While Windows 10 is being depreciated in 2025, and Windows 11 is already on its way to receiving its first major update in the form of Sun Valley 2 later this year, it may be much too soon to start thinking about what's next for Microsoft's jewel.
But numbers in products matter, and ignoring the version numbers of web browsers, with Google Chrome approaching version 100, Microsoft may feel like it's been missing out, compared to Apple and Samsung's naming efforts in recent years.
Granted, this is the sketchiest of etch-a-sketch rumors in recent memory, but when you look around at the other operating systems that you and others use every day, it's not a huge stretch.
Why would I want to see Windows 12?
Every time we hear rumors about an upcoming release from Office, iOS, or macOS, there's usually a number attached.
Microsoft's method of bringing in updates, especially as someone who mainly uses a Mac, has been confusing, with monthly or yearly updates that seem to appear out of nowhere, especially if you're not on the Insider Channel.
To see a new Windows release with a 12, or 13, or 14 throughout the decade, would excite me more about what Microsoft could be working on for the operating system, whilst being clear about what releases are coming up.
Looking at an update called 'February 2022 Update for Windows 11', usually with a bunch of numbers after the letter K, doesn't excite me. It doesn't make me wonder what's next and feels synthetic and boring to me.
Let's see the next major update called Windows 12, with the fanfare that we see from Apple with macOS for example.
Following on from Apple and, Samsung
For years, Apple had version numbering for macOS included in its older name – Mac OS X.
With every version, which was named after a wild cat, then eventually Californian landmarks, there would be a .1 added on. This was between 2000 and 2018, and now we've already seen the jump from macOS 11 to macOS 12 with Monterey's release last year, with macOS 13 rumored to be next.
The same applied to Samsung's Galaxy smartphones, where the models jumped from the Galaxy S10 in 2019, to the S20 in 2020, with the S22 having just been released.
Some say it was to leap ahead of the naming of future iPhones, and for a customer looking for their next phone upgrade, it can sway their decision.
But between 2015 and 2021, the only Windows version was Windows 10, so it wouldn't be a stretch for Microsoft to consider the successor to Windows 11 already, but with a new number.
As ridiculous as it may sound, higher numbers to a new version of the software can make a big difference to some people. It's almost a playground battlefield, where a higher number means it's the latest and greatest, and that's it.
But Windows 12 sounds 'next-gen' for operating systems, especially when you consider that we're approaching the 40th anniversary of Windows in November 2025.
It wouldn't be a stretch to expect the next version of Windows to have a new number by then, and if it's another way of keeping up with Apple, Google, and others, then you can expect Microsoft to follow suit with higher numbers soon enough.
After the release of macOS 12 Monterey in 2021, followed by the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch models, speculation is now mounting as to what macOS 13 will bring.
Back in 2020, Apple began transitioning away from Intel processors in favor of its own Apple Silicon chips. These chips are now redefining what Macs are capable of, particularly when it comes to gaming. While macOS Monterey focused on productivity and communication tweaks, macOS 13 could be a major update of the type not seen since macOS 11 Big Sur, reflecting this new change in direction.
With this in mind, we’ve combed through our Macs to round up five features we’d like to see later this year, no matter how major or minor these may be.
First, though, we’ll run through what we know about macOS 13 so far, including its rumored release date and which Macs the update is likely to support.
macOS 13 release date rumors
Apple’s releases have run like clockwork in recent years. There’s a good chance macOS 13 will be announced at WWDC 2022 alongside iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and the rest. Whether it’ll be a remote keynote again or a return to an in-person event remains to be confirmed by Apple.
Apple usually announces the release date of a new macOS update alongside new Macs, so this could be October again, similar to the previous two years.
macOS 13 supported devices
With Apple well on the way to leaving Intel behind, it’s a matter of time until macOS runs solely on the company’s own M1 chips and above.
macOS 13 is likely to still support Intel Macs for now, though. We expect that the upcoming update will support the following Macs as a minimum:
Mac Pro – Late 2013
iMac – Early 2015
iMac Pro – Late 2017
MacBook Air – Early 2015
MacBook Pro – Early 2015
MacBook – Early 2015
macOS 13 name rumors
We speculated that macOS 12 would be called either Mammoth or Monterey, and it proved to be the latter at WWDC 2021. Mammoth could be another solid bet for macOS 13, though.
