Today’s the big day of the Android 11 Beta, bringing with it a variety of smaller changes and putting all of the improvements into the hands of more people. One of the more exciting, if subtle, changes coming with Android 11 is the ability to switch your current media to a new Bluetooth device with ease.
Right now, if your phone is connected to more than one Bluetooth audio device, you’ll usually be playing to the one that connected most recently, and switching between them is not usually easy to do. With the early beta releases of Android 10, Google initially experimented with bringing a device switcher button to the normal media controls notification, though this never made it to the final release. As part of today’s Android 11 Beta 1 release, Google is making the media switcher an official part of Android.
For now, you’ll need to enter into your phone’s Developer Options menu and enable a new setting called “Media resumption” to gain access to Android 11’s media switcher. According to Google, the media switcher setting will be enabled by default starting with a later version of the Android 11 Beta, and presumably also for the final release.
As previously spotted, the media switcher comes bundled with a new location for your media controls in the Android quick settings menu, instead of taking up a spot in your notification drawer. In the new media controls, you’ll see a Material Design “chip” that displays what device you’re currently playing to — such as “Phone speaker” or the name of your Bluetooth headphones — which you can tap to pull up a list of available devices to play on.
It seems you can only switch your playback between your phone speaker and your various Bluetooth devices, with no support for moving your playback to a Wi-Fi device via Cast. Undoubtedly, integrating the switcher with Cast would take a much larger effort that would require cooperation from Android app developers.
Interestingly, Google shared their own preview of Android 11’s media switcher UI, and it looks a bit different from what we see in Android 11 Beta 1 today. Check it out.
More on Android 11:
- Google launches Android 11 Beta with focus on ‘People, Controls, and Privacy’
- Google Home 2.23 enables smart home controls in Android 11’s Power menu
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