Microsoft's original Surface Duo foldable finally gets Android 11

Microsoft has finally released the Android 11 update for the original Surface Duo. The foldable smartphone was meant to get the update in 2021, but Microsoft missed that original deadline. Now, though, Surface Duo owners will finally be able to take advantage of the changes that Android 11 brings to the foldable.

Android 11 comes to the Surface Duo at the same time as the phone's January security patch. That means you're not only getting new security functions, but also an updated operating system with this month's update. Microsoft included a breakdown of the changes coming on its website. Here are some of the highlights.

First, the Surface Duo will now support Xbox Game Pass. This means you'll be able to play and discover games using the cloud and an on-screen controller. Of course, you'll need a subscription to the service, but it will be nice to have full functionality for Game Pass on the original Surface Duo. Additionally, Microsoft has optimized Quick Settings and the notifications drawer for both portrait and landscape orientations. We're not sure what the exact optimizations are, but, hopefully, users will see better responses when using those features.

Next, the Surface Duo now supports Photos by OneDrive, a new dual-screened experience that lets you view and edit your photos from the OneDrive app. If you don't make use of photo programs like Google Photos, then this could be a great way to customize the photos you store in your Microsoft OneDrive folders. For a full list, check out the Surface Duo's update history.

How to update your Surface Duo

If you want to take advantage of the new features added with Android 11, you're going to need to update your Microsoft Surface Duo. Luckily, the process isn't that difficult, though you may need to wait for the patch to roll out to your device. According to Microsoft's support documents, you'll need to head to the Settings app and then navigate to the System and System Update pages to download the update.

If you can't download the update, then it most likely isn't available for your device just yet. Sadly, there isn't really any way to force your phone to update, so all you can do is wait.

It's good to see Microsoft finally pushing out the Android 11 update for the Surface Duo. Android phones have been notoriously bad about not receiving updates in a timely manner, and while the Surface Duo is getting access to Android 11 while many others are already running off Android 12, it's still a noteworthy patch because of the additions that it makes.