What you need to know
- Autofill is getting some much-needed attention in the Android 11 beta.
- Instead of having to rely on pop-ups for Autofill information — which weren't always reliable — autofill data can now appear in the keyboard on Android 11 as an autocomplete suggestion.
- There are also improvements to the keyboard in Android 11 that should make opening the keyboard smoother and cleaner by letting it the app scroll and re-position content seamlessly as the keyboard loads from the bottom of the screen.
- The new Autofill service doesn't seem to live on our Pixel devices just yet.
At long last, the open beta of Android 11 is here has arrived and with it a more polished look at the new features and revisions of older features that we'll be seeing on millions of Android phones later this year. There's plenty of fun new features to play with here, including some major revisions to the notifications shade and the power button menu, but one of the smaller revisions that could make things a whole lot cleaner when trying to make purchases on enter information on a website — like signing oodles of petitions — is that Autofill services will be able to have information appear in the keyboard rather than appearing in pop-ups the way it has in previous versions of Android.
This works using new Autofill APIs in Jetpack that allow Autofill to recognize when a keyboard is active and display autofill suggestions for things like credit card info and shipping/billing information in the keyboard suggestions strip of your keyboard. So far we haven't seen it activate using either Gboard or SwiftKey, so there may still be API integration that needs to take place with Google's Autofill service, but once it is working, I'll be very happy to see it in the keyboard where my attention already tends to drift while inputting things like my address, email, and phone number.
There's also new UI animations designed to help the keyboard feel more seamless when using it on apps like messengers. Apps will be able to listen for the commands that signal a keyboard is opening and then slide up app content more gracefully while the keyboard loads from the bottom of the screen. There's also an animation developers can use to allow to keyboard to come up naturally when users swipe from certain elements on the screen, but as these will rely on developers to implement them, I don't see them being widely used for at least the next several months, no matter how pretty and smooth they look.
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