Ahead of Windows 11's upcoming launch on October 5, Microsoft just released a completely redesigned version of its Photos app to Windows Insiders that looks like a big upgrade from the very basic image viewer we have today in Windows 10.
Available as part of a new update for Windows Insiders running the Windows 11 beta on the Dev Channel, the revamped Photos app comes with a brand new UI and layout along with some new features intended to help make viewing and editing your photos a lot more enjoyable.
The visual design of the Windows 11 Photo app has gotten a complete overhaul, with Microsoft touting new rounded corners and the use of Mica material design language throughout, which allows the app to dynamically change its color palette to more closely match your PC’s theme (light mode or dark mode) and wallpaper. Microsoft says the Windows 11 Photos app has also gotten bolder typography to help make finding settings and various albums easier too.
But the changes to the new Photos app aren’t purely skin deep either, as the photo viewer features a new edge-to-edge layout with an updated toolbar up top for all your core photo editing tools, with a filmstrip down below to make navigating through your photo roll that much simpler. And when you just want to see your pics without any other distractions, you can easily hide the Photos app’s toolbar and filmstrip by clicking directly on the photo viewer.
Inside the updated toolbar, Microsoft offers standard editing tools including crop, rotate, and touch-up, along with a button to view a picture’s metadata and a heart icon so you can quickly mark your favorite pics. And for people who want to see a bunch of photos at once (maybe to compare various edits of the same pic), Microsoft added a new multi-view mode too.
However, as someone who often relies on more powerful photo editing software for both work and personal content, my favorite new feature might be the Photo app’s new button that allows you to select an image and then send it to Photoshop Elements, Picsart, or other third-party image editors with a single click. Currently, in Windows 10, I typically have to right-click the thumbnail of an image and then use the “Open with” command to send an image to Photoshop, which isn’t terrible, but it gets kind of clunky when you’re doing it 30 or 40 times in a row. That said, at least for now, it seems like only a handful of third-party image editors work with the Photo app’s new launcher button, though Microsoft does claim wider support for more apps is on the way.
If you want to try out the new Windows 11 Photo app, Windows Insiders should be able to download the latest update to the Windows 11 beta today, though if you prefer to wait for Windows 11's official release, you’re going to have to sit tight for another couple weeks until the OS gets officially released on October 5.