Windows 11 first showed its face on June 24th, 2021, and it’s been officially available since October 5th that same year. Today, most laptops being sold come with Windows 11 installed out of the box, and it’s becoming increasingly popular. But the Windows development cycle never stops, and there’s always something to look forward to. That’s where the Windows Insider Program comes into play, as it lets fans try out new Windows 11 features in preview before anyone else.
At any given moment, there’s something Windows Insiders can try that most other users don’t yet have, but sometimes, it’s hard to keep track of what those things are. If you’re curious about the future of Windows, we’ve rounded up all the Windows 11 features that are currently available in preview, so you can get a glance of what’s coming, or maybe even decide if now is a good time to become a Windows Insider yourself. Though, if you’re considering that, definitely check out our guide to the Windows Insider Program channels first. With that out of the way, let’s get into what you can try right now.
Windows 11 version 22H2
The biggest thing Windows Insiders are testing right now is Windows 11 version 22H2, which is the next major update for Windows 11. This should be available to the general public soon, and because of that, we’ve already rounded up everything that’s new in that update. To avoid repeating ourselves and making this page extremely long, we recommend checking out everything that’s new in Windows 11 version 22H2. However, we can say it includes some big changes, including File Explorer tabs and much better support for touch devices.
This is currently available to Insiders in the Release Preview and Beta channels, though the Beta channel has been split into two paths. There’s one path that’s testing some additional features, and we’ll list those below as they might not be in Windows 11 version 22H2 at launch. The Dev channel has moved beyond version 22H2, so while all these features are available there, some other changes are also available, and it’s much more likely to be unstable.
Suggested actions is a feature designed to make it easier to take actions on specific kinds of text when you select it. For example, if you select a phone number and copy it, Windows 11 will show you the option to call that number on Microsoft Teams. If you copy a date, you might see the ability to create an event in Outlook.
This feature is available in the Dev channel and in the Beta channel if you have updated to Windows 11 build 22622.290 or higher. You’ll also need to have your region set to the US, Canada, or Mexico for it to work.
A new search button on the taskbar
Microsoft briefly experiemnted with placing a search bar on the desktop as a replacement for the old Search button, but now, the company is trying something else. You may see a variant of the Search button on the taskbar. One option redesigns the Search icon with a logo representing the web, while the other two options show a search bar saying “Search” or “Search the web”, which could make it easier for new users to know what the icon does right away.
This new feature is being tested only in the Dev channel for now.
Microsoft is also testing a way to make it easier to share files with PCs on the same network. The Windows share panel now supports device discovery of UDP, so the “Nearby sharing” category can now show other PCs on the same network so you can easily send files over.
Microsoft also briefly tested the ability to easily share local files by uploading them to OneDrive, but this capability has been temporarily removed from Windows Insider builds.
This new sharing experience is available in both the Dev channel and the Beta channel if you’ve opted to receive build 22622.
A major change that’s being tested with Windows Insiders right now is the return of the taskbar overflow menu, meaning you can actually see all your open and pinned apps more easily. When the apps on your taskbar exceed the available space on the screen, you’ll see a taskbar overflow button to display the rest of the apps you have open. Just as with the taskbar itself, you can see your pinned apps here and most of the features you’d see for the taskbar also work here.
This feature is available in the Dev channel and in the Beta channel for users running build 22622.
Redesigned Open with menu
Although it was previously in testing already, Microsoft has once again brought a new “Open with” menu to Windows Insiders. While it’s functionally not very different from what we currently have, this new menu has some big design changes. Now, it has rounded corners and a translucent effect instead of a solid color. Plus, this version of the menu follows the system theme, instead of always having a white background.
This new menu also changes how you choose a permanent default app for a given file type. Now, after you choose an app to open a specific file type, you choose to that file type with that app “Always” or “Just once”.
This new design is available in the Dev channel and in the Beta channel for users running Windows 11 build 22622.
Xbox Game Pass widget
A new addition to the Widgets panel is the new Xbox Game Pass widget. This lets you quickly see information about games on Xbox Game Pass, including recently-added titles, games leaving the program soon, and other highlighted games in specific categories. In the future, Microsoft plans to let you sign into the widget so you can get more personalized information, too.
The Xbox Game Pass widget is only available in the Dev channel for now.
Another smaller change related to Widgets is that you may now see a notification badge on the taskbar after an important update to one of your widgets, or if there’s breaking news. This build on the new dynamic widget content on the taskbar, which recently became available to everyone.
Better Microsoft account management in Settings
A minor update that’s also been made to the Settings page is the ability to see information about your standalone OneDrive subscription in the Settings app. In Windows 11 version 22H2, this only works with Microsoft 365, which also includes OneDrive storage – but if you happen to have a standalone 100GB OneDrive subscription, you can see it now. There’s also a banner at the top of your account page that warns you if you’re close to your storage limit.
This feature is available in the Dev channel and in the Beta channel if you have build 22622.290 or higher.
Additionally, you’ll now be able to see information about perpetual licenses of Office 2019 or 2021 that are linked to your account. And, if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, you can now see an option to install your Office apps directly in the Accounts page without having to navigate to the Microsoft account page manually. These changes are only available in the Dev channel.
For Windows Insiders in the Dev channel, there’s yet another capability added to this page with Windows 11 build 25193. Now, you can also manage your Xbox-related subscriptions, including Xbox Game Pass for Console, PC Game Pass, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and Xbox Live Gold.
App usage history
Another improvement in the Settings app is a new page in Privacy & security section of the Settings app. If you go into the App permissions page, you’ll be able to see what apps used permission to access resources on your computer over the past seven days. That means you can see which apps used your location, camera, microphone, contacts, pictures, and so on.
Windows Spotlight theme
In the Personalization section of the Settings app, you can now find a new theme option out of the box, that being the Windows Spotlight theme. Windows Spotlight is a feature that shows you new background images every day, and in fact, you can already use it even if you’re not an Insider, but you’d have to specifically go into the Background settings, and now, you can find the Windows Spotlight theme directly under Personalization, so it also includes a theme color associated with the theme
The theme is represented by a preview showing multiple background images and a small icon indicating that the images rotate. This is currently only available in the Dev channel.
Improved app management
The Settings app keeps getting new capabilities to help it replace the classic Control Panel, and now, you can uninstall apps that have multiple inter-dependencies, such as Steam and games installed through Steam. It’s a small change that should help users have more consistent experiences. It’s still exclusive to the Dev channel, however.
New setting for touch keyboard
Another smaller change Microsoft has made in the Settings app has to do with the touch keyboard settings. Now, you have the option to choose whether you want the touch keyboard to never appear automatically, to appear only when there’s no physical keyboard detected, or to always appear when you tap a text input box. Before, only the first two options were available.
This new setting is only available in the Dev channel at this time.
Microsoft has also improved support for Braille devices to make the experience better for blind or low-vision users. This makes it so that your Braille device can continue to work properly when switching between the Narrator and third-party screen readers, so your experience isn’t interrupted.
Additionally, in another update, Microsoft has added support for more Braille displays, in addition to adding new Braille input and output languages. You’ll need to uninstall the previous Braille support in the Settings app, then reinstall it for this to work.
These improvements are currently only available in the Dev channel.
Some Windows 11 apps also often get updates exclusively for Windows Insiders. These tend to roll out to everyone over time without requiring a full OS update, but some changes may require such an update.
Camera app improvements
One of the biggest changes that’s currently exclusive to Windows Insiders is native Arm64 support for the Windows 11 Camera app. Indeed, it took nearly six years since introducing Windows on Arm, but the Camera app now runs natively on Arm-powered devices like the Surface Pro X, so performance and efficiency should be significantly improved.
Additionally, the Camera app can now recognize when some laptops may have features like privacy shutters or switches. If you open the Camera and it isn’t working correctly, it may prompt you to flick a switch or open the camera shutter.
This feature is available with version 2022.2207.29.0 of the Camera app, which is currently only available to Windows Insiders in the Dev and Beta channels.
Local Administrator Password Solution built-in
For business users relying on the Local Administrator Password Solution (LAPS) software, you’ll be happy to know that Microsoft has built it into Windows 11. It also includes some new capabilities. Once setting the feature up, you’ll be able to see LAPS in your Group Policy Editor and edit it as necessary.
This feature is only available in the Dev channel.
Windows Terminal becomes the default
It’s been possible to set Windows Terminal as your default terminal app in Windows 11 for a while now, but now, that actually has become the default setting, meaning your Command Prompt and PowerShell windows will open in Windows Terminal by default. You can change this in the Settings app, however. This is available in both the Dev and Beta channels.
Improved Euphemia typeface
If you speak a language that uses the Euphemia typeface – mostly covering languages that use the Canadian Syllabic script – you’ll notice an improved Euphemia typeface. Over 200 characters ahve been updated to be more easily readable, plus new glyphs have been added to line up with the latest Unicode 14 standard. There are new characters for the Nattilik language of the Canadian arctic region in this update. This is currently only available to Windows Insiders in the Dev channel.
Another big change coming to Windows 11, especially for IT administrators and public spaces, is the multi-app kiosk mode. This feature isn’t new to Windows itself, but it’s making its debut in Windows 11 now. A kiosk mode allows administrators to select a few specific apps that can be accessed by users, which can be useful for demo units or public computers where it’s important to prevent tampering with the experience. This feature is only available in the Dev channel.
And those are all the Windows 11 features that are currently in preview for Windows Insiders. With Windows 11 version 22H2 expected in the next few weeks and months, that’s definitely the most exciting thing you can test right now, but there are a few other features here and there that are interesting. We’ll keep this list updated as new features are released, so keep checking back.