-carrying mammals on this planet, its arrival continues to be most commonly simply theoretical.
You know the way this works by way of now, proper? Google publicizes a complicated new Android model. It sends the instrument out to its personal self-made Pixel telephones roughly right away. With the occasional small exception, maximum different Android device-makers yawn, stretch, and move about their common industry with out such a lot as even acknowledging the brand new unlock or creating a peep about their plans to supply it — after which, someplace between a couple of months and a couple of hundred days later, they in the end get round to processing the item and getting it into the arms in their highest-paying consumers.
Smartly, that is for the shoppers who purchased a top-tier flagship cellphone throughout the previous yr, anyway. The deficient souls who picked up a high-end handset even 12 months previous will almost definitely have to attend some other few months to peer the replace. And as for many who purchased a midrange or budget-level gadget? Uh, yeah. Just right good fortune.
We have talked in regards to the pokey nature of Android upgrades advert nauseam in those quarters, however these days, it is time to speak about how you’ll be able to get round your phone-maker’s indifference, in a way, and provides your self some Android-11-like options presently — while not having any reputable rollout.
It isn’t the similar as having the real instrument, after all, and it would possibly not carry you the vital platform-level enhancements to privateness and different such spaces, however it is a minimum of one thing — and it completely will upload some in fact helpful new touches on your unexpectedly getting older gadget. Even whilst you do get Android 11, you may in finding that those options are a teensy bit higher — extra tough, extra succesful, and a heck of much more customizable — than what the instrument itself supplies.
Able to begin your unofficial improve?
Android 11 characteristic #1: One-time app permissions
One among Android 11’s maximum vital additions is its integrated skill to mean you can grant an app a restricted, one-time permission to get right of entry to your location, digicam, or microphone — which means it’ll be capable to faucet into that space for that one unmarried consultation, when you are the usage of it, however will then lose that energy once you progress directly to one thing else.
That is an impressive little bit of added keep an eye on so that you can have, and it opens up the door to smarter and extra selective permission granting — and thus enhanced privateness — because you’re now not confronted with an ungainly all-or-nothing proposition.
Smartly, excellent information: This one is tremendous simple to duplicate on any Android model. The secret’s a shockingly helpful little app known as Bouncer (which, no longer coincidentally, is considered one of my alternatives for Android’s best privateness apps). Simply set up the app onto your cellphone and observe the stairs to grant it the get right of entry to it wishes to be able to perform. It’s going to steered you to allow it as an Android accessibility provider, which sounds horrifying however is legitimately required for what the app must do.
In case you are in any respect apprehensive, word that Bouncer itself does not require another permissions — together with the facility to get right of entry to the web — so it could not do the rest shady together with your information even supposing it sought after to. The app additionally comes from a recognized, respected Android developer and has a Four.Four-star moderate ranking with 50,000 installs.
As soon as you’ve got made it thru the ones preliminary configuration displays, Bouncer will do its paintings robotically within the background: Anytime some other app is granted a permission — any permission — Bouncer will upload a steered into your notification panel asking if you wish to stay that permission in position completely, take away it once you go out the app, or take away it on a particular set agenda.
It no longer most effective fits the Android 11 one-time permission, in different phrases — it in truth exceeds it, with much more nuance, breadth, and versatility. It additionally offers you a easy solution to assessment your app permissions at any time and to peer precisely what permissions you’ve got granted and denied.
Bouncer prices two greenbacks to make use of.
Android 11 characteristic #2: Notification Historical past
A quietly provide however very treasured gem lurking in Android 11’s corners, should you even know to search for it, is the instrument’s new user-friendly Notification Historical past segment. As soon as enabled, it allows you to glance again at disregarded notifications for as much as 24 hours — which is an excellent strategy to have whilst you inevitably swipe one thing accidentally.
The similar fundamental serve as will also be added onto any Android cellphone now with the assistance of a very good little app known as FilterBox. Set up it and grant it the vital permission to view your notifications (one thing the app clearly wishes to be able to perform), and bam: Similar to that, you are able to pull up a radical historical past of notifications you’ve got gained and swept away.
This app, similar to our first merchandise, in truth exceeds what Android 11’s local an identical supplies — by way of permitting you no longer most effective to view but in addition to engage with and repair notifications, for one, and likewise by way of saving a complete week’s price of notifications by way of default (with the strategy to bump that as much as 15 and even 30 days, should you’d relatively). The app additionally has a powerful notification filtering device that permits you to robotically put off or brush aside sure kinds of notifications throughout sure days and instances.
