Microsoft Begins Rolling Out Photos App Redesign

Posted on September 17, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Windows 11 with 14 Comments

The redesigned Photos app for Windows that Microsoft teased last week is finally starting to roll out to Windows Insiders in the Dev channel.

“We are beginning to roll out the redesigned Photos app for Windows 11 to all Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel,” Microsoft’s Dave Grochocki announced. “Our goal with the redesigned Photos app was to make it faster, easier, and more enjoyable for you to re-live and edit your photos on Windows 11.”

The Photos app is essentially the same app you see today in Windows 10, with the same basic features and navigation. But it does have some improvements that arguably make it the most heavily redesigned app for Windows 11, at least so far. Those improvements include:

Improved design. The Photos app look more natural in Windows 11, with its rounded corners, opaque Mica material, updated typography, and theme-aware color palettes.

Improved photo viewing experience. Photos is now a better default photo viewer in Windows, It displays pictures to the edges of the app window, an updated editing toolbar with pen support, a new filmstrip view that makes navigation easier, and a new multi-view experience that lets you to compare photos side-by-side.

Access third-party photo editors. In a nod to how basic this app remains, the Photos app now has links to better editors like Affinity Photo, Corel PaintShop Pro, and others when they’re installed.

This is all basic stuff, of course, but the Photos app was rarely updated before, so it’s still good news. And let’s face it, Windows 11 was so rushed that app refreshes will be appearing over time, with not much ready in time for the October 5 launch. So even a mild refresh like this kind of stands out.

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Comments (14)

14 responses to “Microsoft Begins Rolling Out Photos App Redesign”

  1. prettyconfusd

    My main hope for the new app is that it won't require people be in your Outlook contacts for them to be tagged - I don't really want to add everyone I've ever met to my contacts (which then show up on my phone) just so I can organise my photos better.

    They didn't speak about it here but one of the screenshots from the Twitter announcement video showed an option for advanced editing plugins that could be added directly to the app - I hope that hasn't been replaced by just a link to Picsart/Photoshop etc.

    • bettyblue

      I have had the photos app pull every possible image under my user profile. Things from word documents. Graphics from games usually icon thumbnails grimy my user profile under the games folder.

      It is a train wreck of an app. I fear this is a fresh coat of paint over the warts, just like Windows 11

  2. Username

    Why would anyone bother with this when there’s IrfanView and dozen other better freebies?

    • codymesh

      not everyone is into a program that looks like it's stuck in the 90's

      • zeromus2003

        I HIGHLY recommend Image Glass as it is modern and works amazing. Plus you can customize the heck out of it. Looks very clean and fast!

  3. red.radar

    I don't think I would trust a Microsoft solution with my photos. They are constantly changing things and you need the platform to be stable to maintain the database with the metadata. Unless I am mistaken and they keep the metadata localized to Photo so the data can migrate.

    Of Course I am old fashion... I still manage files in a directory structure organized by time. Feature limiting no doubt... but easy to migrate, backup and make sure it doesn't get held hostage by a platform provider.

    • igor engelen

      I can't speak for the Photos App but I take all my photos with my iPhone and they are uploaded to both iCloud and OneDrive. Never had any issues with it.

      That said, I don't do anything more complicated than creating albums per vacation/occasion.

      • red.radar

        I thought more deeply why I am luddite and I remembered its because my library is rather large. I digitized my wife's and my parents film stash and of course I have my many years of digital photos. My library has grown well north of 1TB that most cloud services will hold uncompressed and I have no need to keep on demand access to this data at a monthly premium.

        In fairness I never taken the time to trim the library of candids and duplicates. So I could get it compressed down somewhat. Maybe a good photo tool that doesn't highjack my photos like Apple's solution with some machine learning would be very beneficial.

        There is also the videos issue. Lot of unorganized video of moments that needs organized and trimmed. I do have need for a good tool, but I want to maintain control and organization of the files.

        • lvthunder

          Seems like a candidate for Lightroom Classic if you are going to put in the time to actually do anything with those photos/videos.

    • zeromus2003

      Look into ImageGlass. Its modern and fast. So much better than crash-prone Microsoft Photos App.

  4. BruceR

    "... finally ..."

    After a week?

  5. winner

    Hopefully an improvement.

  6. hrlngrv

    I use Linux at least as often as Windows, and I'm used to using XnView MP under both. I'm not willing to use any Windows-exclusive software unless it's A LOT BETTER than multi-OS alternatives. Certainly the old Photos app wasn't.

  7. rm

    My bet is that Windows Insiders are not trying to test Windows 11 very much. Everyone thought it was just a visual change at the beginning. But it is not, Microsoft is changing a lot of background task priorities for both the OS and apps. There will be some apps and issues with the OS that turn up after release because of lack of testing and how quickly this version is coming together.