5 ways to get the most out of Android 11
Tech tip from last week column collected several iOS 14 tips for iPhone users and many phones running Google Android 11 operating system have similar controls – like the ability to customize quick settings box or change the assistant’s synthetic voice. And once you start digging into Android 11, you will find plenty of other useful features.
Here are a few of them. These tips should work on recent Pixel models from Google, but keep in mind that other phone manufacturers often use their own modified versions of Android, so capabilities and menus may vary.
That Google is waiting for you
If you have selected the Google Assistant as a virtual assistant and use the current version of Google Call app for your calls, you can team them up with the Hold for me function to handle one of the most boring tasks in modern life: waiting for a customer service representative. (You also need at least a Pixel 3 or other compatible phone.)
To activate Hold for Me, open the Phone app and tap the three-dot More menu to access settings. Select Wait for me, and then press the button to activate the function.
When you dial a toll-free number and are put on hold, press the on-screen button to turn on hold for me. The Google Assistant takes care of listening to a human and displays a “Do not hang up” notice. When the customer service representative answers the call, Google Assistant changes the on-screen message to “Someone is waiting to talk to you” and highlights the “Back to call” button. The phone captures the audio and a transcript of the call, and you have the option to share data with Google to help improve functionality.
Configure guest access
Lending your phone to someone comes with risk, especially lending it to someone Young someone who wants to watch videos but can also wander through your email and contact list. To keep the peace – and protect your personal files – you can use Long-standing Android “multiple users” setting. With it you can configure a guest account or a separate user account on your phone.
Open the Settings app, select System, then Advanced and Multiple users. Tap the Enabled button, then tap Add User to create a new account or use the guest account. You can switch accounts here or by swiping down from the top of the screen with two fingers to open the Quick settings area and tapping on the User icon.
Record your screen
Screen recordings are useful for presentations, demonstrations, and troubleshooting. After years of third-party apps doing the job, Android 11 now includes a Screen recorder app.
To use it, swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers to open the Quick settings area, then swipe to the second page of settings. Tap the screen recording icon, activate the controls for audio and screen taps (if necessary), and tap Start. To stop recording, swipe down from the top of the screen, and tap the red notification bar. The recording is saved in the Movies library.
Use your power (button)
The Quick Settings panel is handy, but Android 11 adds yet another place to store commonly used commands: Hold down the phone’s power button until the power menu appears. Here you have shortcuts to turn off or restart the phone, using Google pay at buy things and smart home device management. Install an app like Power menu controls or Bags and you can add other system commands to the screen.
Another use of the Power button? Quickly double tap it to go directly to the Camera app for a quick snapshot.
Herd of cats
Software developers have a history of so-called sneaking Easter eggs in the code, and Android has long supported this tradition. Android 11 revives a previous prize: a hidden game that has digital chats roaming around your phone. To play it, go to the About phone section of Settings and repeatedly tap “Android version”. When a volume button appears, turn it up three times until you see an “11” and a cat emoji appear on the screen.
Then, press and hold the power button to enter the power menu. Tap the three-dot More menu to select Add Controls. Select “See other apps” at the bottom of the screen, select “Cat controls” and add the water bowl, food bowl, and cat toy to your feed menu. Tap on these controls and digital chats will start appearing in your notifications or floating bubbles, ready to be named and saved to your onscreen chat corral. It’s not a complex game, but it’s a way to pass the time until the final version of Android 12 happens this year.