Skype Insiders just got a big feature for the Surface Duo

Surface Duo Hero 2020
Surface Duo Hero 2020 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Skype Insider Preview was just updated to support split windows on Android.
  • The update also adds support for animated backgrounds on calls.
  • Skype on iOS also gained support for sharing files from chats in its latest preview build.

Microsoft just rolled out an update for Skype Insiders that brings several new features. It adds support for split windows on Android and lets iOS users share files from chats. The update brings Skype Insider Preview to build Split window support should enhance the experience on devices like the Surface Duo.

Skype Insiders can also use animated videos as backgrounds now. The feature supports GIFs, allowing people to add more personal flair to video calls.

Here's the full changelog from Microsoft:

  • Animated background for video calls! Just select GIF from local files and enjoy your new background.
  • Customized Call Reactions – choose your personal set of reactions.
  • Split Window on Android – because we want to improve your user experience for desktop-like environments. Supporting Surface Duo, Samsung DeX and most of the Chromebooks.
  • Files sharing from chat in Skype for iOS.

An experienced powered by Microsoft Teams may be the new default chat app for Windows 11, but Skype is still used by millions of people. The features currently in testing among Insiders should help deliver a better experience across devices.

Skype Insider builds roll out gradually, so you might not see this update for a few days. You can sign up to be a Skype Insider for Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, Linux, and the web.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at (opens in new tab).

  • So, is skype or teams the messaging platform of the future for MS? lol
  • Odd that they still have an Insider program ...much less that there is activity. But glad to see new features for Duo. Improving the software experience on the Duo is the biggest room for improvement so hopefully these new features will highlight that gap and spur more developers, even inside Microsoft themselves, to step up their game.
  • I have a feeling these features were already being worked on by the Skype development team, while Microsoft as a whole is preparing for the full Teams default on Windows 11. That doesn't come out till later in the year, so the pending Skype updates can still go through.
  • 'on devices like the Surface Duo.' There are others?
  • IIRC there was another split-screen phone. Also, being a Surface, they want to encourage more OEMs to make similar devices.
  • So will Skype eventually merge with Teams or not? I'd expect to sign in to my Teams/Chat app and see all my Skype contacts and be able to communicate with them via their Skype client.
  • I hope so. About a year ago (maybe more), they "added" the ability to connect with Skype users from Teams and vice-versa, but it never worked for me. I tried various tenant configurations and Skype/MS accounts and had a 0% connection rate across all combinations. I suspect it did work for some users, but I have no idea what that rare scenario would have been. It seems that would be the logical model and would have best leveraged the brands: Skype for individual users to connect to anyone, Teams for teams to collaborate and communicate, and then have Teams and Skype play nice with each other. I can only assume that there were technical problems bridging the Skype and Teams back-ends that made this more difficult than it sounds.
  • Ha, people still use Skype? Welp, good to see Microsoft's "other" messaging platform get Duo support. Been using Teams on Duo satisfactorily.