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Installed progressive web apps are about to feel more native on Windows 10

Youtube PWA
Youtube PWA (Image credit: Windows Central)

Updated April 30, 2021: Twitter user Leopeva64 clarified that this feature is available through an optional flag and does not require a Windows Insider build. The post has been updated accordingly.

What you need to know

  • Progressive web apps on Windows 10 will soon gain several installation features.
  • You can now easily check options when installing a progressive web app.
  • The options include pinning to the taskbar, pinning to Start, creating a desktop shortcut, and auto-starting on device login.

Progressive web apps (PWAs) continue to improve on Windows 10. In addition to large organizations such as Instagram and Google adopting PWAs, Microsoft regularly improves what they can do on PCs. An experimental flag on Microsoft Edge adds several new options for installing PWAs.

Once the flag is enabled, people can see options for pinning to the taskbar, pinning to Start, creating a desktop shortcut, and auto-starting on device login. These options make PWAs feel a bit more like normal apps, which is Microsoft's goal.

Twitter user Florian B spotted the functionality and shared a screenshot of the options on Twitter. It has since been brought to our attention that the feature does not require a Windows Insider build and that anyone can enable it through an optional flag.

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Earlier this month, we reported that developers will soon be able to customize the title bars of PWAs. The feature, called Windows Controls Overlay, will be available for testing in Chrome 92, which should come out soon. With the feature, developers will be able to add controls and features, such as a search bar or navigation options within the title bars of PWAs.

Between the new installation options and the ability to add controls to title bars, PWAs should feel much more native within the next few months.

Last year, Microsoft also outlined other ways that it's making PWAs feel more native, including options to set PWAs as default file types, adding native system access, and setting PWAs as a share target.

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

2 Comments
  • Is the new Facebook app for Windows a PWA? Compared with Edge's "Add this site as an app" option, the main difference I see is that the version from the Store always has a white title bar, whereas the one I add from Edge has an easier-on-the-eyes blue title bar. Would this change affect both Store and apps added through Edge or only the latter?
  • "Is the new Facebook app for Windows a PWA? "
    Yes, It installs via Edge.