Windows 11 Start menu laptop staged
First look

Windows 11 to get new Taskbar optimized for tablets

Microsoft is building a new Taskbar for Windows 11 that automatically shrinks in tablet mode.

  • Windows 11 will get a new Taskbar designed for the touch-enabled device.
  • The Taskbar offers two states, including collated and expanded.
  • These states will give you more space while providing quick access to your apps and features

Microsoft is working on a new touch-friendly Taskbar design for future updates of Windows 11. The design is expected to be available for tablets and 2-in-1 devices, and it offers two states (collapsed and expanded) to give you more screen space while providing quick access to your apps and features.

The “collapsed” state offers a minimal version of the Taskbar that hides all the icons except those essential elements from the system tray, including time, battery, volume, and network. The Taskbar in this state gives you more space and prevents you from accidentally invoking actions when holding a tablet. Also, it includes a gripper to make it evident that you can swipe up to bring up the “expanded” state.

Taskbar collapsed
Taskbar collapsed (Source: Microsoft)

The “expanded” state provides the regular Taskbar experience but is optimized for touch-enabled devices with bigger icons.

Taskbar expanded
Taskbar expanded (Source: Microsoft)

You can easily switch between the two states by swiping up and down on the bottom of your device.

The Taskbar optimized for tablets isn’t entirely new. Microsoft was already working on a similar design for Windows 10X. However, when the company canceled the operating system variant, it said that many of the features would eventually come to Windows 11, as we have seen with the Start menu, Quick Settings flyout, and other features.

Windows 10X Start menu
Windows 10X Start menu

On Windows 11, the new Taskbar is only available on tablets and other touch-enabled devices, but it’s not available on laptops or desktop computers.

If you prefer the traditional experience, you can disable the new Taskbar from Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar behaviors and turn off the “Automatically hide the taskbar when using your device as tablet” setting.

Since features in the Dev Channel are experimental and not tied to any specific version of Windows 11, it’s unclear when or if this feature will ever roll out in the stable channel.

The touch-friendly Taskbar has been available since the release of build 22563, which also includes other improvements for the Widgets dashboard, Windows Update notifications, and more.