Starting in 2023, Windows 11 will require new laptops to have a front webcam

Hp Envy X360 13 Amd 2020 Camera
Hp Envy X360 13 Amd 2020 Camera (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 was formally announced by Microsoft.
  • As part of the news rush, it was revealed that new Windows 11 laptops will be required to have a front webcam starting in 2023.
  • Forward-facing cameras will be mandatory, while rear-facing will be optional.
  • The requirement does not apply to desktop PCs.

In two years from now, your Windows 11-equipped laptop will have a camera on it. That's not a prediction, that's a fact — because Microsoft is demanding it. As part of the rush of news surrounding its new operating system, Microsoft has declared that starting January 1, 2023, all NEW laptops running on Windows 11 will need to have a front-facing camera.

For those concerned with privacy, this means a trip to the office supply store to grab more tape with which to cover up the pesky little lenses. And for those who've fully immersed themselves in the world of remote work, this means an end to the days of fearing a laptop will have a bad camera, or worse, no camera.

The way this new policy influences the quality of cameras is found in Microsoft's camera requirements. Not only does the company demand that laptops have cameras, but it expects them to:

  • Have a resolution of High-Definition (HD) or better
  • Auto Exposure (AE)
  • Auto White Balance (AWB)

This means the days of sub-HD cameras are numbered. With a massive company like Microsoft demanding an end to objectively outdated and substandard cameras, it's only a matter of time before such inferior products cease to exist. On the flip side, it's also just a matter of time before privacy-minded individuals have one less source of security. In a world where every single machine has a camera, eyes will be everywhere, and all the Big Brothers of technology will be watching.

Of course, this requirement only applies to new laptops being sold by OEMs in 2023, not your existing one.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to