Microsoft has rolled out its major Windows 11 2022 update, with a range of new features added to the operating system aimed at improving the overall experience.
Four main areas were the focus of the update, according to an official blog post: ease of use and safety, productivity, play and creation, plus added workplace security and management features.
From increased accessibility to expanded communication tools, here are a few of the biggest features included in the Windows 11 2022 update.
Live captions and voice controls boost accessibility
System-wide live captioning is one of the major accessibility additions coming as part of the Windows 11 2022 update. Previously confined to supported apps, live captions are now supported at a system level. Captions appear at the top of the screen by default, near where a webcam would be, but can be moved to wherever suits you the most. Additionally, in a win for workplace accessibility, Windows 11 can also be used to transcribe in-person conversations.
Another helpful accessibility tool now entering preview access is voice access, enabling you to use a PC and input text using your voice. Natural Voices for Narrator is also said to make for a more pleasant screen reader experience, too.
Snap improvements and better focus sessions
Multitaskers rejoice, because the latest Windows 11 update improves the way you can snap and arrange open app windows. By dragging a window to the top of the screen, you can easily sort open apps into various layouts to suit your display. Microsoft also claims that snap layouts now have better touch navigation, and the ability to snap Microsoft Edge browser tabs.
Seemingly inspired by the Pomodoro productivity method, the new Windows 11 introduces new focus sessions that automatically enable the notification-muting Do Not Disturb feature. It also links up with the clock app to provide a timer to help guide work sessions and breaks.
Speaking of tabs, get ready for the most-requested Windows feature: File Explorer tabs. Coming in October, the addition of tabs should make organising files and navigating folders easier.
Look professional and have fun with new creative tools
Windows 11 now natively supports more customisation features when videoconferencing. While various software packages already let you tweak webcam settings, now you can blur your messy home office background, automatically keep you in frame, and plenty more helpful tools just by using system settings. This also includes the AI-driven Voice Focus that filters background noise and improves audio clarity for fellow callers. All of this and more comes under the banner of Windows Studio Effects, which should help elevate the standard of video calls everywhere.
On the play side of things, Windows 11 gains the Controller Bar, a new extension of the Xbox Game Bar, making it easier to jump in and start playing. Various graphical improvements also come with the update, including broader Auto HDR support and variable refresh rate for windowed games. Microsoft aims to make Edge the go-to destination for games, particularly if you’re using Xbox Cloud Gaming. It has features like Clarity Boost to make games look sharper when streamed through Edge, and reduce browser resource usage during game sessions.
Feel more secure with Smart App Control
Whether at home or at work, Smart App Control prevents untrusted apps, script files and malicious macros from running, protecting your device. Smart App Control requires either an up-to-date clean Windows 11 install or a new Windows 11 device so you can be sure there aren’t already any nasties on your PC.
If you’re always nervous about inputting sensitive data online, Microsoft Defender SmartScreen steps in to keep your Microsoft credentials safe. It alerts you in the event you’re about to enter your details into a malicious app or hacked website, adding another layer of security.
This only scratches the surface of what the Windows 11 2022 update introduces to the widely-used Microsoft OS. You can read about all the added features and improvements in more detail via the official Microsoft blog.