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Android 11 autofill gets better with keyboard input

Autofill has been a key feature of Android since the Oreo launch of 8.0, but the implementation has always felt a bit sloppy and unreliable. In Android 11, it seems like Google is finally ready to improve autofill in a pretty obvious way – using the keyboard.

A development page that went live in recent days describes an add-on to Android 11 that Google did not previously announce. With the latest version of Android, keyboard apps will be able to integrate with the platform’s autofill feature, and drive the autofill user interface from flowing across a text field to the keyboard itself.

There are major implications for this feature as well. In its current state, Android must recognize a password field in apps and browsers, and sometimes it can fail quite hard on it. Google̵

7;s documentation explains that IME (input-method editor) would be responsible for a “suggestion request”. Essentially, an on-screen icon can trigger password options from your password manager.

Remarkably, this new autofill implementation already seems to be tested on Android 11 with Gboard. We’ve noticed a couple of times the interface below that pulls from Google’s own password manager and enters a username and password from the app on your screen. This functionality has been available when we use Chrome for a while, but in Android 11 we see it on other apps because our own Abner Li could capture in the screenshot below. Dylan Roussel noted the same thing on his device. Our friends over at Android Policealso got a screenshot showing 1Password in the Gboard suggestion strip. Personally, I have not been able to trigger the same.

If everything sounds familiar, it’s because this is the method Apple has been using on iOS for a while. Simply put, it’s a better workflow for password managers and autofill, and personally I’m glad it’s coming to Android.

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