Microsoft Photos update brings requested features to Windows 11

Microsoft’s updated Photos app is now available for Windows 11 in the Windows Insider Program, bringing requested interface changes and better image quality.

One of the most visible changes is support for actions like “Share” and “Start slideshow” on the main screen. Previously, these options were hidden in the menu, but Microsoft is exposing these toggles via the menu as it wants more people to use the features.

Microsoft has also moved the Photos app from UWP to Windows App SDK, as announced earlier this month..

While the migration doesn’t come with visible UI changes, it allows Photos app to use more web tech in a few new places. For example, the new image editor within Microsoft Photos is powered OneDrive’s image editor.

Photos app
Photos app with OneDrive editing features

Microsoft has added OneDrive’s cross-platform image editor to Photos App. Per Microsoft, there are several advantages of using web in Photos app:

  • WebGL support enabling improved image rendering quality
  • Superior performance when sharing high quality images between the native and web layers using SharedBuffer.
  • Supporting a more up to date version of Chromium, which carries the latest improvements and security updates.
  • Allowing us to optimize the performance of AI Service which requires sending pixel buffers back and forth from Web Editor to Native App for AI inference.

After the update, you might notice that the Microsoft Photos app now uses more resources when you edit your images. This happens because the app needs to call Microsoft Edge WebView APIs when you try to edit your pictures.

Other improvements in the Photos app

You can now zoom in and out on your photos from 10% to 800% of their original size using a new slider.

Photos app zoom
Photos app zoom menu

Similarly, it is now possible to see the size and dimensions of your photos at the bottom of the screen.

Another important change is ability to choose when to transfer photos and videos from your devices, giving you more control over the import process.

These improvements are rolling out to Microsoft Photos app and you can download the update from the Store.

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