The name refers to the Mammoth Lakes in California, following the pattern of naming releases after landmarks in the state, and it’s close to Monterey and Big Sur, which may also represent a bigger update to macOS compared to the last year.
Five features we want to see in macOS 13
While macOS 13 is still a little while away, we've put together a list of the improvements we want to see from the next-gen operating system for Apple's Macs.
1. Widgets anywhere
Widgets first appeared in iOS 14 back in 2020, and have slowly moved over to iPadOS, where you can also move them anywhere on the home screen, but in macOS they are still locked to a column.
macOS 13 should allow you to move widgets anywhere on the screen. Some forget that widgets first appeared on macOS way back in 2004 with Dashboard in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, as a way of managing them inside one app that would cover your screen.
Having Dashboard return to macOS 13 or the ability to place widgets anywhere on your desktop would be appealing. It would help spruce up your display, and eliminate the need to go to the column to view them.
2. Weather app
The weather app saw a mammoth redesign in iOS 15 last year, mainly thanks to Apple’s acquisition of the weather app Dark Sky. While the app hasn’t moved to iPadOS just yet, the next logical step would be to macOS.
Random thing, but I really like this animation.A favourite feature of mine from iOS 15 is https://t.co/Ak5SWWCx1G – who’d have thought. pic.twitter.com/HH5UkWlBzSSeptember 30, 2021
Having easy access to weather forecasts, plus precipitation and storm notifications could be useful to many Mac users – especially if widgets can be shown on the desktop instead of the column they’re currently locked to.
3. App Library
App Library is another iOS feature that would be useful to have in the Dock for macOS 13. While Launchpad and Finder give you handy overviews of your installed apps and let you add them to folders, they’re the only view that you have.
That can be tricky if you have hundreds of apps, especially as a full-screen view in Launchpad can get in the way of anything you’re working on.
App Library on the Mac could easily sort your apps into categories, and have some folders change depending on the time of day or your location, just as it does in iOS. It would be much more useful for Mac users, as having a full-screen view on an iMac or an external display seems too much.
4. Time Machine and iCloud Backups
Time Machine is a feature that’s fallen by the wayside in recent years, regardless of how useful it’s proved in the past. It takes multiple snapshots of your macOS machine throughout the day, and if you lose a file, you can go ‘back in time’ and recover it.
Time Machine first appeared in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard back in 2006, and while it’s still available in macOS, there’s plenty that could be improved for macOS 13.
It’s second nature to back up your iPad or iPhone through iCloud Backup, which lets you save photos, messages, lock screen wallpapers, and more to your iCloud account. You can also restore these backups to your device if you need to reset it.
However, there’s no such feature for macOS; there’s only the option of backing up to an external hard drive or directly on your Mac, which could defeat the point if your Mac refuses to boot.
Having iCloud Backups tied to Time Machine feels like an easy win for Mac users, as it’s secure but also familiar.
5. tvOS screensavers for Mac
We’d love to see Apple bring those impressive flyover screensavers from tvOS to macOS 13.
While there are third-party apps such as Aerial that can already do the job for Mac users, having a native option for macOS 13 would be great for anyone who just wants to use the screensavers in the System Preferences, without having to download an additional app.
After the release of Android 12 in 2021, followed by the subsequent releases of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, we’re already wondering what the next version of Android will bring.
Since its debut in 2008, Android has always brought a major feature with every headline release. But with Android 13, codenamed Tiramisu, it could be a perfect time for Google to fine-tune what’s already there in the millions of Android smartphones around the world.
We’ve combed through our Pixel, OnePlus, and other Android phones to roundup five features we’d like to see arrive in Android 13 later this year, no matter how major or minor these may be.
But first, we’ll run you through when we expect it to land and which Android phones will likely be supported.
Android 13 release date rumors
A new Android version usually appears for developers in February. This gives developers a heads up as to what should be appearing in the fall of that year, allowing them an idea of what they could implement for future versions of their apps.
