WhatsApp for Windows 11 gets 3 super-cool new features in its latest update

A new update to WhatsApp for Windows 11 and Windows 10 adds three new features that boost user experience in a big way: multi-window support, a new ‘hamburger’ menu, and a new interface. These are also hints of the addition of Meta AI features here (and we’ll come back to that later).

Spotted by Windows Latest, the update has added a little bit of life to the WhatsApp interface on Windows, which was pretty boring and drab beforehand. You had to struggle when resizing to get your contacts and message threads to show at the same time and often had to choose between the two. However, now you can hide the contact list within the menu, so your chat takes up the full-screen space, and you can easily bring your contacts list back up by clicking through the menu. 

Secondly, you can now open a chat in a new window if you want to isolate just one conversation. You’ll also be able to open multiple chats if you don’t want to have the whole app open, and want to keep up with just a few important people. The chat window will open up with a more stripped-down layout, keeping it simple. 

Finally, a new hamburger menu (a cute way to refer to drop-down menus that are shown as three lines stacked on top of each other) separates the app into chats, calls, and status updates. So overall, the update adds useful new features and streamlines the app into a more digestible format. 

Windows Latest suggests that the simple hamburger menu may make space for a range of Meta AI features to come to WhatsApp, as announced earlier this year. This could include using the search bar to input queries to Meta AI without making a separate chat. The integration of AI assistants into WhatsApp sounds similar to the ones introduced to Instagram last year, which included famous personas like Snoop Dogg!

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Microsoft admits latest Windows 11 update is breaking some VPNs

Windows 11 and Windows 10 users are in some cases facing a problem whereby their VPN connection is failing to work thanks to the latest cumulative updates from Microsoft for these operating systems.

We’re talking about the main updates for last month, April, which are KB5036893 for Windows 11 (ushering in Moment 5 features), and KB5036892 for Windows 10 – and this also holds true for the preview updates released at the end of April.

Neowin noticed that Microsoft has officially acknowledged that these updates are breaking some VPNs, posting on its Windows 11 health dashboard to say: “Windows devices might face VPN connection failures after installing the April 2024 security update (KB5036893) or the April 2024 non-security preview update.”

Microsoft informs us that it’s working on fixing the problem and will “provide an update in an upcoming release,” but sadly, we don’t get any details beyond that.


Analysis: Rocky road for updates of late

This is a vague diagnosis from Microsoft, with no info provided as to what might be the root cause (or causes) of this VPN-related problem. It’s not affecting all Windows 11 (or Windows 10) users by any means, but certainly some VPN users are experiencing service failure. All we can do right now is wait for Microsoft to continue its investigation into finding out what’s gone wrong with the April update, and to provide those additional details – hopefully soon.

For those affected, this is a troubling situation, as the April cumulative update is very different from an optional update – you have to install it (Windows 11 Home users can only delay it for a bit if they want to take evasive action). Also, without the update, you don’t have the latest security measures, so your PC is just a bit more vulnerable to intrusion.

For home-based PC users running into this bug, Microsoft only offers up the following advice: “If you need support with your personal or family account, use the Get help app in Windows.”

It’s been a pretty rocky road for the April update for Windows 11 when you consider that the upgrade has brought with it some other nasty bugs, including a new spin on the Blue Screen of Death – which we dubbed the White Screen of Doom. Plus the preview update for April has an odd issue with profile photos, and there are other glitches floating around besides. So, all in all, Microsoft isn’t having a great time of things lately.

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Latest Meta Quest 3 update improves mixed-reality passthrough yet again, and brings more iPhone-exclusive features

A new month, a new Meta Quest 3 headset update. V64 may have only landed (checks notes) 21 days ago, but we’ve got yet another upgrade courtesy of Horizon OS version v65.

Keeping up with the déjà vu, v65 brings with it yet another upgrade to passthrough, which was only just upgraded in v64, which added both exposure and dynamic range improvements, and an upgrade that makes it easier to see your real-world furniture while in VR and MR.

Now, Meta is finally giving players the option to stay immersed in mixed reality through their whole Quest 3 experience. 

Previously, when you were in the lock screen, power-off screen, and a few other important menus, you’d be trapped in a gray VR void. Now, if you're using MR home you’ll find yourself instead surrounded by your real-world space just like you would in any other mixed reality experience.

Sure it's not the most flashy upgrade, but considering Meta’s monthly release schedule we’re not going to complain if some updates are simpler quality-of-life improvements rather than earth-shaking changes.

A Meta Quest 3 player sucking up Stay Puft Marshmallow Men from Ghostbusters in mixed reality using virtual tech extending from their controllers

Mixed reality from start to finish (Image credit: Meta)

Some iPhone-exclusive upgrades 

Beyond better passthrough, Meta has also introduced a few features for iPhone users specifically – perhaps in an attempt to further convince Apple fans they don't need to shell out for an Apple Vision Pro, or wait for the now apparently delayed cheaper follow-up.