Although you do not mess with the ones extra complex parts, despite the fact that, the souped-up and Android-11-esque Notification Historical past characteristic is one neatly price having.
FilterBox is unfastened for 30 days, and then it calls for a one-time $Four fee for ongoing use. At the privateness entrance, the developer is clear about the truth that the app does come with a community get right of entry to permission however that no notification main points are ever transmitted; the community get right of entry to is used just for trojan horse studies and analytics and will also be disabled solely throughout the app’s settings.
Android 11 characteristic #Three: A display screen recorder
With Android 11, Google in the end addresses a long-standing omission in its running device and offers us a local, integrated display screen recording serve as (huzzah!). For somebody who does any means of tech reinforce or far off demonstrating (insert lively hand-waving right here), having this sort of capacity will also be helpful.
And, you guessed it, you do not in point of fact want Android 11 to revel in it. Initially, a number of non-Google device-makers have already added a display screen recording characteristic into their very own customized takes on Android. In case you are the usage of a Samsung cellphone, for example, you must be capable to discover a “Display recorder” choice someplace within the overflowing river of choices inside your Fast Settings — the number of icons that comes up whilst you swipe down two times from the highest of your display screen.
On another Android cellphone — or should you simply need to improve and extend the serve as already provide in your gadget — AZ Display Recorder is the app you want. It brings a easy, simple, and impressively tough display screen recording device into any Android surroundings. And in contrast to maximum local display screen recording purposes (together with the only in Android 11!), it has its personal built-in enhancing device — which even makes it simple as pie (or as, say, purple velvet cake) to transform your video in a looping animated GIF.
AZ Display Recorder is unfastened to make use of with an non-compulsory $Three improve to do away with some advertisements within the instrument and turn on some complex choices.
Android 11 characteristic #Four: The streamlined media participant
An Android 11 characteristic that turns out inconsequential at the floor however is in truth slightly great to have is the instrument’s newly remodeled media participant — y’know, the set of controls that presentations up to your notification panel space every time you have got some means of audio or video gambling in your cellphone.
Historically, Android has handled such avid gamers as notifications, because of this you ceaselessly finally end up with numerous ’em should you transfer between other media-playing apps all the way through the day. As of Android 11, all the participant is bumped up into the real Fast Settings space above your notifications and was a swipeable carousel, with each contemporary set of media controls thus present inside the similar space-saving, clutter-reducing space.
You’ll grant your self that very same capacity on any cellphone this fast by way of putting in the artful Energy Color app. Simply grant the app the permissions it asks for upon first opening, then faucet the “Extras” choice inside its major configuration display screen and turn on the toggle subsequent to “Override device panel.”
And with that, you can have a spiffy new customized Fast Settings segment that appears so much just like the “inventory” Google take at the interface — and, sure, contains the Android-11-esque streamlined media participant.
Now not unhealthy, proper? In case you are feeling adventurous, you’ll be able to additionally customise all varieties of stuff in regards to the Fast Settings panel’s look throughout the Energy Color app — the whole thing from its format, coloring, and icon genre to the identify of the service displayed within the nook. However even supposing you simply stick to the app’s default settings, it is going to be a pleasing improve over your cellphone’s same old Fast Settings setup, and the brand new media participant will likely be a great addition.
Energy Color is unfastened to make use of at its base point, which contains the Android-11-style media participant and various customization choices. If you wish to unencumber each conceivable characteristic and likewise do away with some advertisements throughout the app’s configuration instrument, you’ll be able to make a one-time $Four.50 improve to the app’s top rate model (a worth that will get knocked right down to $2.50 should you do it throughout the first few days of putting in the app).
As for privateness, the app does require a good choice of permissions — all inevitable and justifiable, given the vast nature of what it is doing — however its privateness coverage is crystal transparent about the truth that it does not gather, retailer, or transmit any private data. The app has one million installs and a Four.Three-star moderate ranking.
It will not be the reputable Android 11 implementation, however it is beautiful darn shut — and similar to the opposite pieces on this assortment, it in truth has some attention-grabbing benefits over Google’s personal implementation.
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[Android Intelligence videos at Computerworld]
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