Google Releases Android 7.1.1 to the Masses, Includes App Shortcuts, GIF Keyboard Support, and New Emojis

Today’s the day, folks. Google has finally released Android 7.1.1 to both Pixel and Nexus users who have been anxiously waiting for the update to arrive. This update brings new features previously only found on the Pixel and Pixel XL alongside plenty of fixes and improvements for Google’s latest smartphones.


Getting things started, Android 7.1.1 brings app shortcuts to older Nexus devices. This is basically Google’s take on what Apple’s doing with 3D Touch on the iPhone. A simple long press of a supported app icon will bring up a menu with different shortcuts to tap on in order to directly access a certain section or execute an action within an app. I’ve found myself using Twitter’s shortcuts the most and I have to say, I love them.


Next up, Android 7.1.1 also brings support for a GIF keyboard. We’ve seen GIF keyboards before, but it’s nice to see it finally reach the default Google Keyboard. And yes, it does what you think: you can search for and select millions of GIFs to share.

Currently, only Hangouts, Allo, and Google Messenger support the feature, but more extensive app support is bound to pop up in the near future. Stay tuned.


Finally, fresh emojis have made their way to Android in this update which include emoji people wearing space helmets, teaching a class, and sporting a rock-and-roll look. In addition, women counterparts to the already built-in man-based emoji are also present for Google to promote their gender neutrality. It’s a nice move by the company to include such a feature, especially when considering the society we currently live in.

Of course, as aforementioned, there’s a ton of bugs and improvements under the hood for the Pixel and Pixel XL who are being upgraded from Android 7.1 to 7.1.1. As Verizon notes,

This update fixes these issues:

  • Customers couldn’t retrieve their Visual Voicemail messages and were getting an error 9999 in some areas.
  • Voicemail icon notification was not displaying when a new voicemail message was received.
  • Device stopped playing voicemail messages over Bluetooth® after the screen timed out.
  • Device occasionally went to blue screen during an inbound call.
  • Email font was too small.
  • Text was garbled on the call screen/dialer and the text was corrupted on the Recent Calls and contact list screens.

This update improves:

  • You can now choose Cellular or Wi-Fi as your preferred way of calling while roaming internationally.
  • Latest Android™ security patches.

Pixel owners are also receiving new Moves that allow them to double tap on their screen to wake up their device and view ambient notifications via a lift-up of their device. These features began rolling out to Canadian users of the Phones by Google last month, however it seems that this happened a bit too early.

In addition, all devices receiving Android 7.1.1 are getting the December security patch.

Recipients of Android Nougat 7.1.1 will begin receiving notifications on their Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P/5X/6/9/Player, and Pixel C saying the update has arrived and is ready to download and install. For those who are a bit impatient, you can download the appropriate factory and OTA images here and here (respectively). It’s worth noting that all past beta testers of Android 7.1.1 will also receive the update over the air, so don’t think you’ve got more flashing to do.