Windows 11 launched this month, and Microsoft delivered some big changes to the storied operating system, including its first name change in six years. The Windows 11 update began rolling out on Oct. 5, though it will be released in a phased approach on eligible devices. (Here’s how to see whether your PC is compatible first and how to download it early if you don’t want to wait.)
Windows 11 comes with a truckload of new features, such as the ability to download and run Android apps on your Windows PC and updates to Microsoft Teams, the Start menu and the overall look of the software, which is more clean and Mac-like in design. (Check out all of our favorite new Windows 11 features and how to use them.) But keep in mind that not all of the features are available today.
7 new features included in Windows 11
Here are a few of the standout new features in Windows 11:
A new, more Mac-like interface.
Windows 11 features a clean design with rounded corners, pastel shades and a centered Start menu and Taskbar.
Integrated Android apps.
Android apps will be coming to Windows 11 via the Amazon Appstore, which will be accessible from within the updated Microsoft Store. There were a couple of ways to access Android apps on Windows 10, especially if you had a Samsung Galaxy phone, but this will make it native. (Note that Android apps will not be available upon the initial release of Windows 11.)
While they’ve been around for a while (remember desktop gadgets on Windows Vista?), including in a recent Windows 10 update, you can now access widgets directly from the Taskbar and personalize them to see whatever you’d like.
Microsoft Teams integration. Teams is getting a face-lift and is pinned on the Windows 11 Taskbar, making it easier to access (and a bit more like Apple’s FaceTime). You’ll be able to access Teams from Windows, Mac, Android or iOS.
Xbox tech for better gaming.
Windows 11 will get certain features found in Xbox consoles, like Auto HDR and DirectStorage, to improve gaming on your Windows PC.
Better virtual desktop support.
Windows 11 will let you set up virtual desktops in a way that’s more similar to MacOS, toggling between multiple desktops for personal, work, school or gaming use. You can also change your wallpaper on each virtual desktop.
Easier transition from monitor to laptop, and better multitasking.
The new OS includes features called Snap Groups and Snap Layouts — collections of the apps you’re using at once that sit in the Taskbar, and can come up or be minimized at the same time for easier task switching. They also let you plug and unplug from a monitor more easily without losing where your open windows are located.
Windows 11 is now available now and will continue rolling out through mid-2022. The newer your device is, the sooner you’re likely to have access to the update. The older your PC is, the longer you’ll probably have to wait. For more information, visit Microsoft’s official webpage.