Microsoft's Photos app in Windows 11 finally gets much-needed love but at the exorbitant cost of slower load times

Windows 11 Photos app
(Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has migrated its Photos app from its UWP (Universal Windows Platform) to Windows App SDK.
  • The new update also adds WebView2 support for improved image rendering quality, additional support for AI-powered features, and more.
  • However, the Photos is seemingly taking longer to launch after the changes.

Microsoft's Photos app has received lots of love lately, including a Copilot plugin designed to help users create slideshows and change the desktop background. The latest update for the app transitions it from Microsoft's UWP (Universal Windows Platform) to Windows App SDK.

The transition brings major changes under the hood and improves the app's user experience on newer operating systems like Windows 11. As spotted by Windows Latest, the new Photos app is limited to Windows Insiders, though it's also shipping out to Windows 11 users running the finished version on their PCs in waves. 

While the new update allows the app to leverage WebView2, the outlet notes it now takes a tad longer to launch. WebView2 support fosters improved image rendering quality, additional support for AI-powered features, and access to an up-to-date version of Chromium with the latest quality-of-life improvements and security updates.

Other notable improvements shipping to the Photos app include its ability to run at a medium integrity level by default. For context, this is the security status assigned to most processes in a Windows PC. Moreover, the update will now allow users to save an edited photo in the same file location as the original photo automatically.

And finally, it's now easier to track the Photos app's processes via the Task Manager. Unlike before, when the app featured multiple processes in the Task Manager, making it a daunting task to force-close it.  

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry at Windows Central. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. You'll also catch him occasionally contributing at iMore about Apple and AI. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.

  • DontBeEvil10
    Good but still not good enough, the editor is still slow and heavy web tech based
  • TheFerrango
    Ew, more webview2 stuff. As if I didn't have enough webkit instances running around