New Windows 10 update gives it Windows 11’s photo-sharing capabilities with Android devices – but you might want to hang on

Microsoft has recently released an optional update, KB5037849, for Windows 10 that brings in a useful feature that we’ve only seen in Windows 11 thus far, one that improves integration with Android devices.

This development is a little unexpected as Microsoft has been pushing Windows 10 users to transition to Windows 11, and reminding them that its end-of-support date is approaching – so you’d expect that adding new features to the older OS would be shoved down the priority list by now, but apparently that’s not the case.

After installing KB5037849, Windows Latest noticed that the 'Mobile Devices' feature page, previously seen only in Windows 11, had been introduced to Windows 10. This feature enables you to access photos taken and stored on your phone instantly on your PC. It appears as a ‘Mobile Devices’ page found in the Settings app, and when you toggle ‘Allow this PC to access your mobile devices’ on, it will prompt you to ‘Download and install Cross Device Experience Host’ from the Microsoft Store

Apparently, it does require that you’re logged into a Microsoft account, but it doesn’t need setting up via the Phone Link app (which allows users to fully sync their Android or iPhone with their Windows PC towards all kinds of ends). 

Once you do this, you can head to the ‘Manage Devices’ page (via the ‘Mobile Devices’ panel) and turn on ‘Get new photo notifications.’ You will then receive notifications on your PC when you take new photos on the Android phone that you’ve linked, allowing you to view the photos and edit them with the Snipping Tool in Windows 11. Or indeed you can also open the photos with Paint, or share them with others via Windows Share

Microsoft Surface tablet on desk with businesman and businesswoman

(Image credit: Worawee Meepian / Shutterstock)

How to get this new photo-sharing with Android feature

For now, Windows 10 users will have to install the optional May 2024 update to gain these capabilities, but all Windows 10 users are set to get this feature as part of the mandatory June 2024 Patch Tuesday update. 

Remember that any optional update is still in testing, and could have unpredictable results, so you may want to wait for the full release of the patch (which happens a week today, in fact, so it’s not far off).

If you can’t wait and want to install the optional update KB5037849 now, go to the following location: Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update. Then click on ‘Download and install’ where the optional update is flagged up (check for updates if it isn’t).

This update also delivers several bug fixes, as well as other changes, that you can check out in more detail on Microsoft’s official support page for the patch. 

I’m glad Windows 10 is still receiving new features, even if they’re not the biggest updates, and it’s good to see Microsoft hasn’t completely given up on the OS, despite the scheduled end-of-support date being just over a year away.

Hopefully, Microsoft will continue to add features to improve Windows 10, although I’d imagine the company will halt this practice in the near future, as resources are likely to be redirected elsewhere, which will no doubt disappoint Windows 10 fans even further. 

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Glass app trumps Instagram by bringing its photo-sharing network to iPad

Instagram's move away from its photographic core has left a spot open for enthusiast-friendly photo-sharing apps like Glass – and now that new contender has brought its glossy, magazine-like experience to iPad.

Glass 2.0 is now available for iPads running iPadOS 14.0 or later, although you'll still need to pay the monthly £4.49 / $ 4.99 or £24.99 / $ 29.99 annual subscription to access it. There's a two-week free trial to give you a taster, though.

As we discovered in our exclusive interview with the makers of Glass, this membership fee is partly a result of the developers' decision to forego venture capital investment, with the aim being to create a sustainable community.

Given what's happened to Instagram, and many other pretenders to its photographic throne, this seems a wise move – and the arrival of an iPad app in particular supports the idea of a photo-centric sharing space. 

The larger screen gives you a better view of painstakingly-crafted shots, and many photographers use iPads anyway as part of their in-the-field editing workflow thanks to apps like Lightroom. Strangely, Instagram has never launched a dedicated iPad app and, last year, said that one is unlikely to arrive anytime soon.

Since its launch six months ago, Glass has added new features including categories and 'appreciations' for liking photos, but there's no algorithm running behind it to organize your feed. Instead, you get the chronological feed that Instagram has hinted will be returning to its app in 2022.

The Glass team will also be launching a web-based version of its app, to rival the likes of Flickr, with a beta version expected to arrive in March or April.


Analysis: A pricey but polished Instagram alternative 

The Glass app on iPad

(Image credit: Glass)

Our early experience with the Glass iPad app is that it's a little buggy, with the app having a tendency to crash on our iPad Air. But we're sure these wrinkles will be ironed out and the app certainly has potential on the bigger screen of Apple's tablets.

Sadly, there's no Android version in the works just yet, with Glass' maker stating that its focus is currently on launching Glass for Web over the next few months. But if you're an iOS fan and photographer, the free trial is certainly worth a spin.

There is currently a gap between Instagram – which we've previously argued is broken for photographers – and veteran platforms like Flickr, which is big on community but lacks the polish of Glass.

There's no doubt the £4.49 / $ 4.99 monthly or £24.99 / $ 29.99 subscription fee is pretty high and could be off-putting for anyone who's bank balance is currently enduring death by a thousand subscriptions.

But the flip-side is that the ad-free Glass is being developed by a small team of photography enthusiasts who are keen to avoid the bloat and e-commerce traps that have lured Instagram away from its photographic heritage.

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