Windows 12 mockup logo

Windows 12 desktop design may look more like macOS

Microsoft may be planning to bring some macOS design updates to the desktop on Windows 12.

  • Microsoft could be working on a desktop experience similar to macOS for Windows 12.
  • The new desktop design appears with a floating Taskbar and top bar with System Tray elements.
  • This is the second time these new macOS-like visuals have appeared online.

Although Windows 12 hasn’t been officially announced, details about the new features and changes have started circulating online. And a recently leaked video that demos the concept of a new “Handheld Mode” interface for gaming devices shows an updated desktop that borrows some visuals from macOS.

According to the video demonstration, Microsoft might be working on a desktop experience with a floating Taskbar to access the Start menu and apps at the bottom of the screen with the same iconography available on Windows 11 but with a design similar to one Dock for macOS.

Windows 11 floating Taskbar
Windows 12 floating Taskbar / Image: @_h0x0d_

Also, the desktop may get a new transparent bar at the top showing the System Tray icons and a clock at the right next to a profile menu, and a search box in the middle (a similar design that is also found in the menu bar for macOS).

According to the screenshots shown in the video, the search box may only appear when applicable. In addition, since the System Tray could be moved to the top bar, you will no longer see the clock in the traditional Taskbar.

Windows 12 top bar / Image: @_h0x0d_
Windows 12 top bar / Image: @_h0x0d_

One thing that’s important to point out is that it appears that the desktop design could only be available for touch-enabled devices and not for the traditional experience.

As you can see, the screenshot shows a “swipe up” gesture that reveals the Taskbar, while in the traditional desktop using the mouse and keyboard, the Taskbar remains identical to the one on Windows 11 if we’re to believe that the screenshots come from the same build.

Handheld Mode settings
Handheld Mode settings / Image: @_h0x0d_

However, during an Ignite Keynote 2022, the company also accidentally showed off the same floating Taskbar design with the top bar. The difference here is that, in this case, the screenshot was taken from a Surface Studio, which is a desktop computer. But since this device also has a touch-enabled display, it’s unclear whether the new desktop design experience targets touch and mouse or touch-only devices.

Windows 12 floating Taskbar
Windows 12 floating Taskbar / Image: Microsoft

Although it’s unclear whether these design improvements could arrive with the release of Windows 12, the screenshots from the leaked video from the hackathon align with the shots revealed during the Ignite Keynote conference, indicating that Microsoft is contemplating making the Windows desktop a little more like macOS.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].