Microsoft is known for its all-encompassing tablet-centric touch screen interface with Windows 8The company has spent pretty much all major Windows releases since then slowly backing away from that decision. This decline reached its climax Windows 11which completely removed the last remnants of tablet mode that survived in Windows 10.
But the last two Windows 11 Insider Preview builds have enhanced the touchscreen capabilities of Windows 11. The version was released to Dev channel users last week It included new gestures, changes to how snap windows work when in tablet mode, and a few other improvements. And the New build released today Complete taskbar overhaul for touch screens.
Windows 11 in its current form adds more space between icons when using your device as a tablet, but the new preview goes further. When using apps, the taskbar will shrink into a narrow strip across the bottom of the screen: it’s still tall enough to show your clock, network, sound, and battery status icons, but all installed apps and other system tray icons are hidden. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen or closing an app window brings up a new, larger version of the taskbar with larger, more finger-friendly icons and spaces. The taskbar disappears again once you launch your app.
If you want to try these features out for yourself, you’ll need to use touchscreen devices — Windows 11 still doesn’t have a dedicated tablet mode toggle like Windows 10 did. Instead, the operating system relies on signals from your hardware to enable and disable user interface tweaks. Tablet-focused. You should see the new taskbar automatically if you use Surface In tablet mode, for example, or if you flip the hinge on a convertible yoga-style laptop.
List image by Andrew Cunningham