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Android 11 developer preview finally enables chat bubbles

Google is finally enabling Facebook Messenger-like Bubbles for your favorite messaging apps in Android 11.

Published onFebruary 19, 2020

Google debuted a lot of features in Android 10 that never made their way into the final build (remember native screen recording?). One such feature was Bubbles, which are basically like Facebook Messenger chat head-like icons that float on top of your screen for messaging apps.

In Android 11, Google is finally bringing them to the forefront. Even the first Android 11 developer preview has them enabled for certain messaging apps.

Enabling Bubbles takes a second or two, but after that each notification will pop up in a chat head for your messaging apps. First, go to your phone’s settings menu, click the search icon, then click “bubbles” (note: you will need developer options enabled to access this setting). Click the only result on your screen, then enable the setting in developer options.

Then, you’ll need to receive a message from Google Messages, Telegram, WhatsApp, or another messaging app. When that rolls in, long-press the notification and tap “Show as bubble” and a Bubble will show up. Messages from that app will continue to show up as Bubbles until you dismiss them or until you turn it off in your notification settings.

The best Android 11 features you need to know
Android 11 logo stock photo 1

So far, I’ve been able to get it to work for Telegram and WhatsApp without issue. They work just like Facebook Messenger, too. You can drag the Bubble icon around your screen. Click it to expand the notification, and drag the icon down to the bottom to dismiss the Bubble.

It’s super buggy in its current form, so I wouldn’t recommend using this feature right now. If you have two Bubbles open with unread messages from each app, the Bubble will only show one app open at a time. So, you could potentially miss a message if you’re not careful.

It should improve over time though, so expect an update to this article as more dev previews become available. Google is urging developers to use the Bubbles API to enable this feature for Android 11, so if your favorite messaging app isn’t compatible yet, be patient!

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