Windows 11: Redesigned native apps are now available to more users

The first big Windows update of the year was all about the Windows 11 Update app. Microsoft is rolling out the new Notepad app, Windows Media Player, and a new image editor experience for the Photos app to more users.

While the new Notepad is currently only available to beta channel users, the Photos app and Media Player are now available to everyone. Windows 11 is all about design improvements, and Microsoft has been working hard to make its native apps match the new look and feel.

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At the launch of Windows 11, some apps felt out of place, like Notepad and Groove Music. In response, the company is now trying to update the apps with a new unified design to make them look similar.

This week, Microsoft made the Notepad app available to users in a beta channel, which means it can now be installed on Windows 11 Build 22000 or newer. Notepad, still the go-to app for most users, will get support for dark mode, redesigned menus, and a dedicated settings page.

The update to Windows Notepad retains the familiar design, but also adds elements of WinUI and fluid design. For example, Notepad now uses rounded corners for right-click context menus, top-level windows, menus, pop-up notifications, finder tools, and more.

Additionally, Microsoft has enabled support for new WinUI-based icons and animations. A new settings page lets users change the app’s font and theme. Users will be able to modify built-in settings to allow more file types to be accessed.

After this version, Notepad has become a store-updatable app that has its own page in the Microsoft Store. Currently, Notepad is only available to beta channel users, and it will start rolling out to the public soon.

Photo App

Microsoft’s redesigned Photos app is now available to everyone, and it includes support for new cropping tools, aspect ratio options, and more. Plus, users can easily customize photos, adjust lighting, and use new tagging options.

The crop tool now opens inside the image preview screen, and thanks to a new column at the bottom, users can also browse between multiple images without having to switch between images.

Groove Music is now Windows Media Player

For users outside the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft is replacing Groove Music with Windows Media Player. The redesigned Media Player is based on Groove Music, and it also lets users play videos including MKV and MP4.

This is the most significant update to Groove Music in years, similar to the Notepad update on Windows 11. However, don’t expect major changes in overall performance and supported video formats. This is because Windows Media Player is developed based on the concept of Groove and Movies & TV applications, so it is not ready to replace powerful media players like VLC and MPV.

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