Android 11 features we love: Screen recorder

Pixel 4 with an external USB-C microphone
Pixel 4 with an external USB-C microphone (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

Android 11 has a handful of new and useful features as well as polishing up some that were already part of Android. Screen recording is definitely one of the latter.

You've been able to record the screen on your Android phone — any Android phone — for a while now. But Google never included a native user interface so that meant you either had to type in commands while connected to a PC, use a third-party app, or buy a phone from a company like OnePlus that used the feature and built an app that made it easy. Android 11 fixes that.

You've been able to record your screen for a while, but Android 11 makes it simple for everyone.

You can record your phone's screen and choose the way audio is recorded, too. The choices are to not include any sounds, include internal device audio, or to include both device audio and audio from a microphone. The microphone you use can be your phone's microphone(s) or an external microphone. You can also choose whether or not to include highlights to show where you have tapped the display. There are plenty of choices here.

Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central

While the recording is in progress you'll have a priority notification, complete with an icon in your phone's status bar, running. You'll find this at the top of your notifications list where all priority notifications now live, and when you wish to stop recording you can swipe down and tap it to end everything. The file is quickly saved and you'll get a new notification that lets you open it or share it. An app designed to edit video should be able to directly open your recording directly from this notification.

Google needs to polish what already works and that's what Android 11 does best.

It's not the features of the screen recorder that make it such a big deal, though. It's the fact that Google did the work and built out both the method and the user interface in a way that just works for every phone with Android 11. There's a chance that a phone manufacturer might not be forced to include it — features are stripped from Android all the time by companies that make phones — in lieu of its own solution or just not have screen recording capabilities at all.

As I've said before, Google's biggest job with Android 11 is to not ruin its good thing. Android 10 was filled with useful and meaningful changes and features, and nobody wants to see those get ruined by some sweeping change. When it comes to screen recording, the way Google has taken the basic commands to make it happen and turned them into a useful and simple task is the right kind of polish.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.