A version for consumers is usually announced at Google I/O in June, followed by a public beta release, then a shipping release around October, which is when we expect Android 13 to arrive this year.
Android 13 supported phones
Android has a reputation for not making it easy to update your phone to the latest version. Part of it is due to the different manufacturers on how they have designed Android to match a brand, such as Samsung.
But with Google releasing a new Pixel phone every year, these usually come with the latest Android version. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a Pixel 7 or a Pixel Fold appear with Android 13 in October again to start with.
Other manufacturers usually follow after a few months of testing and putting their own spin on the new Android release, but it’s usually not until the first half of the next year.
What we want to see
Android 13 is still a little while away, so we've put together a list of the improvements we want to see from the next-gen software.
1. UI Fixes
While Material You showcases a new look for Android, it’s not without its faults. Some buttons are confusing users when a feature is enabled. For example, if you go to ‘Internet’ in the Notification Center, you have to press this icon again to toggle Mobile Data, Wi-Fi, and Hotspot. It feels convoluted, and there's no option to make these three options a separate toggle.
Alongside this, the colors in Android 12 lack contrast – everything looks pale compared to the vibrancy that iOS shows. But according to Android Police, it looks like Google is already aware of this, as new vibrant colors have seemingly leaked for Android 13.
According to a new leak from @AndroidPolice, Google is introducing some customization options to Android’s wallpaper-based theming system called “monet.” This comes in the form of new styles called TONAL_SPOT, VIBRANT, EXPRESSIVE, and SPRITZ.https://t.co/IRjuWjRaSx pic.twitter.com/3pso679kUwJanuary 13, 2022
Giving some saturated colors across the user interface could help the overall appearance of Android. However, the Material You design we're currently seeing is essentially version 1.0 of a new look for the operating system. iOS is still seeing refinements in its flat design since 2013, so we're going to see visual improvements in Android for years to come.
2. Scrolling Screenshots for all, not some apps
This feature was introduced for some apps in Android 12, where you could take a screenshot of a web page, but Android would stitch the content into one image.
However, while it’s a useful feature, it requires developers to include a ‘View-based UI’ in the app, otherwise scrolling screenshots isn’t an option for users.
Instead, Android 13 should make this available to all apps, regardless of the current requirement. Users shouldn’t need to check whether certain features in Android are also available to certain apps, and scrolling screenshots is one of them.
3. Release the backtap gesture
This first appeared in a beta version of Android 11 back in 2020, before it was removed when the final release appeared for the Pixel 4 series and other smartphones.
It’s very useful for when you’re browsing another app, and you quickly want to switch to the camera app without going back to the home screen and finding its icon.
For Android, the backtap could be an easy win for users, especially as the software can be better customized compared to iOS. Imagine an Android 13 backtap where you can launch certain apps or media with a certain amount of taps, or the end result changes, depending on the app that you’re currently using.
4. Hand Off from iOS
According to Android Police, this may already be coming to Android 13, mirroring a feature where you can transfer what you’re listening to on your iPhone, to a HomePod speaker for example.
Tentatively called ‘TTT’ or Tap to Transfer, you can send the media you’re either watching or listening to, towards a device that could be in your home or workplace.
With a barrage of televisions running Android, alongside smart speakers, this could work well for sending across media in an easier way from your smartphone.
5. Please fix ‘Open by Default’ feature
Before Android 12, you could open a file and a message box would appear, asking you if you’d like to open this in an app just once, or from then on.
It was a simple message box but it solved a purpose. But with Android 12, an ‘Open with Default’ appears instead, ridding you of the choice of using an app once.
This change has been frustrating to users, as it requires you to go deep into the Settings app to make the filetype forget to open in a certain app. For Android 13, let’s revert it back to how it was. That’s all we ask.
Microsoft is currently working on the next big update to Windows 11, tentatively called Sun Valley 2.
This is already shaping up to be a collection of small and big refinements across the whole operating system of Windows 11, alongside some new features, such as Android apps appearing on the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft is yet to officially reveal the 22H1 update to Windows 11, but through leaks, rumors, and the Windows Insider Program, we’ll begin to piece together a good picture throughout the months leading up to its release.