The first feature change comes to spatial video. Playback appeared via update v62 back in February, and if you had an iPhone 15 Pro you could upload your stereoscopic videos straight from your phone to your headset using the Meta Quest mobile app.

Now you can upload your videos via any iPhone running iOS 17 or later – though capturing spatial video is still an exclusive iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max feature (unless the iPhone 16 refresh brings it to more affordable models later this year).

Panorama images on the Meta Quest 3 showing a beautiful hillside

(Image credit: Meta)

Meta is also adding better support for still panoramic images. Alongside videos, you can now upload your panoramic shots from your iPhone to your Quest headset via the mobile app.

So, rather than simply viewing your shot on a flat screen, you can be re-immersed in the location where you took it. Again this has to be uploaded via an iPhone running iOS 17 or later.

There's no word yet on when or if these features will come to Android devices, but we expect they will – especially if new Android devices start to introduce camera setups that can record spatial videos.

With a Samsung XR headset – which Google is helping to make – on the way, we wouldn't be surprised if this phone camera happened. But we’ll have to wait and see what Android phone makers announce in the coming weeks.

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The latest Windows 11 update is riddled with bugs, but Microsoft has finally addressed the problem

If you’ve been keeping up with Windows 11 news you’ll know that there’s been a lot of turbulence with the latest optional update – Windows 11 version KB5036980 – and the introduction of ads into the start menu. Happily, Microsoft is finally doing something about it – but it might be too little, too late for some users.

The update is currently available for users running Windows 11 version 23H2 and 22H2 and can be installed manually from the Update Catalog. Besides the annoying pop-ups of ads in your start menu, it seems that users are also getting error messages when trying to change their profile photo. 

Spotted by Windows Latest, some users who installed the update are getting an error message when they try to change their account photo. This seems to only be happening on people’s local system accounts and not their actual Microsoft accounts, meaning that it’s definitely a Windows issue rather than something to do with Microsoft’s online account systems.

Playing the waiting game 

Microsoft has updated its Feedback Hub to say that it’s aware of the reports and has already started to make changes in the internal builds. So, the May 2024 optional update is expected to fix the current issues. 

Windows Latest received comments from Microsoft support staff that it is investigating the error and confirmed that the issue affects the mandatory KB5036893 update and the optional KB5036980 update that put ads in the Start menu. The profile pic bug is expected to be fixed soon, along with some other bugs that have been plaguing Windows 11 as of late.

So if you are currently experiencing this issue, you’ll likely just have to wait for the May patch for Microsoft to issue a fix. Until then, you may be stuck with your profile picture for a while – I hope it's cute!

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Fed up with Windows 10 search being slow, wonky, or crashing? Microsoft’s fixed search with its latest update

Windows 10 has received a new optional update and it comes with some much-needed fixing to cure problems some users have been experiencing with the search function in the OS.

Windows Latest noticed that in the latest preview update just released for Windows 10 (KB5036979), there’s been some work to improve the search functionality.

Microsoft tells us that: “This update makes some changes to Windows Search. It is now more reliable, and it is easier to find an app after you install it. This update also gives you a personalized app search experience.”

As Windows Latest describes, for some Windows 10 users, search has become a somewhat hit or miss affair particularly around trying to quickly fire up an app. Such as, for example, searching for the ‘Recycle Bin’ and not getting the icon for that returned, but other functions instead.

On social media, there have been a number of reports about wonky search experiences, too, such as this one on Reddit where Windows 10 refused to find a commonly-used app.

In more extreme cases, search is locking up and crashing, which is the pinnacle of irritation for this part of the UI.


Analysis: Wait a little longer

Hopefully, this kind of behavior should be a thing of the past when this update is applied. However, note that this is just an optional update at this point, so it’s officially still in testing – meaning there’s a slight chance the fix may not be fully working. Or that the KB5036979 update might cause unwelcome side-effects elsewhere in Windows 10 (it wouldn’t be the first time, certainly).

The safest bet is to wait it out, let early adopters test this preview update, and install the finished cumulative update when it arrives in May (on Patch Tuesday, which will be May 14).

At least we know this piece of smoothing over is now incoming, so those who’ve been frustrated with iffy search results now know that – with any luck – their woes should soon be over. Or at least, they’ll face spanners in the search works with less regularity.

Elsewhere with this update, Microsoft has also improved the reliability of widgets on the lock screen, with a more “customized experience” and more visuals available, so these should be better all-round, too.

The downside with KB5036979? That’s a new initiative to introduce notifications about your Microsoft Account in the Start menu and Settings app, which will doubtless consist of various prompts to sign up for an account, or to finish that process.

