Microsoft Surface Duo 2 update lets you customize Surface Slim Pen's buttons, improves touch, and more

Surface Duo 2 Paired Apps Security
Surface Duo 2 Paired Apps Security (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft's Surface Duo 2 is receiving its January 2022 update.
  • The update is 559 MB and brings the build number to 2021.1116.111.
  • The update brings many fixes, camera improvements, touch responsiveness, and more.
  • Those with the Surface Slim Pen 2 can also customize the button to launch specific apps and take a screenshot with one click.

The Microsoft Surface Duo 2 last had a significant update back in early December, but now the expected January update is rolling out and it's a big one.

The update, which is now available for all Surface Duo 2, brings with it bug fixes, optimizations to the touch driver, January security update, and more.

Here is the full changelog:

  • Enabled pen shortcut preferences in settings for Surface Slim Pen 2. It requires Surface Slim Pen 2 to be paired with Surface Duo 2.
  • With the Your Phone app, you can use Android apps on your PC. For more information on using Surface Duo with your PC see Link Surface Duo to your PC.
  • Addresses scenarios outlined in the Android Security Bulletin—January 2022.
  • Improves camera usability of night mode, 4k video recording, and auto focus.
  • Improves charging reliability with 3rd party chargers.
  • Improves system reliability and stability.
  • Improves touch responsiveness.

In addition to fixing a few things, Microsoft is also adding some new abilities, including configuring the Surface Slim Pen 2 to align with how it behaves on Windows devices. Specifically, users can configure the pen's Bluetooth button for single-click, double-click, and press-and-hold to launch specific apps or even take a screenshot. This feature improves upon the December update, allowing that button to default to opening OneNote.

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Another new feature is "Apps" in Microsoft's Your Phone PC application. Previously, Surface Duo 2 users only had access to "Phone screen," which streamed the Duo's display to your PC. With this update, users can now launch Android apps individually (and multiple instances), giving a more native experience. Previously, this feature was only available on Samsung smartphones.

One of the fixes we can confirm is the ability to automatically open links on the opposite display (when not occupied). While this feature was built into Surface Duo on Android 10, it was lost going to Android 11, and Microsoft has now fixed it, making multitasking much more natural again.

To grab the update on Surface Duo 2, follow these instructions:

  1. Connect to a Wi-Fi network.
  2. Select Settings on your Surface Duo 2's home screen.
  3. Select System.
  4. Select System Update.
  5. Select Check for update.
  6. Select Restart now.

The update is 559 MB, so it may take time to download depending on your current internet speeds.

See the above video for a walkthrough of the new features.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.