Custom ROM throwback: Android 11 tests separating the Quick Settings panel from the notification shade
The first builds of Android 11 were released a few hours ago, coming to us in the form of Developer Preview 1. This new release of Android brings along a lot of new privacy and security-focused changes, several developer-oriented updates, and a whole bunch of changes that were not part of the announcement post from Google. While we were looking around for more new, unannounced changes in the newest version of Android, we stumbled upon something that surprised us…but not really. With Android 11, Google is testing a separation of the Quick Settings panel from the Notification Shade — a feature that used to exist in several older custom ROMs.
As Mishaal demonstrates on his Google Pixel 2 Xl running Android 11 Developer Preview 1, Android 11 is testing a feature that separates the Quick Settings dropdown from the Notification Panel dropdown, allowing you to quickly jump into either depending on which side of the status bar you pull down from. In the video, you can spot a white line on the status bar indicating the point of separation — swiping down from the left of this line will pull down the notification shade, while swiping down from the right of this line will pull down the Quick Settings panel. If your intent is to access the Quick Settings panel, this will streamline your experience by eliminating the double swipe that is currently needed to access them.
As is evident from the video, this feature is still very much a Work-in-Progress. The notifications do not align themselves properly to the top of the notification shade, and the Quick Settings panel has an odd line where the notifications would normally appear. This feature is thus not available for toggling by default and needs to be manually activated.
One theory with this UI test is that Google could be trying it out alongside other UI tests on the Quick Settings panel and Notification Shade, such as integrating music controls in the Quick Settings panel instead of the Notification panel. It could also be tied to the dedicated Conversation view in the Notification Shade, and coupled with the aforementioned music controls change, can be seen as an attempt to declutter the Notification Shade and improve the overall experience.
If you have been around the custom ROM scenes in the era of Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich, you would realize that this isn’t exactly a new feature. I personally recall having used this feature on Touchwiz-based custom ROMs based on Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread as well as on heavily modified CyanogenMod builds that were based on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It appears that Google has now taken inspiration from custom ROMs for this UI test, though at this stage, there’s no guarantee that this feature will make its way to the final release of Android 11.