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The latest macOS Ventura update has left owners of old Macs stranded in a sea of problems, raising a chorus of complaints

Users of macOS Ventura, the predecessor to macOS Sonoma (the latest operating system for modern Macs and MacBooks), have discovered some problems after installing the newest update, macOS Ventura 13.6.6. The update was released on March 25 alongside Sonoma version 14.4.1. Apparently, those looking to upgrade macOS Ventura were met with firmware-related issues (firmware refers to software components that bridge a device’s hardware and software). 

Ventura is the last macOS system that many older Mac models can run, as macOS Sonoma only supports Macs and MacBooks from 2018 onwards (the iMac Pro from 2017 is also supported), so updates for the older operating system are especially important for security and functionality reasons. 

Since the update's release, users have taken to websites like Apple’s community forums to express their dissatisfaction with Ventura 13.6.6. GottaBeMobile has cataloged a number of these posts which discuss issues including Wi-Fi connectivity issues, email problems, Time Machine backup issues, issues with users’ displays, noticeable lag in the user interface (UI), problems with external accessories, issues with both first-party apps (apps by Apple) and third-party apps such as Microsoft Teams, and more. According to GottaBeMobile, this is just a selection and part of a larger number of problems that users are facing with Ventura 13.6.6.

GottaBeMobile checked for itself how Ventura 13.6.6 runs after its release on a 2017 MacBook Pro, confirming other users’ reports of frustration-inducting lag in the UI.

Now, affected users are hoping to see another update for Ventura that will put things right, but this could take some weeks. Until then, users will have to try solutions suggested by others, such as turning Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off, restarting the device, and others. However, if these issues are caused by a fundamental problem with the Ventura update, these solutions may only be temporary.

A woman sitting down with a MacBook laptop her lap

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Farknot Architect)

Hope for a fix-filled update

Apple is currently developing and testing new software versions for a range of its products, including Mac, iPhone, Apple Watch, and others, which are expected to be released in May, or possibly at WWDC, its software-centric conference in June. 

It’s likely we’ll see macOS 15, the follow-up to macOS 14 Sonoma, at WWDC, and macOS Ventura may get an update around this time to fix those problems.

As Apple presumably sees Ventura as a legacy operating system, it’s unlikely to make a big song and dance over any update (especially if it's to fix embarrassing bugs) when it would rather show off the latest version of macOS.

I hope that Apple hears user feedback, as it’s pretty loud and clear, and takes time to fix Ventura. I understand that much like its peers, Apple is keen to push for users to update to newer hardware and software, but in this economic climate, that might not be possible for many people. In the meantime, it should make sure that customers who can’t upgrade to the latest version of macOS are still looked after.

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The latest Meta Quest 3 update brings mixed reality improvements

Update v64 is here for your Meta Quest 3 and other Quest hardware, and it adds a big quality-of-life improvement for fans of mixed reality: better passthrough.

According to Meta’s official blog, the update has made the Quest 3’s passthrough “higher-fidelity than before”, resulting in your headset being better at adjusting color, exposure, contrast, and dynamic range to best suit your real-world environment. 

These updates should make it easier to read text on screens, and to use the headset in darker rooms.

We’ve tested the improved feature out, and it does seem easier to read text on real-world screens, and Meta’s claim that it’s less grainy in low light seems to ring true as well. That said, in general the passthrough doesn’t seem massively improved – so while it is better, don’t go in expecting ultra-crisp, Apple Vision Pro-levels of mixed-reality passthrough quality. 

The experimental menu on the Meta Quest 3 showing the new External Mic Support feature toggle

(Image credit: Meta)

Can you hear me now?

Beyond upgraded passthrough, update v64 brings with it a few additional refinements to your VR headset’s software.

The first is that your Quest device can now support an external microphone – with the feature appearing in the experimental settings menu. Once you’ve toggled it on you’ll be able to plug in an external microphone via the USB-C port to capture audio for VR content creation or in-game chat instead of using the Quest 3’s built-in mic.

Following its addition last month for Oculus Quest 2 users, Meta Quest 3 users can now use their headsets lying down too. 

What’s more, Continuous Casting has been added. Previously, if you removed your headset while casting to your phone the session would end, and Meta admitted that more often than not users would rather keep it running rather than have to restart every time they wanted to take their headset off (say to take a drink or talk to someone).  So now if you remove your headset while casting the session won’t be cut short – just make sure that you stop casting manually using your phone when you’re done.

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Windows 10 latest update is broken and riddled with bugs – with no fix in sight

Back in January, we reported on a small security update patch for Windows 10 that brought on a lot of headaches for IT admins and brought on a veritable cavalcade of error codes. Microsoft promised a fix was in the works ASAP, but here we are months later and the problem has still not been fixed. 