With Windows 11 still rolling out to more devices, users are curious as to what the 22H1 update will now bring.
As we begin to build a picture of what to expect, here is everything we know so far about the first major update for Windows 11.
Cut to the chase
What is it? Windows 11 22H1 ‘Sun Valley 2′ is the first major update to Windows 11
When is it out? Windows 11 22H1 ‘Sun Valley 2′ is expected sometime in the second quarter of 2022
How much does it cost? Windows 11 22H1 ‘Sun Valley 2′ will be a free update for all users
Windows 11 22H1 ‘Sun Valley 2' release date
Right now there is no confirmed release date for the Windows 11 22H1 ‘Sun Valley 2' update. Microsoft’s release schedule for Windows 11 updates is now once a year, compared to two a year with Windows 10 previously.
There have already been plenty of improvements in the Windows Insider channels, which allows users to test features in development. But it looks like Microsoft is rolling all of these into the first major update of Windows 11.
While the operating system was released in November 2021, it was announced in June, which would be a good time to release Sun Valley 2 with some tentpole features.
Windows 11 22H1 ‘Sun Valley 2' speculation
At this time there is no confirmed name from Microsoft. Based on the naming convention for Windows 11 updates, however, it’s safe to assume that its official designation will be Windows 11 22H1. The ‘22’ refers to the year and ‘H1’ refers to the second half of the year.
The name being discussed at the moment for this moment is ‘Sun Valley 2’, which is unlikely to be its release name. This is an internal codename for parts of the next version of Windows 11 which is being worked on and has been outed to the public by way of leaks from those with insider knowledge of Microsoft’s workings.
As Windows 11 was a significant upgrade from Windows 10, such as a refreshed look, a redesigned Microsoft Store, and the return of widgets, Sun Valley 2 looks to build upon Windows 11 but also improve certain aspects that users have been sending feedback over.
In the Insider builds, users have spotted more apps gaining the new Fluent Design, which is the overall look for Windows 11. These apps feature rounded corners, lesser reliance on the Ribbon view that's been across the operating system since Windows 8, and a more vibrant color scheme. There have also been features announced last year that have yet to come to every Windows 11 user.
Android apps coming to Windows 11
Testers in the Beta Channel who have Windows 11 Build 22000.xxx and above will be able to try out Android apps that will show as available in the Microsoft Store.
These will originate from Amazon's App Store instead of Google Play, as every app is tested and approved by Amazon, similar to Apple's effort with the App Store.
These will run similar to how iOS apps run on macOS, with apps such as TikTok and Instagram running in a window.
New OS features for Windows 11 22H1 ‘Sun Valley 2'
This first update to Windows 11 looks to be built on feedback from users, alongside more refinements that Microsoft didn't have time to include in the first release in November.
One feature that's been divided by users has been the taskbar. The start menu has seen a redesign in Windows 11, but while the new look has been a positive, some features that were present in Windows 10, cannot be found here.
Other OS improvements are more apps from Microsoft that will be refreshed with the Fluent Design language that's across Windows 11. Notepad is one of the examples for Sun Valley 2, gaining dark mode and a re-arranged menu bar.
While Paint is another app to gain from a refreshed look, Microsoft surprised many at the end of 2021 by bringing back Windows Media Player.
It will be replacing Groove Music, an app that debuted back in Windows 8 in 2012. This will be available in the Microsoft Store, but will be scheduled to appear as the default app to play media files once Sun Valley 2 is available to everyone.
Windows 11 updates look to already be about more than visual flair, and Sun Valley 2 is set to be no exception. There will be several changes underneath that aren’t user-facing, as always, and a number that will be.
But from what Microsoft is working on and showcasing through the Insider program, it's clear that the company wants to update the apps of Windows 11, not just the front-facing features.
How to test the Windows 11 22H1 Update before launch
Before Microsoft pushes out any big update to Windows 11, it passes through the various channels in the Windows Insider Program. There are various channels in the Insider Program which relate to how far ahead of time you’ll be able to test new features, with the most cutting edge being the ‘Dev Channel’, targeted at the most technical users.
The ‘Dev Channel’ was the first place that Sun Valley started to appear, with a 2200 build number appearing in November 2021. Other app updates to Paint and Windows Media Player soon appeared in the 'Beta Channel'.
