It appears that Microsoft is preparing to release several new features for Windows 11 Insiders in the Dev Channel. Sources say that many of these upcoming features will re-introduce missing functionality that didn’t come with the initial shipping build of Windows 11. Two weeks have already passed since the release of the latest Dev Channel build, which has made some people wonder if something happened internally to cause this pause in build releases.
However, sources say that Microsoft has been using the extra week to add brand-new features and implement some changes to the public preview branch of Windows 11 (rs_prerelease.) This is one possible reason for the recent lack of new Dev Channel builds. However, it’s also notable how there has been a massive jump in build numbers (up to 250xx), which indicates that a new development semester is starting.
We can all expect new features to come our way soon, no matter the case. Some of these changes include the following:
- create app folders in the Start menu itself
- drag and drop support on the Taskbar
- new acrylic or blur effects in legacy title bars
- new snapping UX called “Snap Bar”
- new gestures to open up the Start menu
- touch support for the Quick Settings panel.
Now, let’s go over some of these features a bit more.
App Folders in Start
Windows 11 users have highly requested this upcoming feature, and it functions as you’d expect. When you click and drag an app onto another, this will create a new folder that you can click. This new feature allows users more organization on their Start menu.
The new Snap Bar feature will introduce a new mechanic for snapping multiple app windows in Windows 11’s built-in snapping grid system. There are currently two different ways of snapping app windows: the drop-down that appears when you hover over the window controls or by literally dragging a window to the corners of your screen. With the new Snap Bar feature, a third option will be available. Specifically, users will see a bar panel appear on the top part of the screen when you click and drag a window around your screen.
New Acrylic/Blur Effects
You’ll find a slight UI change in the legacy title bars, as new acrylic or blur effects will replace the white title bar design we’re familiar with. If you watched the Windows live stream in January, you should have an idea what this new feature looks like, albeit it’s of low quality.
Start Menu & Quick Settings Changes
Tablet users will be thrilled to know that some significant improvements are also headed their way through new gestures. These gestures will allow easier access to both the Start menu and Quick Settings panel by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. If you swipe up from the System Tray, this will launch the Quick Settings. On the other hand, swiping up anywhere else on the screen will open up the Start Menu.
Lastly, Windows 11 users will finally experience the missing functionality in the Taskbar. These include drag and drop support, better UI, and the ability to automatically hide the Taskbar when using the device’s Tablet mode.
Of course, it’s highly likely that we missed several other features or that Microsoft will announce more over time. Here are all of the new features that are expected to be included for Insiders in the Dev Channel:
- App folders in Start
- Drag and drop on Taskbar
- Quick Settings / Notification Center improvements
- Pinned files in File Explorer
- Acrylic title bars
- Snap Bar snapping UX
- Gestures for Start/Quick Settings using touch
- New live captions feature
The next major release of Windows 11 has the codename “Sun Valley 2,” and these are the features that will shape it. As always, Microsoft could still cancel or postpone some of these features from appearing, so we’ll have to wait and see.