Feature update

Windows 11 is getting Android apps and Taskbar changes in February 2022

Microsoft is preparing a small feature update for Windows 11 in February, and here's all you need to know.

Windows 11 February 2022 update
  • Windows 11 to get a minor feature update in February.
  • The update will bring Android app support, Taskbar changes, and other improvements.
  • The rollout will also make available the new Notepad and Media Player apps with dark mode support.

Windows 11 will receive new features and visual changes outside its major feature update schedule in February 2022. In a recent article, Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer for Windows and Devices, announced that the company is planning to roll out several improvements that the development teams have already been testing in the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider Program.

According to the announcement, during the February 2022 update, Windows 11 is expected to receive a preview of the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) and Amazon Appstore to support Android apps. In addition, the update will bring the redesigned Media Player and Notepad apps. Furthermore, Microsoft is also planning to ship some improvements for the Taskbar.

WSA install on Windows 11
WSA install on Windows 11

As part of the Android apps support, users will be able to download the first preview of the WSA that creates a virtualized environment for Android apps. However, since the Google Play Services isn’t supported, only apps from the Amazon Appstore will be supported.

The Notepad update brings a new design that matches the style of Windows 11 with rounded corners, mica material, and dark mode support.

Notepad find and replace

The new version of the Media Player app will introduce a new design rounded corners, mica material, and support for the dark and light color system modes. The app is very basic with audio and video playback support, and it will replace the Groove Music app. You can also create playlists, and there’s support for album art and artist information. In addition, the app will automatically scan and add all your folders containing music and videos stored locally on your computer.

Windows 11 Media Player
Windows 11 Media Player

In addition, the update will bring some visual changes to the Taskbar, including a new microphone icon in the system tray to mute and unmute calls, a clock in secondary monitors, and a new sharing option to share windows in video calls. Also, the February update will include an updated Widgets icon with weather information on the left side of the Taskbar when the rest of the icons are centered. However, the update won’t address some of the complaints from users, including drag and drop, and the ability to resize or change the position of the Taskbar.

Windows 11 mute and unmute button
Windows 11 mute and unmute button

If this new feature update coincides with the February Patch Tuesday release, the rollout will also include an updated version of the Settings app with the new “Your Microsoft Account” page in the Accounts settings category to view your Microsoft account information. In addition, the page will offer details about your Microsoft 365 subscription, order history, payment details, and Microsoft Rewards.

Your Microsoft Account
Your Microsoft Account

Furthermore, the update will also add a new feature known as “Help with” that uses Bing to suggest help topics in the Settings app and improvements to the auto-brightness control in low light conditions.

Although Windows 11 will be getting new features and visual changes, this won’t be a new feature update like those the system receives every year. Instead, the new features will be part of a small update that won’t require reinstallation, and it will apply as a cumulative update. Also, apps like Notepad, Media Player, and the Windows Subsystem for Android will available through the Microsoft Store.

Update January 26, 2022: While support for Android apps will be available in the next feature update coming in February, Microsoft is making the platform available in the Release Preview Channel today. You can refer to these instructions to install it on your computer.