Windows 10 update KB504441 arrived as a patch to security issues brought on by another previous update, specifically to fix a flaw that could allow attackers to bypass certain encryptions within the OS. According to Windows Latest, readers have reached out to Microsoft for an update on the fix. The company referred users to an existing support document and is apparently “[not] planning to make an easier fix or update to automatically solve this problem any time soon,” which is frustrating.

Users have also reported difficulties downloading the update at all now, with an error thrown up stating that it ‘cannot be installed at this time’. The error code given (0x80070643) usually alludes to you not having enough storage space for the update, but that’s not the case here.

I can’t believe we’re still waiting 

While Microsoft continues not to share an estimated time for a fix, the company has released a shared workaround that allows you to increase the recovery partition size and let the Windows install smoothly.  The official document reiterates that a plan to fix the issue is in the works for the next automatic update, but it sounds like an automatic fix isn’t on the cards. 

As we said in our original report, if you haven’t installed the update yet you might be better off holding off until an actual fix has been released – but if you’re feeling brave, the workaround should be enough to get the update installed, especially if you’re a casual Windows user. These issues have proven more of a problem for networked work devices (and therefore invoked the fury of many IT system admins) than for individual private users.

There have been several other updates between the original security patch and now, including a cumulative update, so it’s strange that we’re still waiting for this pretty important fix. Given how important the security patch is, we do hope a fix is on the way soon.

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The latest macOS Sonoma update is reportedly breaking some USB hubs

Updating to macOS Sonoma 14.4 is breaking the functionality of some USB hubs, according to reports across the web – though it's unclear how widespread the problem is, or which particular peripherals are affected.

The heads-up first came via AppleInsider readers, but there's also some discussion on Reddit, Apple support forums, and MacRumors. So far, it appears to be just USB hubs built into monitors affected by the bug, including models from Dell, Samsung, and Gigabyte.

Judging by the number of replies to the article and threads linked above, several people are seeing this issue. That said, it doesn't appear to affect everyone with a macOS Sonoma 14.4 machine and a monitor USB hub.

Apple hasn't said anything about the issue and is unlikely to unless it becomes widespread. The 14.4 software update started rolling out last week, bringing with it new emojis and bug fixes – though it may have introduced some more bugs of its own.

Can you fix it?

macOS Sonoma bug

Changing this setting seems to help some people (Image credit: Future)

The users afflicted by the USB hub problem are trying various troubleshooting measures. There doesn't seem to be a single solution that works for everyone, across different types of monitors and USB connections.

For some, completely powering down everything and then powering it back up again seems to work. Other people have reported that heading to the Privacy & Security page in macOS System Settings and changing the Allow accessories to connect option to Ask every time, then rebooting, fixes it.

Reading between the lines, there may be something awry with the way macOS 'sees' the USB hub and the devices connected to it as peripherals, but there are a lot of links along that chain – some users have found that simply switching to a different USB cable helps.

We'll have to wait and see if Apple issues a fix for those affected. Of course, if workaround solutions are already being discovered, it's more likely that any necessary bug fixes for the problem will get quietly rolled into the macOS Sonoma 14.5 update.

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Haven’t got round to installing Windows 11 23H2 yet? You’ll soon be forced to get the latest update

The 23H2 update is coming, whether you're ready or not, for those holdouts who have yet to upgrade their Windows 11 installation from 22H2 (or indeed 21H2).

Tom’s Hardware noticed that Microsoft updated its Windows 11 23H2 status document to let users know what’s happening, and that eligible Windows 11 devices will be automatically upgraded to version 23H2.

That means you’ll have no choice in the matter, of course. Updating to Windows 11 23H2 is mandatory at this point, with the caveat that this automatic upgrade process may not come to your PC all that soon.

Microsoft uses AI to “safely roll out this new Windows version in phases to deliver a smooth update experience,” and therefore some PC configurations may find it’s still a while before they have 23H2 foisted on them.

Alternatively, you may find the upgrade is piped to your machine imminently. It’s a roll of the hardware (and software) configuration dice, in short.


Analysis: Staying safe

Automatic upgrades being forced on Windows users is nothing new, of course. This happens whenever an update has been around for a good deal of time, and Microsoft feels everyone who is running an older version of Windows 11 (or Windows 10) needs to step up and move away from it (because it’s running out of road for support, or indeed has run out).

Regarding Windows 21H2 users (the original version of the OS), you may be thinking – didn’t they already get forced to upgrade to 22H2? Yes, they did. So why are some folks still on 21H2 then? Well, there may be a small niche of users remaining on 21H2 as anomalies, basically (we spotted a couple on Reddit), and they will be transferred direct to 23H2 instead. (Hopefully, anyway – though it’s possible that not having been offered an upgrade at all so far could be the result of a bug).

Microsoft needs to push upgrades like this for security reasons. If a Windows 11 user remains on an unsupported version, they won’t get monthly security updates, which is bad news of course – their PC could be vulnerable to exploits. Hence the big updates become mandatory eventually.

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