Slack's desktop app gets much faster, works better with spotty connections

What you need to know

  • Slack's next desktop update is focused purely on speed and making the app less frustrating to use with a spotty connection.
  • The update makes Slack load up to 33 percent faster, cuts its memory usage in half, and will allow you to look over previously viewed conversations even when disconnected from the internet.
  • Look for this update to start rolling out across desktop PCs "over the next few weeks."

Your Slack experience on desktop PCs is about to get a whole lot snappier. The company announced today that its next update, rolling out gradually "over the coming weeks," brings several speed improvements to the app, cuts its memory usage in half, and makes working with a spotty internet connection much less frustrating.

The biggest speed improvements come in the form of a faster startup experience and quicker call connections. Slack says that the update will make the desktop app load up to 33 percent faster while making calls connect ten times faster. In addition, Slack will use up to 50 percent less memory than it did prior to the update. The overall result should be a more responsive Slack experience on desktop PCs if Slack's figures translate as expected.

The final major tweak coming in this update is the ability to still view channels and conversations that you've previously viewed, even when your connection drops out. "Gone are the connection error messages that bring work to a standstill," Slack says in a blog post announcing the changes. "Instead, you'll be able to look back on messages from your session, even if your signal drops in and out."

There are a few more notable improvements tagging along in this update as well. Here's a look at the full release notes:

  • Limited offline support — set your status, star items, and react to messages when you don't have an internet connection
  • Less memory usage, better performance
  • Faster loading times
  • Improved Slack calls
  • Click the new paperclip icon in the message field to add attachments
  • A redesigned autocomplete menu for @mentions and slash commands
  • No more loading messages – Slack loads too quickly for them to be readable
  • Unread message activity displays as a dot on the top-right of your workspace icon
  • Member profiles have a bigger profile image and include the option to message or call the individual
  • Drafts sync across Enterprise Grid workspaces

This speedy update comes after Slacks biggest competitor, Microsoft Teams, announced that it now has 13 million daily active users, surpassing the last official figure from Slack. Though Teams is dialing up the heat, Slack remains an incredibly popular tool for businesses and Slack's CEO, Stewart Butterfield, says that he doesn't see Teams as a threat.

This update will roll out gradually in the coming weeks to all desktop Slack users, so you may not see it right away.

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Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl