Windows 11, the taskbar optimized for tablet mode arrives

The new Insider build of Windows 11 released last night in the Dev Channel does not introduce the same amount of news seen last week, but one in particular stands out: the taskbar optimized for tablet mode. It activates automatically on devices where it makes sense – for example on a 2-in-1 when it notices the keyboard has been folded back, or on a Surface Book when you detach the screen from the rest of the case – and it has two states:

  • Expanded. It is basically similar to the classic Windows 11 taskbar in laptop mode, but is optimized for touch screen interaction.
  • Contract. It simply shows essential information, such as the time, remaining battery life and connectivity. No apps, no Start and other items that can be accidentally activated when holding the device.

Just a swipe up or down from the edge of the screen to toggle between the two states. In the build there is a new entry on its Settings page (Personalization > Taskbar > Behavior of the taskbar) which allows you to disable it, if you prefer the traditional one. Microsoft advises that the distribution of the novelty has just begun e in the early stages it will not be available to everyone.

The build also includes some new features for the widget board, which will show more dynamic and varied content by mixing information from both widgets and news streams. There is also a new group policy for the school environment relating to Windows Update notifications – they can be disabled completely thus avoiding distractions for students.

For the rest, in File Explorer You can put files from OneDrive (even those shared by others), the Downloads folder, and any other indexed path into Quick Access. Also, the window organization system now suggests individual browser tabs as well, but only when this browser is Microsoft Edge. Finally, Emoji 14.0 is now available: it means that there are 37 new smileys, including the ones you see below.