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We know that Android 11 plans to integrate smart home controls into the long-press power menu, building on the wallet functionality it has already added, and we’ve even seen mockups for that. what it will look like. But today we have received a report about the change live and in the wild on a Pixel running Android 11 DP4, and it turns out that anyone on Android 11 can activate it by loading the latest version of the Google Home app.
Screenshots of smart home controls in the power menu.
We had the chance to play with the new interface for ourselves, and it works pretty well. The house name appears at the top center next to a Google Home icon, with a three-dot overflow menu on the right and the quick check thumbnails themselves below. You can press for binary on / off controls, and lights that support multiple lighting levels do so by swiping left and right on the tile.
Another menu for customizing controls appears via the three-dot menu to the right of the welcome label, under “add controls”. There, all of my Assistant built-in devices that appear in the Home app are there to add to the quick control shortcuts by tapping a favorite star icon, including my robotic vacuum cleaner, Android TV, Harmony macros and smart lights.
Our tipster says that everything “works perfectly” when it comes to new integrations, and so do I.
To activate it by yourself, you will need a Pixel running Android 11 with the latest version of the Google Home app, v 22.214.171.124. We tested it on Android 11 DP4, but it can also work on other versions, and it does not work explicitly on Android 10. You can download this latest version of the application from APK Mirror, our sister site, but You’ll need the APK Mirror app to install it because it uses sets of apps. If you are not familiar with this, we have a walkthrough on how to use it here.
Although all of my smart home stuff works, I have a relatively limited configuration. Artem Russakovskii of AP reports that his cameras and thermostats also work, although they require a slightly unintuitive long press for certain features.
It’s a bit odd that this feature works on DP4, and that all it takes to get it to work is just one update of the app. Google yesterday rolled out the first version of Android 11 Beta to a handful of people, possibly accidentally, as the company previously said the release would be delayed. But apparently all of the functionality required for updating the Home app to add Smart Home commands from the power menu is already present on DP4.
Refined functionality in Android 11 Beta 1
The first beta version of Android 11 was made available yesterday for Pixel devices, adding refinement to some of the new features that have arrived in developer previews. The power button menu commands were functional in DP4, but now work better in the beta version. For things like lights, single taps for state changes and swiping left and right for brightness work as before, but long presses no longer throw you into the Home app. Instead, a modal bottom sheet appears with additional options (such as colors for lights or other controls that might be needed for certain smart devices like a thermostat or a robot vacuum). The little button at the top right of the sheet now brings you to the Home app if you need to go there for something else. Simple taps for cameras didn’t work before, but now they instantly bring up a modal with your camera stream – no need to press and hold it.
Robbie is the name of my robot vacuum cleaner, in case you’re wondering.
It’s still not perfect – there’s an annoying lag while the buttons determine the current state of lights and other devices, which means I stay on a “Loading …” label on each for variable periods (well above a second in some cases). This happens even if I just opened the power button menu a few seconds ago. It makes sense that it should refresh the list when opened, but it should probably be much faster, and showing nothing instead of the loading label would be less annoying, no doubt. Hopefully Google will fix this in the following betas.
Another potentially frustrating aspect of this is that the toggle will only work if your phone is unlocked. You can choose whether or not to display the controls when your phone is locked, but there is no option to make them work when you are still locked. It is not a big problem for me with the Pixel 4 because I use the face unlock which works in the background. But on a device with a less convenient unlock method, you can try a toggle, and then be asked to unlock before you have to press the toggle again – which somewhat betrays convenience. It is possible that Google will change the way it works before arriving at the stable version of Android 11, and I hope so. Let us at least choose.
It has also been pointed out that the lock button is hidden behind the three-point overflow menu on this screen, which is a bit strange since it is supposed to be easy and quick to reach if a situation requires it. There is plenty of room for four icons in this upper section, so it would make sense for Google to add a lock so that it is easier to access.
- Thank you:
- Nick Cipriani
Beta 2 changes
Android 11 Beta 2 makes another change to the power menu stack, but this time we are climbing to the top. The vital controls were condensed from four to three with an emergency contact anchoring the left side.
For most users, Shutdown and Restart take the center and right buttons. If a user enables the lockout option in their system settings, the two above settings move to a menu that comes with a new power button – note the suggested overflow signal under the power icon. If you have enabled bug reporting via the power menu, this option is relegated to a separate overflow menu in the three-dot button on the far right.