Development of Android 11 continues, with Developer Preview 3 being the latest and greatest build of the OS so far.
Launched on April 23, DP3 is a relatively minor update compared to past previews. It focuses mostly on behind-the-scenes fixes, but that's not to say there aren't any user-facing changes.
After digging through Developer Preview 3 looking for anything new and noteworthy, here are all of the changes you should be aware of.
- More control over Back gesture
- New screenshot UI
- Big redesign for Recents page
- Undo gesture for recent apps
- Wireless debugging
New sensitivity controls for Back gesture
Android 10 introduced Google's fully gestural navigation system, and ever since then, the company's been continuing to refine things to make it as seamless as possible.
Developer Preview 3 for Android 11 allows for further customization of the Back gesture, now allowing you to adjust the sensitivity for both the left and right edges of your screen.
Android 10 already allows you to change the Back gesture sensitivity, but it's more limited in that you can't have different levels for either side. We're sure some people will still complain about the gestures, but here's to hoping this option to further fine-tune your experience makes it more enjoyable for everyone.
Revamped screenshot UI
When you take a screenshot in Android (at least on a Pixel), you see a brief preview of the image before it disappears. You can then swipe down to access your notification panel and have shortcuts for sharing, editing, or deleting said screenshot.
Android 11 DP3 takes a page out of iOS's playbook, now showing a preview of your screenshot in the bottom-left corner of the screen. You can tap on the X icon to dismiss the pop-up, and next to it you'll find Share and Edit shortcuts that are much easier to access than before.
The screenshot pop-up shows up first, then the shortcuts, and then everything disappears after about five seconds if you don't interact with it at all.
Redesigned UI for Recents page
While Developer Preview 3 is relatively light on user-facing changes, one of the biggest has to do with the Recents page.
First and foremost, the suggested apps and Google Search bar are gone. Instead, they've been replaced by Screenshot and Share icons. The screenshot shortcut doesn't take a screenshot of the Recents UI, instead taking a screenshot of the app that's currently highlighted. Tapping Share will also take a screenshot, but it then instantly brings up a UI for sharing said screenshot. It's...interesting.
You'll also notice that the app previews are larger than they are in Android 10.
All of this could change by the time the first public beta comes out in May, and personally, I sure hope it does. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I'd much rather keep the suggested row of apps and a Google Search bar than two icons for screenshotting an app.
Undo gesture for Recents
It really isn't necessary to clean apps out of your Recents menu, but whether you need to kill a misbehaving app or just don't like it getting cluttered up, there are reasons why you may be swiping apps out of it.
However, let's say you go to swipe away a game that's not responding but accidentally dismiss Spotify instead. Now, you can just swipe down on the current app after swiping away the previous one to have it come right back.
This gesture appears to only work with one app, meaning if you dismiss Spotify and then Gmail, swiping down will only make Gmail come back. Even so, it's a nifty tool to have.
You'll also notice that the GIF here doesn't have the new Recents UI. The redesign seems to be available for some and not all, so we aren't entirely sure what's going on there.
Wireless debugging finally works
Wireless debugging first popped up in Android 11 DP2, but DP3 actually enables it for people to use.
Wireless debugging allows you to debug your Android phone with ADB commands from your computer without actually having to plug anything in. Simply enable wireless debugging on your phone, type in the pairing code on your computer, and the two devices will connect via Wi-Fi.
This is something most folks will probably never touch, but if you're someone that often works with ADB, this is a great feature to have.
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