The best Windows 11 features: Android apps, widgets and more

0

Windows 11 brings a bunch of new features. Here’s how to use them.

Microsoft

Microsoft started rolling out Windows 11 in fall 2021 with new features and a redesigned interface, bringing with it all kinds of tools to increase productivity. Now a long-awaited feature has arrived: Android Apps for Windows 11.

Keep in mind, however, that the Microsoft Windows 11 update is rolling out in phases. This means that the update has hit newer devices first and will be offered to all other compatible Windows devices by mid-2022. If you are hesitant to update to the new operating system, don’t worry. Upgrading to Windows 11 from Windows 10 is not mandatoryat least not yet, and Microsoft says it will support old OS until 2025.

But if you are ready to upgrade, you already have Windows 11 or if you just want to check out the latest from Microsoft, we’ll cover the best Windows 11 features we’ve seen and how you’ll use them. You can also find out how Windows 11 compares to Windows 10all Windows 11 did not give us and what is windows 11 se.

Our favorite features in Windows 11 and how to use them

Android Apps

apps-android-windows-11

You will be able to download Android apps on Windows 11.

Microsoft

What it is: Android apps are now integrated into Windows 11 natively through the new Microsoft store — a change that Windows users have been waiting for years. Support for Android apps was not part of the first retail version of Windows 11but Microsoft has since begun rolling out a preview of the feature as part of the operating system’s first major update.

Although you can access Android apps on your Windows 10 PC in some cases (like if you have a Samsung Galaxy phone), Windows 11 marks the first time anyone will be able to download them directly to your PC. (Here is all about Android apps on Windows 11.)

How you will use it: Android apps are available in the new Microsoft Store via Amazon’s Appstore. That means you’ll need to download the Amazon Appstore to access the nearly 500,000 apps available there, including Disney Plus, TikTok, Netflix, Pinterest, and Uber. However, you will not be able to access all Android apps found in the Google Play Store.

Once you’ve downloaded the Amazon Appstore and signed in or created an Amazon account, you’ll be able to search for free or paid apps just like you would on any other platform. Android apps are integrated into the start bar and will also appear in the taskbar with their own windows.


Now Playing:
Look at this:

7 Ways to Take Screenshots in Windows 11


3:54

Widgets

windows-11-widgets

Widgets on Windows 11 give you customizable information at a glance.

Microsoft

What it is:Windows 11 adds widgets to the interface – a customizable AI-powered feed that swipes to show you things like news, weather, an overview of your calendar and to-do list, and your recent photos. Widgets are similar to a feature called news and highlights found in a recent Windows 10 update.

How you will use it: On the newly redesigned taskbar, you will find a button for Widgets. When you click or tap it, a panel will slide down the left side of your screen with a series of widgets that give you the information you’re looking for at a glance. You can also expand it to full screen.

Microsoft Teams

announcements-microsoft-windows-11-24-june-2021-cnet-019.png

Bring up the Microsoft Teams chat bar directly from the Windows 11 taskbar for easier access to your contacts.

Microsoft/Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

What it is: Windows 11 versions Teams, Microsoft’s video chat platform directly in the operating system, making it easy to access for daily use. You can connect with others on Teams on Windows, Android, Mac, or iOS.

How you will use it: You can see Teams appear in the taskbar. If not, you can search for it. Click on the Teams icon to launch a chat tool, allowing you to choose whether you want to send a message, text, voice or video call to one of your contacts. Click on Meet or Chat and choose who you want to contact. Or open the full version of Microsoft Teams by clicking the box at the bottom of the chat screen. (Here’s more on how to use the new improved version of Microsoft Teams in Windows 11.)

desktop computers

announcements-microsoft-windows-11-24-june-2021-cnet-008.png

Easily switch between different desktops in Windows 11.

Microsoft/Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

What it is: Windows 11 makes it easier for you create separate virtual desktops for every part of your life, and customize them with different wallpapers, so you can create a desktop for personal use, work, school, play or whatever, and easily switch between them. This is similar to the macOS virtual desktop feature.

How you will use it: Tap the desktop button on the taskbar to bring up a panel with your current desktop. Press the plus button in the New Desktop area to create a new desktop. Press the X button to delete it. Then tap a desktop to access it.

Instant layouts

What it is: When working in a bunch of open windows, Windows 11 lets you arrange them in different screen layouts and saves all those windows in that arrangement.

How you will use it: When you open a window, you will see a button that looks like a square in the upper right corner, between the X and the minimize button. Hover over it to see different layout options for this window, then select the layout and position within the layout where you want to place this window.

windows-11-snap-groups-snap-layouts

Bring groups of apps and windows together with Snap Layouts, and easily maximize and minimize the whole with Snap Groups in Windows 11.

Microsoft

Snap groups

What it is: Snap Groups are the collection of open windows that you have saved in Snap layouts, found on the taskbar for easy-to-recall access, so you can minimize or maximize them as a group.

How you will use it: Hover over your browser in the taskbar (it’s not clear if you need to use Microsoft Edge to do this, as Microsoft did in its demo). You will see the different groups of sites and applications that you have created. Click on the one you want to open the entire group again. (Here’s more on Using Snap Layouts and Snap Groups.)


Now Playing:
Look at this:

Windows 11: Will your computer be able to run it? What…


3:43

3 leaked new features that may be coming soon

Software leak @thebookisclosed on Feb. 5, tweeted that Windows 11 would get several new features, including a “sustainability” tab that recommends ways to save device power and suggests how to recycle the device.

The leaker also wrote that Windows 11’s “Focus assist” feature, which aims to help you avoid distractions by reducing notifications, will simply become “Focus”. The new Focus feature would allow Outlook scheduling and more customization.

Although Windows 11 removed Tablet Mode from Windows 10, the leaker wrote that an element of it may return in the form of a taskbar setting called “Auto-hide taskbar when you use your device as a tablet”.

Finally, the leaker wrote that Windows 11 will introduce stickers that you can add to your wallpaper and change.

To find out more, see how windows 11 desktop widgets and layouts work and how to change your windows 11 wallpaper. You can also check out CNET’s list of best windows laptops you can buy and the best laptops under $500.

Share.

Comments are closed.