When Microsoft released the new Edge web browsers publicly back in January, it was still missing a handful of key features, the most obvious of which was extension synching. But after months of testing in the Canary, Dev, and Beta channels, extension sync is finally available to those on the stable (public) version of the browser, starting with version 83. And that means that Microsoft can now begin the automatic deployment of its browser to over one billion Windows 10 users.
“Extension sync is now available,” the release notes for Microsoft Edge version 83 reads. “You can now sync your extensions across all your devices. Extensions from both the Microsoft and Chrome Stores will sync with Microsoft Edge … [Admins and IT pros] can use … group policy to disable syncing of extensions.”
“Now available” is a touchy subject for some readers, and in this case it’s warranted: Starting with this latest release of Edge, Microsoft is implementing a new automated rollout schedule for existing users on the current version (which is 81, as Microsoft skipped version 82 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).
“Microsoft Edge updates will now roll out gradually,” the release notes explain. “Going forward, updates for Microsoft Edge will be rolled out to our users over a period of a few days. This enables us to protect more of you from accidental buggy updates, which improves [the] update experience.”
Microsoft Edge 83 isn’t just about extension sync. In addition, it includes the following new features and improvements:
Automatic Profile Switching. Those who use multiple profiles will receive a prompt to switch to their work profile to access a site that requires that authentication automatically now. “When you choose the work profile you want to switch to, the website will simply open in your work profile,” Microsoft explains. “This profile switching capability will help you keep your work and personal data separate and help you get to your work content more effortlessly.” You can disable this functionality as well.
Collections improvements. You can now drag and drop items into a collection without first opening the collection. You can also add multiple items to a collection instead of adding one item at a time.
Immersive Reader improvements. The Grammar Tools feature in the Immersive Reader view (called Reading Mode in legacy Edge) now supports adverbs so that they can be highlighted on the page as you read. You can also now select content on a page and open just that in Immersive Reader.
Default browser. You can now configure Microsoft Edge as your default web browser directly from the application (in Settings) instead of having to open the system Settings app. Or just navigate directly to edge://settings/defaultBrowser.
Frankly, I consider this release to be the first real non-preview version of the new Microsoft Edge, and if you’ve been avoiding it for some reason, now is the time to jump in.