Microsoft is making it easier to add photos from your phone to File Explorer on Windows 11

Windows Update
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What you need to know

  • Microsoft is rolling out a new Windows 11 preview build for Insiders in the Dev Channel.
  • Today's build is 23471 and features the ability to sync your phone's photos in File Explorer.
  • The build also includes other quality of life improvements.

Microsoft is back with a new Windows 11 preview build for us to get our hands on. Today's build is 23471 and features a new feature in the File Explorer app that's designed to make it easy to sync the photos on your phone with File Explorer's new Gallery feature, which is also in testing with this build.

The ability to easily add photos from your phone to the File Explorer Gallery arrives in the form of a button that appears in the command bar titled "Add Phone Photos." Clicking on it will guide the user through setting up syncing between your phone and the Gallery view to view your phone's photos there.

File Explorer is also gaining the ability to tear out tabs into their own window, something that was shockingly missing when tabs in File Explorer first launched. Elsewhere in the build, Microsoft is updated the network flyout menu on the lock screen to be more in-line with Windows 11's design language, which is always nice to see. 

You can check out the full changelog for today's Dev Channel build below.

Windows 11 build 23471 changelog

Windows 11 photo sync in File Explorer

(Image credit: Microsoft)
  • Accessing your phone’s camera roll from your PC is an important everyday task that is now easier with File Explorer Gallery. There is a new button in the Command Bar titled “Add Phone Photos” that will help with setting up your PC to be ready to show these photos in Gallery. Clicking this button today will open a URL with a QR code that you can scan with your phone to get started.
  • We are introducing new natural voices in Spanish (Spain and Mexico) that allow Narrator users to comfortably browse the web, read, and write mail, and do more. Natural Narrator voices use modern, on-device text to speech and once downloaded are supported without an internet connection.
  • We have updated the network flyout on the Lock screen to align with Windows 11 design principles.
  • We are beginning to roll out the ability to tear out and merge tabs in File Explorer. This feature is beginning to roll out, so not all Insiders in the Dev Channel will see it right away.
  • Gallery in File Explorer, which began rolling out with Build 23435, is now available for all Insiders in the Dev Channel.
  • It is easier to control whether to use cellular when Wi-Fi is available but poor, using a new toggle which has been added to Settings > Network & Internet > Cellular.
  • Fixed an issue where pressing Shift + F10 wasn’t opening the context menu in File Explorer.
  • Fixed an issue where access keys appeared inconsistently if no button was pressed.
  • Fixed an issue that was causing explorer.exe to crash when opening the context menu for some Insiders. This same issue is believed to be the cause of some Insiders seeing an older design instead of the updated one.
  • Fixed an explorer.exe crash in the last flight related to loading/interacting with the scrollbar in Gallery.
  • Fixed an issue where Gallery may require clicking twice on the node in the navigation pane for initial load.
  • Fixed an issue where minimizing and reopening File Explorer would lose your scroll position in Gallery.
  • Hovering your mouse over pictures in Gallery should now show a tooltip with information about the picture.
  • Live updates (including filtering) are now enabled and no longer require using the Refresh button manually.
  • Fixed an issue where some file types (e.g., .heic) were not rendered correctly or performantly.
  • Made the background for thumbnails a little lighter in light mode so it doesn’t stand out as much.
  • If you have Narrator running when you open the details pane, it should now announce the file name.
  • If the setting to show file name extensions has been enabled, that will now be reflected in the details pane too.
  • Fixed an issue that was causing the taskbar to get cut off when switching to and from the tablet-optimized taskbar.
  • We have fixed the issue causing Insiders to see an empty tooltip displayed momentarily in certain cases including while the gleam is hovered if the new hover behavior for the search box and search highlight gleam is enabled.
  • Fixed an issue where Narrator with Braille support wasn’t reading numbered lists correctly in Microsoft 365 apps.
Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads