iOS 15.4: here’s everything we know so far

After the truly tiny update that was iOS 15.3, we're now learning about iOS 15.4, and thankfully this already looks to be a much, much bigger update for Apple's operating system.

The first four betas are out now for developers, and with them comes news of several big included features, such as the long-awaited Universal Control, Face ID functionality with a mask, and more.

With rumors of a March event by Apple, it was finally confirmed, with a March 8 date with the title 'Peak Performance', perhaps hinting to new Macs, but it wouldn't be a stretch to consider 15.4 releasing on the same day as the event.

Below we've detailed everything we know about iOS 15.4, including when it's likely to launch, and we'll be updating this article when we hear more, so check back soon.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The latest iOS release
  • When is it out? The beta is out now, we expect the finished version on March 8
  • How much will it cost? It’s free

iOS 15.4 release date and compatibility

iOS 15.4 is already available, but only in beta form, and only for developers. While you don't technically have to be a developer to grab this version, we'd recommend at least waiting for the public beta, and if you want it to be bug-free then you should wait for the finished release.

We're generally seeing roughly a four to six-week gap between new iOS versions, which means that given iOS 15.3 landed on January 26, we'll probably see the finished version of iOS 15.4 sometime around the confirmed March 8 event.

As for compatibility, it's exactly the same as every other version of iOS 15, meaning that if you're on iOS 15 or above you'll be able to get iOS 15.4 as well. Specifically, that's all handsets from the iPhone 6S onwards, including the iPhone SE (2020) and the original iPhone SE, plus the iPod touch (7th gen).

A selection of iOS 15 screenshots showing how the software works

(Image credit: Apple)

iOS 15.4 features

Thanks to the betas we know many of the features that will probably arrive in iOS 15.4. However, it's possible that there might be other features too, or that some of these won't ultimately make the cut.

Face ID with a mask

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The Covid-19 pandemic presented a problem for iPhones, as with the whole world suddenly wearing masks, Face ID wasn't always viable. Apple addressed this problem a while back by allowing your iPhone to unlock if you were wearing an Apple Watch, but with iOS 15.4 it seems to have properly fixed the issue.

The iOS 15.4 beta allows you to set Face ID to work even when you're wearing a mask, by having it just scan the visible parts of your face, such as your eyes. The second beta has also improved this feature slightly, by instructing users how to position their eyes when unlocking the phone.

Apple warns that this is less accurate, and we'd assume also less secure, but it's a way to properly use Face ID with a mask on. It's also optional, so if you'd rather keep doing things the current way, you can disable this feature.

Universal Control

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

Universal Control is technically more of an iPadOS 15.4 feature than an iPhone one, as it allows users to connect an iPad to a Mac and use a single mouse and keyboard across both devices, with the iPad’s display being like an extension of the Mac’s.

This feature has been a long time coming, as we first heard about it back at WWDC 2021, but it's finally arrived in the iPadOS 15.4 beta.

New emoji

A selection of the new emoji added with iOS 15.4

(Image credit: Emojipedia / Apple)

If, somehow, you feel that there just aren't enough emoji yet, then iOS 15.4 could help, as the beta includes 37 new ones, along with 75 skin tone variations for better inclusivity.

New emoji, some of which you can see above, include a biting lip, a melting face, heart hands, and many more.

Anti-stalking measures for AirTag

Apple AirTags

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple has a whole range of measures planned to prevent unwanted AirTag tracking, and the first of those have arrived in an iOS 15.4 beta. These include a warning when setting up AirTag that using one to track someone unknowingly is illegal, and that AirTag is designed to be detectable and for law enforcement to be able to link it to the owner.

It also includes clearer identification of devices, so you shouldn't get any ‘Unknown Accessory Alerts’.

A new Siri voice

One of the iOS 15.4 betas includes a new voice for Siri. This is a fifth option under the 'American' category. So it's an English language voice, and specifically in a US accent. This is a female voice, and you can hear a sample of it below.

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Tap to Pay

Apple recently announced plans for a Tap to Pay feature, which would turn your iPhone into a contactless payments terminal, and the second iOS 15.4 beta adds frameworks for developers to enable this service in their apps.

Notes in iCloud Keychain

If you use iCloud Keychain then you'll now be able to add notes alongside any password. This is a fairly standard feature of password managers, so it's been a long time coming and is good to see.

Apple Card widget

If you use Apple Card, then with iOS 15.4 you'll be able to add a widget for it to the Today view. This will display your balance, your available funds, and your daily spending across various categories.

Digital IDs in the Wallet app

Apple Wallet state ID

(Image credit: Apple)

Before we move on to smaller features, here's a big feature that there’s not actually any sign of in iOS 15.4 yet, but which might be included, since we know it’s being worked on.

This feature would allow US users to add their driver’s license or state ID to the Wallet app, and it would then be accepted at TSA checkpoints in select airports, with retailers, events and venues eventually expected to add support for these digital IDs too.

However, even once this feature is added, the roll out looks likely to be slow. It’s going to land on a state-by-state basis in the US (with Arizona, Georgia, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah looking to be first in line), and there’s no word on exactly if or when the feature will expand to other countries.

Other features

Beyond the features above, all sorts of smaller tweaks and improvements have also been found in iOS 15.4.

These include the ability to turn off notifications for Personal Automations in Shortcuts if you don't want to be alerted about them, set up custom email domains directly from iCloud Mail on the iPhone (if you have an iCloud Plus subscription), activate SharePlay from the Share Sheet, and customize the left and right corner swipe gestures in the Notes app.

You can also choose whether to show still frames or poster art in the Up Next section of the TV app, use your iPhone to sign in to passkey-compatible websites and apps on your iPad or Mac, and make use of what Apple describes as 'new DualSense adaptive trigger firmware features' when you've paired Sony's latest controller with your phone.

Plus, those in the EU can now add their Covid vaccine cards to the Wallet app, and there's also evidence in the iOS 15.4 beta that Apple is working on a 'Cosmetic Scan' feature, which would be used to check your iPhone for damage when trading it in.

Bug fixes

New versions of iOS almost always come with bug fixes, and iOS 15.4 is no exception. One such fix is that third-party apps will now display animations at 120Hz when using the iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max, which in some cases they weren't doing previously.

The second iOS 15.4 beta also fixes a bug that caused Siri to record and store interactions from a 'small portion' of iPhone users, even if they opted out.

We'd expect other bugs have been fixed too, but we're not sure which ones.

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Windows 11 features, release date and everything you need to know

Windows 11 is now out and it’s available as a free upgrade for those still on Windows 10. But, before you go grabbing that download, find out all the important information about this brand new OS. We’ve covered all the important questions, such as the operating system’s best features, how to download, and its price and release date.

If you want to make the leap already, here’s how to download and install Windows 11. Since it is pretty new, there are some kinks that still need to work out, so take a look at how to fix common Windows 11 problems if you come across any issues.

Make sure to also take a look at our Windows 11 review, where we cover all the improvements the new OS has made, from offering an updated, attractive design, to new ways to grab apps as well as better security features.

While there is still some room for improvement, Windows 11 is turning out to be a very promising update. And, if you’re currently using Windows 10, it’s free to upgrade to 11, as long as your computer meets certain strict minimum system requirements required for the sake of the operating system’s security.

Just bear in mind that there's still some confusion as to what these system requirements are due to a component called TPM (Trusted Platform Module). Right now, it looks like Microsoft isn't going to budge on its requirement that your device is equipped with a TPM 2.0 in order to run a fully supported version of the new OS.

Now that Windows 11 has been released, let’s take a look at what the new operating system has on offer, from its updated features to the benefits it has for users over Windows 10.

Windows 11: Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Windows 11 is the successor to Windows 10
  • When is it out? October 5
  • How much does it cost? Free (if you already have Windows 10)

Windows 11 release date 

Microsoft launched Windows 11 on October 5 as a free upgrade, though some people were able to install it a day early on October 4.

Microsoft will be rolling out the update to eligible devices over the coming months, with users being notified when the update is available for them.

However, you can also download Windows 11 right now from the Windows 11 download page.

Many laptop and PC makers have also confirmed that many of their new products will come with Windows 11 preinstalled. This includes Microsoft's new Surface Pro 8, Surface Go 3 and Surface Laptop Studio devices, which were launched to coincide with Windows 11's release date.

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There is also going to be a yearly update of the new operating system, similar to Apple's efforts with macOS.

While Microsoft released a tool that allowed you to see if your desktop PC or laptop will be able to run Windows 11, it was confirmed to be buggy, giving erroneous results for machines that would have no problem in running the update.

However, another tool has been released which gives you much clearer detail for how eligible for PC is.

Windows 11 Recovery screen, showing the rollback to Windows 10 unavailable

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Windows 11 system requirements

There's been a lot of discussion as to which devices are eligible for Windows 11. Regardless of the TPM requirement, others are simply wondering if they need to look to upgrade their PC or laptop soon.

Microsoft has published the requirements for the update which you view below:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with at least two cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or SoC
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • System Firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
  • TPM: Trusted Platform Module 2.0
  • Graphics Card: DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
  • Display: 720p, 8-bit per color channel, at least 9-inch diagonal
  • Internet Connection and Microsoft Account: Windows 11 Home requires an active internet connection and a Microsoft Account to complete initial, first-use setup of the operating system, or when switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S-mode.

Windows 11 virtual desktops

(Image credit: Microsoft)

How to download Windows 11

We have a handy guide on how to download Windows 11, which gives you all the information you need now that the final version has been released.

It's a relatively simple process, as long as your PC meets Windows 11's minimum system requirements.

Windows 11 update showing as available

(Image credit: TechRadar)

There's also an option to downgrade to Windows 10 if you are experiencing issues with Windows 11. This is available in the current Insider builds, but you can only do it within 10 days of upgrading your machine, otherwise a clean install has to be done in order to go to Windows 10.

How to download Windows 11 ISO for a clean install

If you'd like to perform a fresh install of Windows 11, rather than upgrading from Windows 10 (or earlier), then you'll need to download the Windows 11 ISO file.

Doing a clean install takes a bit more time, and you'll need to reinstall all of your apps and restore your files if you've backed them up (which you should do before you start), but there are many benefits of doing a clean install of Windows 11.

For a start, you'll get a much better performing PC, and if you were encountering any issues with Windows 10, a clean install can help fix some of these. Over the years your PC's hard drive may become filled with unwanted apps and files, so a clean install can get rid of all of that.

If that's the way you want to install the operating system, then check out our guide on how to download the Windows 11 ISO for more advice.

How to upgrade to Windows 11 without TPM 2.0

Some people have found that they are unable to install Windows 11 due to the requirement for PCs to have TPM 2.0 support.

This is a relatively little known security feature, but it's caused some people a fair bit of frustration as they've found they've been unable to install Windows 11.

We do have a guide to enable TPM 2.0 if needed, but you may be out of luck if your PC doesn't support it.

However, there is a way to upgrade to Windows 11 without TPM 2.0, but this should only be done by people who are really desperate to run Windows 11 despite not meeting the system requirements.

Back view of a man using a laptop with Windows 11's Microsoft Store app open

(Image credit: Foxy burrow / Shutterstock / Microsoft)

How to downgrade from Windows 11 to Windows 10

There may be an occasion however, where you may need to revert back to Windows 10. This could be due to an app not being compatible as yet, or Windows 11 doesn't take kindly to a component in your PC.

Fortunately we have a guide ready that can take you through this, step by step.

Windows 11 price

Windows 11 is a free update for existing Windows users – you'll need to be online to download, install and activate Home versions, and you'll need to have a Microsoft account when installing it on or upgrading your PC or tablet.

Windows 11 will also come pre-installed for free on new PCs and laptops as well, though you should check before you buy to make sure. In some cases, new laptops and PCs may still be sold with Windows 10, and you'll have to upgrade for free yourself.

Windows 11 product keys for fresh installs will likely go on sale in 2022, but we don't know how much it'll cost.

It could cost as much as Windows 10 licences originally sold for: Windows 10 Home cost £119.99/$ 139 and Windows 10 Pro sold for £219.99/$ 199.99, so we could see similar prices for Windows 11.

So far Microsoft has released the hardware requirements for Windows 11, but there's confusion over TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and whether the company are pushing hard over the minimum threshold for which devices are eligible to be updated to the new version.

While we've got a handy explainer for you that goes into TPM, hardware vendors can still offer new machines with Windows 11 that won't need this requirement, albeit with good reason to.

Should you upgrade to Windows 11?

Now that Windows 11 is out, and it's a free upgrade, many people will be keen to download it and try it out. But should you upgrade to Windows 11?

In our opinion, for many people it'll be worth not upgrading to Windows 11 just yet. This is because it's still early days, and there are several problems that need fixing first. For example, some people are reporting that Windows 11 is slowing down their internet connections.

Microsoft is aware of most of these issues and is working on fixes. That means by holding off from installing Windows 11 for a while, you'll give Microsoft a chance to release updates to fix those problems. Then, when you do finally install Windows 11 in a few week's or month's time, things should run much smoother.

We also spoke to several industry experts, and they all agree that people – and businesses – shouldn't rush to install Windows 11 just yet.

Sonic Mania running on Windows11

(Image credit: TechRadar)

How to run Windows 11 in macOS Monterey

You may want to have the best of both worlds sometime, especially if your day job involves running both operating systems.

Thankfully we've put together a guide to show you how to do exactly that.

Windows 11 features

There are improvements across the board in Windows 11, with Microsoft promising that updates will be 40% smaller, and touting Windows 11 as “the most secure release yet”.

The taskbar is optimized for touch as well as mouse peripherals, and is now renamed the dock.

New multitasking features are also on offer thanks to a feature called Snap Layouts, which enables you to arrange multiple windows across the screen, not just side by side, but in columns, sections and more.

Windows 11 checker

There's now a much-improved health check app found in Settings, where Windows 11 will recommend you to turn down the brightness for example, change the power saving mode of the battery and much more.

Windows 11 Health Check

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Another feature is Snap Groups, where you can go back to previously snapped windows from the dock, so for example you can go to your email app, Edge browser windows or anything else without having to snap them back to the previous view again.

There's also improved multi-monitor support, so when you reconnect an external monitor, Windows 11 remembers the previous positions of the windows that were on that monitor.

There's even an estimated installation time for Windows Update, so you can see whether you need to hold off from updating your PC until later in the day.

Teams is also integrated to the dock, so you can easily join in with meetings and family calls. This looks like the first inkling of Skype disappearing from Windows, especially with the Skype sounds being heard in the demo when a call was incoming.

The Microsoft Store in Windows 11 showing Amazon Apps

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Microsoft Store is finally seeing a redesign, with better-curated content, and a better options for managing your purchased shows, such as mirroring them to your television. Apps such as Disney+, Adobe Creative Cloud, Pinterest and more are already in this redesigned store for Windows 11, ready to go.

WPA, EWP and Win32 apps are now all in the Microsoft Store, ready to go. If a developer has a commerce engine, they can keep 100% of the revenue brought from the Microsoft Store.

Android apps are also ready for Windows 11, discoverable from the Microsoft Store, via the Amazon App Store, so you can download TikTok and more, ready to use on your PC or tablet.

We suspect that the reason why Amazon are allowing their version of the store instead of Google, may be to do with the .APK filename being replaced from August.

The new store opens up possibilities for other applications to arrive in Windows 11, even Apple's iMessage, which could follow iTunes and Safari.

Windows 11 showing Edge extensions in the new Microsoft Store

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Windows 11 Home vs Windows 11 Pro

Depending on what you currently use your system for, you may need to consider if you will be upgrading to standard Home version of Windows 11, or if you need to bump up to Windows 11 Pro, Microsoft's enterprise version of the operating system. Regardless of what your preference may be, both have the same minimum system requirements so you'll need to meet those standards regardless of what version you side with.

There are numerous benefits to Windows 11 Pro, though mostly security related to protect businesses and organizations to keep data safe, with features like Windows Information Protection (abbreviated to WIP).

Another difference you'll see between Windows 11 Home and Pro is when you’re setting it up for the first time, as with the Home version you'll need to set it up with an internet connection and a Microsoft account. 

Windows 11 doesn't have either of these restrictions, which may tempt some non-enterprise users into buying the Pro version of the operating system to avoid using a Microsoft account. Windows 11 Home PCs also can’t be joined to Active Directory, which are often used on business devices to control access to certain applications and resources.

You can find a full list of the differences between Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro over on the official Microsoft comparison page.

A new look for Windows 11

Fluent Design is the new name for the look of Windows 11. Across the board everything looks more modern and fresh, with rounded windows and apps such as Snipping Tool seeing huge improvements in years.

One of the biggest changes users will notice is that the Start menu has been moved to the center of the screen – and it's now “cloud powered”, so it dynamically changes depending on the time of day, and the content you're working with.

If you're using the Insider Build, there's already ways of customizing the taskbar and the start menu, including moving the icons back to the left.

Light Mode and Dark Mode are here too, with a unified design across the operating system, with colorful wallpapers to choose from as well.

Windows 11 showing Microsoft Store

(Image credit: Shutterstock – Gorodenkoff / Microsoft)

Windows Widgets are back in Windows 11, accessible via the dock, with Microsoft touting AI-powered dynamic features that enable widgets, as with the Start menu, to change depending on the apps you're using and the time of day. On the touchscreen, you can slide from the left on the desktop to have widgets appear.

There are plenty to choose from, such as the weather, Bing maps, news, and more.

These will be available for third-parties as well, so you may see as many widgets available to pick as there are on Apple's iOS and iPadOS operating systems.

Many apps are being redesigned for Windows 11, such as the Photos, Snipping Tool and Paint apps, bringing them in line with the Fluent Design language.

Windows 11 widgets displayed on the new Microsoft operating system

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Gaming on Windows 11

Gaming will be a much bigger focus in Windows 11, with the sluggish and frustrating-to-use Windows 10 Xbox app replaced by a new Game Pass app that enables you to buy, manage and remove games, making it easier for you to access and download games, from Doom Eternal to – soon – Halo Infinite.

HDR will also be supported on compatible machines, offering improved lighting and contrast for gaming and viewing media. Direct Storage is also here, with the main game assets able to be downloaded and installed, enabling you to play your games even faster than before.

Wi-Fi

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Improved Wi-Fi in Windows 11

It looks like Windows 11 could come with a decent upgrade to your device's Wi-Fi capabilities, as Qualcomm announced it has worked with Microsoft, along with other laptop makers and even Valve, to bring Wi-Fi Dual Station with Qualcomm 4-stream DBS technology to compatible machines.

We explain more about how this will boost Wi-Fi in Windows 11, but it looks like it will be particularly useful for gamers, as it will use multiple Wi-Fi bands at once to help reduce latency. This could be a killer feature for Windows 11.

Streets of Rage 4 running on Windows 11

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Windows 11 Touch improvements

Tablet mode has been one of Windows' weaker points ever since Windows 8, and the new tablet features that Microsoft showed off for Windows 11 could be key to the operating system's fortunes, especially with future Surface products in the pipeline from Microsoft – to have a new, numbered operating system for its upcoming tablets could be a big selling point for new users.

At the event, Microsoft touted bigger touch targets and easier ways to move windows around, and better rotate optimizations, for example in how windows are rearranged, so you don't lose track of the applications you were using.

Gestures used with the trackpad of the Surface models are also coming to the touchscreen, bringing in some familiarity here. Haptics is also coming to Windows 11 when you use a stylus for better feedback when drawing or sketching.

The touch keyboard has also been redesigned, with a smaller keyboard just for your thumb, and emojis ready to be used. Microsoft says dictation will also be improved, alongside voice commands, with 'delete that' options and more. 

Sonic Mania screenshot in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Add a personalized touch to Windows 11

Microsoft has certainly given Windows 11 a more modern look than what we saw in Windows 10, but there's always the risk that it might not be to your taste. No need to worry though, as it takes very little time and effort – and, pleasingly, no money! – to inject some personality into Windows 11, customizing the look of the operating system in various ways to make it your own.

Perhaps the easiest way to completely change the look of Windows 11 is to apply a new theme, and there are a good handful of options already available for you to try out, but if the ones that come with the OS don't suit you, you can download more from the Microsoft Store.

There are also familiar customizations such as setting a personal desktop background as either a static image or a slideshow, and you can tweak system color options – including dark mode. You can even make adjustments to the taskbar if you like, so your finalized Windows 11 doesn't need to look anything like the out-of-box version of the OS.

Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Are there issues with Windows 11?

No new operating system will have a completely flawless launch, so despite being in beta through the Windows Insider Program, a few issues have already popped up. Thankfully the ones discovered so far are nothing serious and some of them are only appearing for a few users so if you wanted to start downloading the OS on launch day, don't let this stop you.

The biggest problem on Microsoft’s status page for Windows 11 listing known issues is compatibility problems with Intel Killer network drivers which is causing websites and video streams to be slow and sluggish. A memory leak issue has also been reported on Reddit, with at least some folks are finding that when they close an instance of File Explorer, it isn’t releasing the RAM it used.

We have a run-through of most of the currently known issues with Windows 11 and we will be keeping this up to date as more reports come in with any new Windows 11 problems and how you can fix them, but nothing system-breaking has appeared so far.

Windows 11 running on a laptop

(Image credit: Microsoft)

What devices are shipping with Windows 11?

If you tuned into Microsoft's Surface event on September 22 then you might already have seen that Windows 11 will be pre-installed onto the Surface Pro 8, Surface Go 3, and the Surface Laptop Studio. This isn't surprising as all these products have been released on the same date that Windows 11 became available for public download so Microsoft will want to push its latest operating system.

If the Microsoft Surface family of products isn't your style though, other brands like Dell, Asus and HP have all released pages online that specify what devices are Windows 11 ready. Note that many won't come with the new operating system installed, but as they all meet the minimum system requirements, you can simply buy the laptop or 2-in-1 as normal and then update it yourself. 

Surface Pro 8 outside on a table showing Windows 11 desktop

(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft claims Windows 11 is a “new era for the PC”

It's worth remembering that Windows 11 is the first major upgrade to the software platform since the launch of Windows 10 back in July 2015, and so marks a crucial point for Microsoft.

Heralding its new offering as “an exciting milestone in the history of Windows“, Panos Panay, Microsoft's Chief Product Officer for Windows and Devices noted that, “a new era for the PC begins today”.

In a company blog post, Panay added that “there's never been a better time to buy a PC”, and that, “whether it’s to work, create, connect, learn or play, the PC will continue to play a relevant and lasting role in our lives. No other ecosystem has the breadth and scale that the Windows ecosystem does to meet the needs of people whether they’re creators, developers, students and educators, business and gamers at every price point and in every form factor.”

Windows 11 home menu

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Should you install Windows 11?

As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. While it may be tempting to give Windows 11 a try straight away, we recommend holding on a few days, or even weeks, before you grab the new operating system.

Why? After all, our Windows 11 review is pretty glowing, and it brings plenty of new features that many people will be keen to try out.

However, every major operating system launch comes with its fair share of issues, as we've mentioned above, so getting the very best experience might require letting other people do the early testing for you. Microsoft will be working hard to identify and fix problems as they occur, which is why it’s a good idea to hold fire for a few days or weeks. Let other people encounter those problems first, then in a few weeks, download Windows 11 safe in the knowledge that most problems will be fixed.

This is especially important if you were planning to install it onto a PC that you use daily, such as for work or study. If it’s working fine with Windows 10, it’s best to hold off for the moment. Otherwise, you may find that Windows 11 has messed a few things up, and you’re stuck with a PC that’s not working correctly.

A glitchy version of the Windows 11 image

(Image credit: Future)

How to spot fake Windows 11 downloads

Windows 11 is out now, and it's relatively easy to download and install it, but this does mean that you should be vigilant about where you download Windows 11 from, as there are fake downloads out there that could catch you out.

To make sure you're only installing the official release, only download Windows 11 from Microsoft itself.

You should also check out our guide on how to spot fake Windows 11 downloads for more information on keeping yourself protected.

Angry man ripping out his hair in front of his laptop

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Issues with Cloud Gaming on Windows 11

Cloud gaming platform Shadow has told its users that they shouldn’t try to install the Windows 11 upgrade for Windows 10 just yet – advice that could be well heeded by all PC gamers, who should at least have caution at the forefront of their minds.

With Windows 11 being previously available to the public as a beta via the Windows Insider Program,  It's possible that bugs have been detected as Shadow asserts that it isn’t ready for cloud PC installations in an email to subscribers.

The email states: “Today, Microsoft will officially launch Windows 11. Its release will be gradual, with potential bugs and issues early on. With this in mind, we will monitor the initial performances of Windows 11 before taking any action.

“This will allow us to guarantee strong performances and an overall high quality of service when we do make the eventual transition to Windows 11. Please do not update your Shadow to Windows 11 until further notice.”

The email concludes by letting subscribers know that they’ll be told when Windows 11 is ready to go on their cloud PC installation, and in the meantime, the Shadow team will continue to run tests on the OS to ensure suitability and that the service is “fully optimized” for Windows 11.

This is only a single provider, but if you use Cloud Gaming services then you may need to ask around for other experiences using Windows 11 before you give it a try yourself.

Windows 11 notifications hero

(Image credit: Microsoft)

How to manage notifications in Windows 11

You almost certainly have a selection of apps installed on your computer, and many of these use notifications to let you know about things. A news app can alert you to the latest headlines, an email app will let you know when you have new mail, and your chat app will inform you of new messages that need your attention. 

Thankfully, you can set all this up in Windows 11 with relative ease, or turn them off completely if you don't like the interruption. If you're happy with the current Windows 10 experience (in which notifications are displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, just above the clock in the Taskbar) then great news – you won't have to do any configuration as this is the default for Microsoft's latest OS.

Fort everything else though, there are plenty of ways for you to adjust your notifications in Windows 11 to best suit your needs.

Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

How to manage power options in Windows 11

Microsoft has always given Windows users a good deal of control over how their computer uses power, and this is something that continues with Windows 11. 

While managing power consumption may be something that you most readily associate with laptops and a desire to maximize battery life, power options can also play an important role for desktop users.

Desktop user may not have to worry about how long a battery is going to last, but Windows 11's power option remains important. Thankfully, Windows 11 has made it easier than ever to keep track of power consumption, Sleep Mode and detecting what apps are draining your device's battery life.

Focus Assist

(Image credit: Microsoft)

How to us Focus Assist in Windows 11

Do you ever get distracted when you should be doing something important? Your computer is supposed to be a tool to help you get things done. This might mean getting on with work, playing games, watching movies, writing emails, or just browsing the web, but there are all manner of distractions that can pull you away from what you're trying to do. 

If you're sick of being pestered by notifications when you're trying to do something else, you could benefit from Windows 11's Focus assist feature. This is a simple but powerful function of Windows 11 that enables you to configure rules that determine when notifications about new emails, messages and so on are muted.

There are many customization options that let you do things like set a schedule, create priority lists and you can even optimize for different monitors if you use multiple displays. 

Windows 11 virtual desktops

(Image credit: Microsoft)

How to use virtual desktops in Windows 11

Windows 11 offers excellent support for virtual desktops, which allow you to use several desktops, and switch between them easily. This allows you to keep organised  by having separate desktops for work and pleasure, for example.

It's a great way to have some of the productivity benefits of multiple monitors, but with a single screen, so check out our guide on how to use virtual desktops in Windows 11 for an in-depth look into this feature.

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New iPad Pro 2020 release date, price, news and everything you need to know

Two new iPad Pro models have just been unveiled by Apple, upgrading the company's top-end tablet series.

The new iPads succeed 2018's iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9, and they come with some upgraded specs such as new cameras and improved internals that we'll tell you about.

These are the top-end tablets that Apple make, so while you'll be paying a lot for one of these we fully expect them to be some of the best tablets money can buy.

Some observers had speculated that Apple might announce the iPhone 9 alongside its new iPads, but there doesn't seem to be any announcement from the company at this stage.

Below we've put together everything we know so far about the iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9 for 2020.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next generation of Apple's premium iPad Pro tablets
  • When is it out? Just announced, ready to buy now
  • How much will it cost? A range of prices depending on size, but all rather pricey

New iPad Pro 2020 release date and price

The new iPad Pro models were announced on March 18, and you're able to buy them from today on Apple's online store. Apple has closed its physical stores for the foreseeable future owing to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The company has still said the new iPad Pro will be on sale in stores from next week, but there aren't any specific details yet.

How much will these cost? We only have pricing confirmed for the UK and US, and we'll be sure to update prices for Australia as soon as possible.

The 11-inch iPad Pro with 128GB of storage is $ 799 / £769 / AU1,329 for the Wi-Fi model while the same storage size with cellular support is $ 949 / £919 / AU$ 1,579.

The 12.9-inch model starts at $ 999 / £969 / AU$ 1,649 and the cellular model comes in at $ 1,149 / £1,119 / AU$ 1,899. We'll be sure to include full pricing in this article as soon as possible.

New iPad Pro 2020 design and display

As in 2018, there are two models of the 2020 iPad Pro. You have the choice of one with an 11-inch display, or one with 12.9-inch. 

It comes with 120Hz refresh rate, which should allow for a fast refreshing display that makes gaming and scrolling through your social media feeds look smoother than on standard 90Hz screens.

If you opt for the smaller display, you'll get a resolution of 2388 x 1668. The larger model has 2732 x 2048, and both offer 264 pixels per inch.

We don't know the exact specifics for the resolution of the display on the new iPad models but we'll be sure to put that here once we know it. Both tablets are available in either silver or space grey.

The bottom edge of the tablet comes with a USB-C port, but there's no 3.5mm headphone jack here for wired headsets. That's something Apple dropped on the iPad Pro 2018, and it hasn't made a return for this model.

iPad Pro 2020 software and key features

iPadOS 13 will be up and running on the new iPads if you buy them on day one. You can expect software updates from Apple over the next couple of years too.

Previously, iPad products have used iOS software but last year the company spun out the software on its tablets to its own name. It works much the same, but there are a few improvements that are meant to help productivity.

The camera is where Apple seems to have mostly improved its new iPad. That isn't a big focus for many people, but this is aimed at those who want to experience augmented reality experiences on their iPad.

For the first time, Apple has included two rear cameras on the iPad Pro. One is a 12MP f/1.8 wide camera while the other is a 10MP f/2.4 aperture.

There is also a new feature called a LiDAR Scanner that is designed for depth-sensing capabilities. That should improve Portrait photography on your iPad, but it's mostly set to be used to improve augmented reality apps.

The scanner is capable of measuring the distance of items up to 5 meters away. The cameras are able to film in 4K too, so you can film your footage and edit it directly on the iPad.

If that's your intention, the new iPad comes with five microphones in an attempt to pick up cleaner audio than on previous products.

Apple says, "The combination of pro cameras, pro audio and the large display make iPad Pro a versatile mobile studio for creative pros including filmmakers, video professionals, podcasters and other content creators."

New iPad Pro 2020 specs and performance

Apple's new A12Z Bionic Chip is inside the tablet, and while we've yet to be able to test it Apple's claims on paper seem strong. The company says this chip is designed for demanding tasks like "editing 4K video or designing 3D models".

Apple also claims the iPad Pro is now "more powerful than most Windows PC laptops". We've yet to see the evidence to back up that claim, but we'll ask Apple where it has got its details from.

There are lots of storage options for the iPad Pro 2020, and both models have the same amount of variants. The lowest is 128GB, then if you need more there's 256GB, 512GB and 1TB options.

As ever, Apple doesn't offer the option for adding a microSD card in so whatever storage you buy you'll be stuck with.

You have the choice of a Wi-Fi-only model, or a cellular version. Note that this is just a 4G version, and Apple's new tablet won't be able to connect to emerging 5G networks like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 5G can.

Apple hasn't shared with us the exact battery capacity specs, but it claims all models will be able to last up to 10 hours of watching video or internet browsing over Wi-Fi. That claim drops to nine hours if you're using a cellular network.

New iPad Pro 2020 Magic Keyboard and accessories

As you'd expect, the second-gen Apple Pencil will work with the new iPad. If you own the original, that won't be compatible with this product as it charges via Lightning and the new iPads have USB-C connectors.

There is a new keyboard attachment from Apple that the company is calling the Magic Keyboard. It has a specific hinge that hasn't been included on previous accessories allowing for adjusted viewing angles up to 130 degrees.

The keys are backlit for the first time on an iPad keyboard, and the company calls it protective too. We assume that means it will protect the display when folded up in your bag.

The worst part? It's set to cost $ 299.

This is a breaking story, so please bear with us as we update this story with the latest information. The below is information we've previously heard about the new tablets, and will be updated soon.

