How To Enable & Use Chat Bubbles in Android 11

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Android 11 is more an incremental revision of Android 10, adding in a handful of features and polishing the deficiencies of a user interface in transition. The notification side of things is always in focus for major Android updates, and Android 11 is no exception.

The latest version of Android copies an essential messaging feature from Facebook’s Messenger app, “Chat Bubbles.” Whether you use Telegram or WhatsApp or other messenger apps, you can now switch the notification to a floating chat bubble that you can move anywhere on the screen. It makes not only multitasking easier but also gives you easy access to an active conversation.

The Chat Bubbles feature was first introduced as an API on Android 10 (Q) so that other developers can create Messenger-like chat head overlays. However, it has now been natively implemented to Android 11 (R), and you can use the feature with any messaging app you want.

Those who have recently upgraded their phones to Android 11 can follow this guide to enable and use the Chat Bubbles feature.

How to enable Chat Bubbles in Android 11?

Android 11 makes it extremely simple for users to open a notification in Chat Bubble mode. The following steps will show you how to get access to it:

  1. Swipe down from above the screen to expand the notification bar when you receive a new chat notification.
  2. Now tap the circle (with a small dot) icon on the bottom-right side of the notification tile.

That’s it! The notification tile should now open up in Chat Bubbles mode, floating on the sides of your Android phone’s screen.

Note that not every messaging app works with the feature as of now. Many of them aren’t ready for Android 11 yet, so your favorite messaging app might not be supported with the feature right after the stable OS update.

Having said that, it currently works with popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, FB Messenger, Google Messages, Slack, Discord, etc.

How to use Chat Bubbles in Android 11?

Since you now know how to get Chat Bubbles in Android 11, it’s time to learn using it.

To expand a floating Chat Bubble, simply tap it once. You should basically see a miniaturized version of the messaging app’s user interface. Tap Manage under the Chat Bubble window to open up the settings menu. Furthermore, you should see a + icon next to the expanded Chat Bubble above. Tapping it will show you the Chat Bubbles you have previously opened.

How to close a Chat Bubble in Android 11?

While Chat Bubble gives you easy access to an active conversation, you won’t need it floating on the screen anymore after everything goes silent for a while. In that case, you can always close the Chat Bubble. Fortunately, it’s a relatively straightforward process.

  1. First, tap and hold down the floating Chat Bubble on the screen.
  2. Now drag it to the X icon appearing at the bottom and let go of the Chat Bubble.

How to change Chat Bubble settings in Android 11?

If you want granular controls over Chat Bubbles in Android 11, go to the Settings app, then visit the Apps & Notifications menu. After that, tap the See all apps option and select the messaging app from the list that you want to change the Chat Bubbles settings for.

On the App info page, tap the Notifications > Bubbles option. From the following page, you can allow select contacts from the app to show up as a  Chat Bubble or allow all conversations to appear like that. You can also disable the Chat Bubble option for the messaging app.

To conclude

Chat Bubbles are definitely an excellent addition to the Android ecosystem, giving that it has been a popular overlay feature for years now. However, the feature will work as long as the developers of messaging apps natively support it.

At the time of this writing, many people are having trouble using the feature due to the half-baked app support, and there are a few bugs that need to be fixed immediately. Fortunately, Google is actively working with developers to fix the specific app-related issues and native Chat Bubble integrations.

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