Android 11 Developer Preview 3 Brings Much Needed Tools For Crash Analysis, Wireless Debugging, ADB Incremental Support And Other Features

Google has released the third and expectedly the final Android 11 Developer Preview version. The latest experimental version of Android 11 includes a few new features that will help developers better understand the functioning and occasional crashing of apps. The Android 11 Developer Preview 3 follows the release of the second Android 11 DP which happened last month. With the third iteration, Google has included one major feature and made a few other tweaks to existing ones introduced in earlier iterations.

The Android 11 Developer Preview version 3 has been released by Google. This will be the final Developer Preview version for Android 11 before the upcoming major update moves onto the beta testing phase. Google planned to release two more Developer Previews before opening up the beta for non-Pixel devices, and this is the latest one to arrive at developers. The latest version includes ADB Incremental support, Wireless Debugging, and a few other features. Here’s what’s included in Android 11 Developer Preview 3:

App Exit Reasons Updates:

In Android 11, apps can retrieve a record of the reasons behind the most recent app crashes or deaths using the new getHistoricalProcessExitReasons method in the ActivityManager class. The new ApplicationExitInfo class details the information that apps can retrieve for their historical exit reasons, which can include factors like the system running low on memory, a native code crash, a runtime permission change, excessive resource usage, etc. These APIs have been updated in Android 11 Developer Preview 3 based on developer feedback, which Google is actively seeking.

GWP-ASan Heap Analysis:

Previous Android 11 Developer Preview v2 added a number of tools to help developers find and fix memory safety issues. The latest is GWP-ASan (also known by its recursive backronym “GWP-ASan Will Provide Allocation Sanity”), a “sampling allocation tool that detects heap memory errors with minimal overhead or impact on performance.” In Android 11 Developer Preview v3, GWP-ASan is enabled by default in platform binaries and system apps but developers can also enable it for their applications as well. Google recommends doing so if an app uses the native code of libraries.

ADB Incremental:

Google wants large APKs to be installed a lot quicker than in previous versions of Android. Hence the company is introducing a new ADB Incremental feature. This feature can make installing large APKs (2GB+) from a PC to a phone up to 10X faster than before. In Android 11 Developer Preview 3, developers can install an incremental APK using the “ADB install –incremental” command in the latest ADB binary. APKs must be signed with the new APK Signature Scheme v4 format, which generates a signature in a separate file. This feature also requires that the device support the new Incremental File System, which is currently only supported by the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Google says that all Android 11 launch devices will support the Incremental File System and hence ADB Incremental.

Wireless Debugging:

Wireless ADB is now easier than ever in Android 11 with the new “wireless debugging” option in Developer Options. The feature first arrived in Android 11 Developer Preview 2, but Google never publicized the same. Users can currently pair their phone to a PC using the pairing code workflow, but Google says they plan to add a QR code scanning workflow in a future Android Studio release.

Data Access Auditing Updates:

Google has updated the new data access auditing APIs in Android 11 Developer Preview 3. Specifically, Google has renamed several of the APIs. Hence app developers must update their app if they are using any of them. A sample application can be found here. Feedback can be given here.

Google has offered detailed release notes for Android 11 Developer Preview 3. Testers can run the preview build in Android Studio’s Android Emulator in case they do not have a compatible device This is the third and final Developer Preview. There will be 2 beta releases which will include non-Pixel devices. Recent Android smartphone buyers can expect to receive a stable version of Android 11 after June 2020 or presumably in the third quarter of this year.

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.