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Nikon D6: everything new in the flagship DSLR sports camera

DSLRs had taken a back seat to mirrorless cameras in the past few years, with many speculating they will not be resurrected by camera makers. However, Canon has put those speculations to rest, having announced the EOS 1D X Mark III in January, after releasing an enthusiast-level EOS 90D in August last year. And that's not even going to be the last if rumors are to be believed. 

Nikon, too, has just released the D780, and quickly followed it up with its professional sport shooter. And the timing couldn't have been better. 2019 marked the 20th anniversary of the Nikon single-digit D series, which launched in 1999 with the Nikon D1. And now, we have what the company calls the "the most advanced digital SLR to date".

With the 2020 Olympic Games coming up this year, we're going to see the professional, sports-focused DSLR flagships from Canon and Nikon face off again, just like the old days. In the red corner, there's the newly released Canon 1DX Mark III. And, in the opposite corner is the Nikon D6, which has only just been announced.

The Canon shooter is pretty much a hybrid of DSLR and mirrorless tech, with some of the best features we've seen from the latest mirror-free models, like advanced autofocus, alongside traditional DSLR traits like the optical viewfinder and lengthy battery life. The Nikon competition also offers similar features, in a very different package.

Nikon D6: release date and price

Like its predecessor, the Nikon D5, and its new Canon counterpart, the D6 is not going to be cheap. It will begin shipping in April 2020 and carry a hefty price tag of $ 6,500 / £6,299, with Australian pricing yet to come. That puts it pretty much in same territory as its main rival, the just-released Canon 1D X Mark III, which is also vying for the camera bags of professional sports photographers.

Nikon D6: design 

Nikon was kind enough to supply a small picture of the D6 in its development announcement back in September. It was presumably a mock-up, rather than a final rendering but, even then, we knew it would resemble the D5 physically.

The chassis remains that quintessential chunky design to incorporate a big battery and accommodate the dual shooting layout for both vertical and horizontal capture.

The magnesium alloy body is completely weather-sealed, making it "as tough as the professionals who use it". 

It should come as no surprise to see Nikon keep to a very similar form factor as the D5's for the D6 – after all, expecting pros to get used to a drastically new way of working is a big task. The square shape of the D5 allows it to incorporate a battery grip for extended battery life, and we expect the D6 to blow its mirrorless rivals out of the water for longevity by doing the same thing. 

Also announced as being in development at the same time as the D6 was a new 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR telephoto lens, which looks set to be a bit of a beast – the Nikon D6 will have to be large enough to balance well with such lenses, which are popular with sports and wildlife shooters.

Nikon D6: sensor and processor

The beating heart of the Nikon D6 is the 20.8MP full-frame sensor, which is lower in resolution than the D5's although marginally higher than the 1D X Mark III's 20.1MP pixel count. Despite the lower resolution, the new sensor has been designed to deliver high quality images that can be captured at a maximum speed of 14fps when shooting with E-type lenses (those with an electromagnetically controlled diaphragm). Switch to shooting via the rear LCD display – or the silent shooting mode – and you'll get a top of 10.5fps at full resolution with autofocus tracking. 

There are also the options of shooting 30fps which will restrict image sizes to 8MP, or heading higher to 60fps to get 2MP files. This burst of speed has been made possible by a brand new Expeed 6 engine.

Nikon D6: autofocus

Nikon has revamped the autofocus system from the ground up, delivering what the company promises is a much faster, more precise AF system. Instead of the older 153-point array, the D6 now features a 105-point all cross-type system with every single point now selectable individually. Each uses what Nikon calls a "triple-sensor arrangement", although details on how this works is as yet unclear.

While the centre point can focus down to -4.5EV, the others are all good for down to -4EV. With an ISO range matching its older sibling, the D6 seems set to be the new low-light king.

Nikon D6: video features

The Nikon D5 was the first Nikon DSLR to be capable of recording high-definition 4K/UHD movies in-camera, and the D6 carries on in that tradition. However, the camera was built for stills and, like the D5, offers 4K/30p video, albeit with focus peaking and an MP4 recording option.

Nikon D6: card slots and connectivity

Dual memory card slots are pretty much a given. The Nikon D5 can be bought with either 2x XQD slots, or 2x CF slots, but Compact Flash is pretty old hat now, so Nikon has made both slots in the D6 compatible with XQD and CFExpress. This backward compatibility is perfect for those who already have a stack of XQD cards in their possession, considering how expensive CFExpress cards are.

A USB-C port is available for quick wired transfer of files, while Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are also available. However, that's never really quick enough for the pros who need to deliver images with the shortest turnaround time possible. For them, there's a 1000BASE_T Ethernet port for wired transfer which, according to Nikon, is now 15% faster than the one on the D5.

On paper, the Nikon D6 doesn't sound as quick as the Canon EOS 1D X Mark III, however we're yet to test both cameras extensively and see how they do against each other in the real world. We look forward to pitting them against each other in the arena and we'll share our thoughts with your as soon as we've done so.

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