Windows 11 gains back File Explorer features that shouldn’t have disappeared

As Microsoft works on the first major update to Windows 11, codenamed Sun Valley 2, there's already some improvements to the File Explorer for Windows Insider users.

As of Windows 11 Insider build 22557 and above – which allows you to sign up to features in testing that are not ready for a final release, you can have OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud service, integrated to the top right of a window, so you can see which files are synced and are being uploaded.

Alongside this, folder previews are seeing a return, so you can look at what the folder contains without having to double-click it. You can also pin files to an Explorer window, as well as folders as before, making managing your content a lot easier than before.

It's yet another example of Microsoft listening to feedback, such as drag and drop coming back to the taskbar, alongside folders to the start menu. But these features to File Explorer arguably shouldn't have disappeared in the first place, and would have avoided some unneeded irritation to users.

Analysis: Restoring features like a yo-yo isn't a great experience for users

Sometimes the little features make a big difference when you use a PC or Mac every day. Dragging and dropping to the Windows 11 taskbar is another example of a feature being in Windows 10, being absent in the launch of Windows 11, and being brought back in a forthcoming update.

Apple has introduced and removed features for a later date before, but arguably only when there's been public beta programs for major software updates. A bunch of new features to the Files app and iCloud in iOS 13 were held back and weren't seen in a final version 5 months after they debuted.

But Microsoft does this with public releases, and it's getting to the point of wondering – why?

Windows 11 Sun Valley 2 improvements

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Folder previews and the drag and drop function of the taskbar are features that didn't need to be removed in the first place. They're the little features that help the user in their workflows, whether that's for a day job or gaming.

But on the flip side of this upcoming build, seeing OneDrive integration into the File Explorer window, alongside pinned files are new features that are going to be welcomed by plenty of users. Its functions can help highlight the files that are most important to you, and it's encouraging to see Microsoft focus on the smaller features of its existing applications.

However, if a Windows 12 does appear, one of the best efforts the company could do is to simply not remove the useful features that have no justification in doing so. Build on them, redesign them, but removing them in public releases will only irritate users.

Via Windows Latest

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Siri is yet to regain crucial accessibility features that disappeared with iOS 15

Apple is still yet to reinstate functionality which was removed in iOS 15, where Siri could perform various tasks such as checking and playing voicemails.

The commands in question are valuable on the accessibility front, with the visually impaired or legally blind – or indeed other Apple device owners – are able to use them to keep on top of their voicemail as mentioned, or to instruct Siri to send an email, check recent calls, or call history.

MacRumors highlighted the functionality which went missing back in September, just after iOS 15 was released, and the site reminds us that these features haven’t been restored to Siri, despite growing complaints around this.

An inaccessible Siri for some

One reader told MacRumors: “For many fully blind people (like my blind mom) this makes their phone almost unusable, because they can’t ask Siri who has called, and they can’t ask Siri if they have voicemail. (Their official ‘workaround’ for voicemail, in fact, is calling the old-school carrier voicemail number, to check your voicemail over the phone.)”

Another message on Apple’s support forum reads: “My cousin who is legally blind is also experiencing this issue. He uses the read missed call and open voicemail when doctors call and leave messages. It allows him the opportunity to hear who called and he can call back. It has been a wonderful feature for him and I’m hoping that a fix will happen so that he can be able to use the feature again.”

There are also complaints on Reddit like this: “My dad is blind and uses Siri to operate a lot of his iPhone. This week we’ve noticed when he asks Siri to play voicemail or missed calls she says she can’t help with that.”

We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update this story once we hear back.

Analysis: Reasons why are unclear – but keep the feedback flowing on this

It’s unclear whether Apple intentionally removed the support for these features with iOS 15 – and if so, why that was done – or if it’s wrapped up in some bug – and if it’s the latter, whether a fix is coming soon. But whatever the case, this represents a worrying step backwards in terms of accessibility for iOS devices, to say the least.

While Apple itself hasn’t commented directly, as MacRumors notes – we’ve also reached out to the company to try and ascertain what’s going on here, and will update this story if we hear back – one message on the Apple help forum claims to have had a reply from the Accessibility Support team. They were advised to again contact Accessibility Support and “have your Apple ID added to the official engineering issue as an ‘affected user’ so that you receive the mass emails about the status of this fix”.

Further advice was to submit feedback on the missing features, as the more of that feedback which is gathered “does affect engineering’s prioritization of this issue”.

There may be hope yet, then, for some kind of return of these capabilities to Siri in the near future. Fingers crossed.

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