These will be reliable builds tied to a future release with updates validated by Microsoft. Closer to launch, Windows 11 22H1 will hit the ‘Release Preview Channel’ which is the most stable of all in the Insider Program. Builds released to this channel are supported by Microsoft.
If you’re not yet in the Windows Insider Program and you’d like to start testing future updates early you can enroll right from the Settings app on your PC. Head to the ‘Update & Security section, then select ‘Windows Insider Program’ and choose the channel you want to join. You will then begin receiving updates through ‘Windows Update’ on your PC corresponding to the channel you joined.
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.
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)
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.
As perfect as 11.11 *would* be, we just couldn’t wait any longer to make #Windows11 available. Get it October 5th, and read all about it now.August 31, 2021
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A new version of WordPress that's currently under development, WordPress 5.9, is now available in beta for testing purposes.
Given WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 is not a stable release, the developers recommend tests should be carried out on test websites rather than live sites, in case any issues reveal themselves.
WordPress has released a set of detailed instructions for users to follow in order to carry out the test successfully.
The final version of WordPress 5.9 is scheduled for release on January 25, 2022.
WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 testing
With eight weeks left until the software goes live, WordPress has developed three different ways for users to test WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 on their sites.
The first option is to install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream.
The second way is to directly download the beta version, and the third way is to use WP-CLI to test: wp core update –version=5.9-beta1. However, the third option is not advised for filesystems that are case-insensitive.
WordPress said in a blog post that the main reason for these tests is to polish the release in the beta stage. The release already contains 580 enhancements and nearly 450 bug fixes, and contributors have addressed 297 tickets for WordPress 5.9 so far, including 110 new features and enhancements.
This latest WordPress version will also introduce WordPress’ very first block-based default theme, Twenty Twenty-Two.
“It’s the very first theme that’s block based and needs thorough testing as a result,” said a WordPress contributor in the detailed guide.
WordPress also dished out extra tips for those who want to participate in testing the new version on their sites, which include testing across different browsers, testing in different languages, and seeing what the new features look like on different screen sizes.
The WordPress developers have decided to push back the release of the next major version of the popular content management system (CMS) to January, 2022, after some developers expressed concern about the pace of development.
“I think there are some large red flags here that some things are not ready for 5.9….Overall, it seems like right now we are rushing things in a dangerous way,” wrote Addison Stavlo, a contributor to WordPress’ Gutenberg editor.
The original plan was to release WordPress 5.9 in mid December, 2021. However, things weren’t smooth during the alpha release cycle, forcing core developers to make several changes.
Better late than sorry
Not impressed by the changes to “so many things at the last minute,” Stavlo wondered why delaying the release wouldn’t be a better idea than making “regrettable decisions.”
As she announced the revised schedule Tonya Mork, Core Tech Lead for the 5.9 release, shared that the team had two options; either move the major features that had unresolved issues to the WordPress 6.0 release, or delay the release of WordPress 5.9.
After careful deliberation, the core developers decided that the issues would be best handled now than later.
“The 6.0 release isn’t due until April 2022—too long for the community to wait for them [the features]. After processing this list of issues, Core Editor team saw the features could ship in 5.9 with the revised schedule. This decision, to delay the 5.9 release, was not made lightly,” explains Mork.
5.9 is still in feature freeze, and Mork stresses that the developers will use the elongated development period to iron out the issues and help 5.9 get to a Stable state.
After seeing the releases of iOS 15 and the subsequent iPhone 13 series, we’re in the midst of .1 updates that are slowly refining features we’ve been seeing since June, back at WWDC.
However, that doesn’t stop us from thinking of what could be in the next version of iOS that is widely expected to be called iOS 16.
Every iOS release has brought a major feature to the table, whether that’s widgets or dark mode. But iOS could still benefit from some new refinements to better manage how you use your iPhone every day.
We’ve combed through our iPhones to roundup five features we’d like to see arrive in iOS 16 next year, no matter how major or minor these may be. But first, we’ll run you through when we expect it to land and which iPhones will be supported.
iOS 16 release date rumors
Apple has followed a traditional schedule of announcing the latest iOS update in June at WWDC, followed by a release around September.
