Android 11 is changing notifications in a big way: Here’s what you should know

BY admin June 22, 2020 Technology 1 views

The first Android 11 beta is here and Google dialed in some major changes to the way the Android 11 notifications drop-down shade works. 

The first Android 11 beta is here and Google dialed in some major changes to the way the Android 11 notifications drop-down shade works. Moreover, media controls have been updated, smart home controls have been relocated to the notification shade, and chat bubbles offer a new way to multitask between conversations.

The idea behind all the below changes is that of a “dedicated, persistent space,” says Google. According to user feedback, people want specific places in the user interface to take care of certain tasks. Thus, Google created a series of dedicated, persistent spaces in Android 11 to address these requests.

Let’s explore each of these just a bit.

Android 11 notifications: Priority conversations


Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Android 11 now prioritizes messaging conversations in the notification shade. A new section header for conversations appears at the top of the shade. It encompasses several changes so users can quickly see and respond to them

First, the message count indicator is bigger and more legible. Google says this will help people see how many unread messages are waiting in a given inbox. Similarly, sender and chat names are larger and easier to read. The primary action toggle is also now bigger and less of a pain to tap with your fingertip. Last, avatars are now in the front of each conversation. Not only are the avatars larger, it’s obvious when more than one recipient is part of a conversation.

In the action front, Google says it improved the functionality of a feature from Android 10. Long-pressing a conversation will mark it as important so it appears first, as well as breaks through Do Not Disturb. Users will now have a clearer idea of what’s going on when they take this particular action.


Developers will need to use the MessagingStyle API and add the shortcut ID to get this all to run smoothly. It applies to most messaging apps. The remainder of your notifications will lineup below conversations.

Chat bubbles


Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Google wants you to know that bubbles have graduated from a developer preview feature to a full, user-facing feature. As long as developers toggle the newest version of the BubbleMetadata API, users will be able to grab a conversation in which they are actively engaged and drag it to the home screen where a chat bubble will persist.

This feature is similar to Facebook’s chat heads for Messenger. The bubble floats on top of the phone display as a multitasking feature. Bubbles will automatically use the shortcut’s adaptive icon for resizing purposes. Tapping a bubble brings up a card with the conversation that overlays other apps.

Google says it will have more details for developers on this feature in the coming weeks. We weren’t able to get bubbles working on our devices yet, for what it’s worth.

Media playback controls


Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Android 11 notifications shade reworks a dedicated, persistent space for all media players so end users can quickly control and even resume content.

Media controls now live in the shade as a persistent card no matter which app is running up front or what notifications have been received. Moreover, the media controls will always be available on the lock screen. New to Android 11 is an output picker, available from the notification shade, that allows people to send audio to headphones, a Bluetooth speaker, or the phone speaker.


Most importantly, Google says that as long as developers toggle the MediaBrowserService API, the media controls will persist even when media sessions are destroyed, or if the phone is rebooted. This means users can quickly jump right back to where they were in that two-hour podcast or playlist.


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