Microsoft Teases Updated Photos App for Windows 11

Posted on September 8, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 21 Comments

The teases continue: Now Microsoft’s Panos Panay is teasing an updated version of the Photos app for Windows 11.

“Pumped to share another Windows 11 first look with you,” Mr. Panay’s tweet reads, “the beautifully redesigned Photos app is coming soon to Windows Insiders.”

So, “redesigned” is an interesting word. As was the case with the previous Panay tease, for Paint, it appears that the Photos app is mostly just getting a fresh coat of paint. But there are some minor differences, too. When a photo is opened with the app, a row of thumbnails appears at the bottom of the window. And the tools in the Edit experience have been reorganized a bit. Nothing major, but at least Microsoft is paying more attention to this app.

It’s not clear when we’ll see the new Photos app in a prerelease build, but Microsoft typically issues new builds on Thursday. And tomorrow is Thursday.

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (21)

21 responses to “Microsoft Teases Updated Photos App for Windows 11”

  1. codymesh

    The issue with this app is it's terrible performance. But yeah it could do with an improved UI as well.

    Also in the age of cloud photo management, the only way people will take photo management in this app seriously is if Microsoft made a Photos app on mobile too. Users using OneDrive for photo backups would love to see it.

    • csteinblock

      Yes! I would love this to be tied to OneDrive where all my photos are. Not tied to a single machine

  2. bettyblue

    When I tried to go back to Windows, I really really tried to make the Photos app work for me as a replacement for Mac Photos app. It was a disaster. It is OK with local photos on the hard drive. Once you add OneDrive into the mix, which is basically a huge selling point, the stability and speed of the app takes a drastic nose dive.

    I was OK with having to open the OneDrive app on my iPhone to allow photos to Sync to OneDrive and then Sync to my Windows PC's. But the app was just so unstable. If you google it there are so many hits to the stability issues. The suggestions of "resetting it" or removing it and re-installing from the Windows store do work for a short time but then you go to open it and it can just hang....white blank screen. Or you double click on a thumbnail to open it and the picture either sits and thumbnail resolution for a min or 2 then clears up or you have to close it and open it again to get the proper resolution.

    This is the kind of stuff that Apple nails and Microsoft just flounders with...year after year. This is what consumers, not geeks care about and its the reason the Apple ecosystem is so much better.

  3. ghostrider

    Microsoft's internal Windows apps are usually barebones with minimal functionality - just enough for the basics. They've always done this so they leave the door open for 3rd parties to charge for more premium options, or even their own replacements that they can charge for - classic move that they've done for years. Remember, nothing is done for the benefit of the user - it's all about the money.

    • ron f

      True, and this worked well when they had 90% something of the marketshare. However, smartphones are the main personal computing device to a large proportion of Windows users. Microsoft Photos is rather weak compared to either Google and Apple's counterpart apps and, thus, users have no reason to think Windows can take care of their personal lives. The basic apps will have to evolve, else Windows will be restricted to the work tasks.

  4. jimchamplin

    I still haven’t gotten the newest version of Alarms.

  5. proftheory

    I use 3rd party application IrfanView since version 3.30.

  6. superwindows88

    Pumped to hear that the Mail app has been totally neglected

    • Sir_Timbit

      Yup, I can't get my parents to move past Windows Live Mail for that very reason. The Mail app in Windows 8 was abysmal and years later, the Win10 Mail app isn't really an improvement. But I'm sure it'll have rounded corners or whatever.

  7. rickeveleigh

    Thumbnails in Explorer don't work for me in Win 11 so might have to use this app more anyway. (Didn't use it at all before.)

  8. djross95

    For a supposedly big update, changes announced thus far to the Windows 11 inbox apps (Mail and Calendar, Paint, Photos, etc.) are pretty small beer. Hardly worth getting "pumped" about, unless they're really holding back on the full list of changes. I'd like to think that they were, but somehow I doubt it.

    • IanYates82

      I find it almost laughable how the leader of a multi-billion dollar business (the windows & surface divisions) is spruiking such minor stuff as a lick of paint on some inbox apps. Once you're pumped about even these trivial things it's hard to find more adjectives to indicate a level of excitement for actually great new stuff.

      If they ever improve the mail app I suspect he'll have to say his head has exploded

  9. ourmaninny

    Performance isn't the only issue. The Photos app never had the functionality of the old Windows Live Photo Gallery app. Talking mainly about navigation around folders and tagging. There's nothing intuitive about Photos, the app honestly just falls on its face.

    • miomir

      Completely agree. How can Microsoft remove so much functionality from Windows Live Photo Gallery and introduce Photos and hope that people will be happy is really beyond me. Facial recognition, friendly "translation" of GPS coordinates to the actual place names and other things are missing from Photos and they should bring them back.

    • djross95

      What do most people do with their computers? Mail, calendar, photos, videos and music. The bundled Microsoft apps for all of these things are truly dreadful, and don't hold a candle to equivalent apps from Google or Apple. There's really no excuse for it, given the resources Microsoft could bring to bear--if they wanted to. But they don't (sadly).

      • vladimir

        I agree, and I find it really amazing how Microsoft swings between a wish to attract consumers and “screw consumers, we target businesses”. Due to this attitude all consumers solutions are half baked and significantly inferior to the competition. It’s very frustrating that they can’t make a clear choice. I guess consumers did

  10. rm

    Now for Windows Media Player . . . Please!