The first Android 11 beta is officially here! You can download it right now if you have a Pixel 2, 3, 3a, or 4. Among the handful of big user-facing changes in Android 11, Google is moving our beloved media playback controls to the quick settings panel.
Why though? Shouldn’t they just be in the notification shade?
Yes and no. Over time, Android’s notification shade has gotten pretty crowded — you have messaging app notifications, media playback controls, system app notifications, silent notifications, persistent notifications, and much more. Android 11 is all about revamping the all-important notification shade to make it more intentional. Moving media playback controls to the quick settings leaves more room for important things like texts and emails.
Here’s how the new media playback controls work. First, you need to find the “media resumption” setting in developer options. Turn that toggle on and your media controls will now be in the quick settings panel. It condenses into a small box on the left side of the panel when you swipe down once from your notification shade. Pull down again to expand the page even further and you’ll see a much bigger box for media playback controls.
From here, you can jump to the media app, play, pause, and even select an output device for the media. So, if you have a Bluetooth speaker or headphones connected to your device, you can easily switch the media playback from your phone’s speakers to your Bluetooth device. Awesome!
However, there are some downsides. This is definitely one of the buggier parts of the Android 11 beta. My Pixel 3 has frozen multiple times while trying to interact with these controls. Also, I’m not seeing a way to dismiss the playback controls from the lock screen.
Do you like the way Google is implementing media playback controls in Android 11? I’m liking it so far, but I can’t wait for future releases when Google works out some of the bugs. Cast your vote in the poll below and speak up in the comments with your thoughts.