Microsoft is Reworking the Photos App in Windows 10

Posted on October 6, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Windows 10 with 26 Comments

Microsoft is Reworking the Photos App in Windows 10

Windows 10 users on the Windows Insider Fast ring can take an early peek at a visual reworking of the Photos app which ditches the hamburger menu navigation and offers a cleaner look and feel.

Note: I was tipped off to this change by Windows Central’s Daniel Rubino.

It’s not clear yet whether this change marks a wholesale move away from the hamburger menu, which is unnecessarily controversial in some circles. But I think not: For this app, especially, being able to easily navigate between its limited set of views is in fact better served by the new tab-based design.

To understand the change, here’s what the Photos app currently looks like in Windows 10. As you can see, it sports a dark theme and uses a collapsible hamburger menu on the left for navigation.


But if you’re a Windows Insider on the Fast ring, you can update to a coming updated version of the app that offers two major, obvious changes: There’s new, tab-based navigation, where the three main views—Collection, Albums, and Folders—are always visible and available. And, like most other in-box apps in Windows 10, it now correctly supports the OS theme and lets you manually switch between dark and light modes.


I happen to prefer my media apps in dark mode, and the result is both visually pleasing and—thanks to the simpler new navigation—easier to use.


Note that the update is also available on Windows 10 Mobile. I expect this update to makes it way through the other Windows Insider rings and then out to production in the coming weeks. Looking good.


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  1. 2 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 3 months ago

    I had a recent "user experience" talk with the Microsoft folks.  The idea of showing things rather than hiding them came out a lot in that discussion.  Seems Microsoft gets it, and is removing the hamburger menus when it really doesn't make sense to have them.  Sure, if there are a dozen options needed, put a menu there.  If it's just a few and some used a lot, show them.  Clean is nice, but not when it hides the options needed to be used a lot.

  2. 0 | Reply
    bbold Alpha Member #669 - 3 months ago

    Everytime I hear the words 'hamburger menu' I get the sudden urge to wanna drive through a Whataburger or In-N-Out drive-thru real quick ;P I think the changes look good! But if they're going to change one app, they should just eventually change them all, to avoid confusion and make all of Windows unified. This goes for both Desktop and Mobile.

  3. 0 | Reply
    zybch Alpha Member #2568 - 3 months ago

    Well it couldn't get much worse.

    Why the hell didn't they just 'metro'ize' Windows Live Photo Gallery (and its Live Mail app) instead of pushing these unusabe, feature barren junk-apps to everyone.

  4. 0 | Reply
    cseafous Alpha Member #610 - 3 months ago

    Saw the steak in your screenshot and immediately forgot what the article was about.  Stupid meat lust! :-) 

  5. 0 | Reply
    the_real_entheos Alpha Member #2392 - 3 months ago

    The "Photos" app in Widows would have been named "Milk toast" if the name had not already been taken. Anyway the app started out in Windows 8 as with so little functionality (much worse than the one that came from the Windows Live team) and was ignored for so long that it will have then same fate as Windows Media Player. That and the fact that most non-pros use one of the many excellent photo apps on their mobile devices.

  6. 0 | Reply
    SleepingPelican Alpha Member #661 - 3 months ago

    I already have this version on the Release Preview Insider ring on Win10 Mobile. I want to say it has been this way for a little while on Mobile but I could be mistaken.

  7. 0 | Reply
    glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 3 months ago

    The hamburger menu is fine. It's just that the Photo app and other apps are unusually stark and unuseful when you first open it. Many functions are not presented and you have to look and find things. Then you can't find what you need and leave in frustration. The Photo app tries to work as a slimmed down mobile app, which doesn't make sense on a desktop PC.