If you’re running an Android phone, you might be wondering what the latest version of Android currently is – here’s everything you need to know…
The Latest Version of Android
- Android 11
- Announced: September 2020
- Rollout: Currently Ongoing
The latest build of Android is Android 11. Google announced Android 11 on September 8, 2020. Android 11 is the 18th version of Android released and the eleventh major iteration of Google’s mobile operating system.
Google’s Android 11 launch was delayed because of COVID. Initially pegged to launch at Google I/O 2020 in June, the event was postponed and eventually took place online a few months later during September.
The first phones to get Android 11 were Google’s Pixel phones. This is the #1 reason why people use Pixel phones – they’re always first in line for new Android updates. And it’s not just new Pixel phones either; the Pixel 3, and Pixel 3a, as well as the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
Google – and, more recently, Samsung – ensures each of its Pixel phones will get three years’ worth of Android updates. Currently, only Samsung and Google offer this kind of support, so if software is important to you, maybe think about getting either a Samsung phone or a Google Pixel phone next time you upgrade.
Me? I’d 100% go with the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE right now – it’s a killer phone and it is A LOT cheaper than the standard S20 model (and, in my opinion, is just as good).
Android 11 Features – What’s New In The Operating System?
Google introduced a few changes to Android 11’s UX in 2020. The most visible is the addition of “conversations” notifications which are designed to make organizing your chats and messages simpler and more intuitive.
Compatible apps will now display IM and messages in “bubbles” and you can change the priority of how these bubbles are displayed – so, friends and family can be placed at the top for quick access.
You also have dedicated controls of smart home devices in the UX, things like Google Home and Google’s Nest products. With media controls, you can access these from the quick settings area. Android 11 also now comes with a built-in screen recorder, which is great for creating how-to videos and sharing content from apps with friends.
New APIs & 5G Support
Google introduced a bunch of new APIs inside Android 11. The most notable of which are designed to deal with 5G. But there are also new APIs for curved and foldable displays, as well as APIs for improved heat management, whereby apps that are causing issues will be managed more effectively, resulting in smoother, cooler running temperatures on Android 11 phones.
Privacy & Security Update
Google also simplified and improved security and permissions inside Android 11. With Android 11, you can set “one-time” permissions for core apps like camera, microphone, and location. Users can decide what level of permissions they give the app – and you can choose to confirm access every time you use the app.
Here’s a full breakdown of Android 11’s new security and privacy features, as confirmed on the Android 11 Developer Blog:
- Background location – Background location now requires additional steps from the user beyond granting a runtime permission. If your app needs background location, the system will ensure that you first ask for foreground location. You can then broaden your access to background location through a separate permission request, and the system will take the user to Settings to complete the permission grant.
- Also note that in February we announced that Google Play developers will need to get approval to access background location in their app to prevent misuse. We’re giving developers more time to make changes and won’t be enforcing the policy for existing apps until 2021.
- Permissions auto-reset – if users haven’t used an app for an extended period of time, Android 11 will “auto-reset” all of the runtime permissions associated with the app and notify the user. The app can request the permissions again the next time the app is used. More here.
- Scoped storage – We’ve continued our work to better protect app and user data on external storage, and made further improvements to help developers more easily migrate. More here.
- Google Play system updates – Launched last year, Google Play system updates help us expedite updates of core OS components to devices in the Android ecosystem. In Android 11, we more than doubled the number of updatable modules, including 12 new modules that will help improve privacy, security, and consistency for users and developers.
- BiometricPrompt API – Developers can now use the BiometricPrompt API to specify the biometric authenticator strength required by their app to unlock or access sensitive parts of the app. For backward compatibility, we’ve just added these capabilities to the Jetpack Biometric library. We’ll share further updates as the work progresses.
- Identity Credential API – This will unlock new use cases such as mobile drivers licences, National ID, and Digital ID. We’re working with various government agencies and industry partners to make sure that Android 11 is ready for digital-first identity experiences.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is The Latest Version of Android?
The latest version of Android is Android 11. Google announced Android 11 during an online event on September 8, 2020. Android 11 is the 18th build of Android to be released, and the 11th major build of Google’s mobile operating system.
Q: Is Android 11 Now Rolling Out?
Android 11 is now rollout out to select Android phones. Google’s Pixel phones got the update first, followed by the OnePlus 8T and VIVO V20. Samsung has released multiple beta builds of Android 11 for its Galaxy phones with a view to getting an official Android 11 released before the close of 2020. Not all Android phones will get Android 11, but those that do will receive it between now and Q2 2021.
Q: What Phones Will Get Android 11?
Not all Android phones will get Android 11. If you bought a phone from a major brand – Samsung, LG, Google, OPPO, RealMe – in 2019, your phone will likely receive Android 11. Flagship devices are most likely to get the update, though cheaper Android phones should too – although it ALL depends on whether the handset-maker decides to support Android 11 on its phones. As always, there are no guarantees – unless you’re using a Pixel phone or a flagship Samsung phone.