With iOS 15.2 currently in testing, Apple has been focusing on rolling out significant features across more .1 updates. In previous years, we've seen the trackpad appear on iOS 13.4, alongside ProRes in iOS 15.1 in October of this year.
It wouldn't be a stretch to expect an iOS 15.7 by the time we see iOS 16 with more significant features.
iOS 16 supported iPhones
Apple tries to support a variety of iPhone models in every new iOS release. iOS 15 supports iPhone 6S at a minimum, which was released in 2015.
It wouldn't be a stretch to expect iOS 16 to support the iPhone 7 series at a minimum, but with some features held back, mainly due to the hardware limitations of the camera, or the chip inside certain iPhone models.
Every iOS release comes with a major feature, but also a bunch of minor improvements across the board. If you still have an iPhone 8 for instance, you may reap the benefits of some of the small features in iOS 16 when it arrives. But you will most likely miss out on the big feature that Apple will showcase.
Redesigned Camera app
The iPhone camera has seen huge improvements in recent years, with more lenses being added and features such as Night Mode and Cinematic Mode being introduced.
However, this has meant that the camera app has begun to feel bloated. Accessing forced flash or exposure settings requires a few more swipes than we’d like, alongside hidden gestures that don’t feel needed.
With the impending release of iOS 15.2, we’re also about to see a new macro button appear, which will help you to more accurately set up those close-up shots when needed. This is just for the iPhone 13 series, though.
Starting afresh with the camera app could help new users take photos in a whole new way, alongside giving existing users a fresh way of taking photos and videos.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that Apple has more big plans for the cameras in future iPhone models, which will also mean new features that we’ll be switching on and off when required. Let’s see an app that’s redesigned for what came before, and lays the groundwork for what’s coming next.
There are many gestures you can do on an iPhone, so there’s no harm in adding one more. Dragging from the bottom right corner would display a note that you could quickly type in, and save for a later date.
With your thumb being your primary point of interaction with your smartphone, it's an easy win that can really help with quickly jotting something down. It will also save the strain of your thumb instead of reaching for the Control Center on the top right, and selecting the Notes icon.
Home Automation widgets
Since widgets were given a makeover in iOS 14, alongside the ability to place them anywhere on the home screen, some other apps have not been forthcoming with their own widgets to help reduce some steps. One blatant example is the Home app.
You may have a selection of smart lights in your home where you use the app to help manage these. But if you want to quickly switch on a light, you may experience a delay if you ask Siri, or if the app isn’t responding, which has happened often in our experience.
Having a widget on your home screen for your smart lights could really help reduce the steps in quickly switching the bedroom lamp on, instead of having to find the Home app.
It’s a little strange that the widget hasn’t appeared as yet, but we’re hoping it arrives, not only to iOS 16, but future versions of macOS and iPadOS as well.
If you own one of the AirPods peripherals, or an AirTag, you may find it very cumbersome to try and manage each of these. AirPods settings are only accessible through Bluetooth from within the Settings app, while AirTags settings are accessible through the Find My app.
Being able to manage these through a centralized ‘AirThings’ app could relieve a lot of confusion as to what you own from Apple.
Third-party vendors such as Sony bring out certain apps that can help you manage headphones and more to better manage the features that these bring. Being able to do the same, without having to go to Bluetooth within the Settings app, could bring a lot of simplicity to managing your devices.
Better theme options
Back in 2019, we saw an onslaught of themes thanks to a few new features that the Shortcuts app provided in iOS 13.
With Shortcuts, you can use the app to create launch commands for other apps, and place an icon of your choice on the home screen for it. This has resulted in many themes being made available for iPhone users.
YouTuber Marques Brownlee created a short guide to create your own icons with Shortcuts.
But iOS 16 could go further. A new category in the App Store could enable themes to be downloaded and then selected within the Settings app. You could also choose different colors and sounds for notifications and set them as a separate theme, which could also be enabled with Automations in the Shortcuts app.
Third-party developers could perhaps make their own sounds and themes available as well. While there would be restrictions on changing other app icons, it could further expand the individuality that users want from their devices.