Windows 11 could bring 'Wake on Touch' feature to new PCs and Surfaces

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

What you need to know

  • A leaked build of Windows 11 is currently revealing many new features coming to PCs.
  • One hidden setting found is Wake on Touch.
  • The feature presumably lets you wake a PC from sleep simply by touching the display.
  • Existing hardware is unlikely to support a feature, suggesting new Surface hardware this fall could be the first to feature it.

With an early build of Windows 11 making the rounds, there are lots of little things being discovered about the yet-to-be-announced OS. While this leaked version is incomplete compared to what will be revealed on June 24, it does contain a few things that hint at future hardware.

One of those is Wake on Touch, which, as the name implies, wakes the PC up from standby simply by touching the display. The feature is reminiscent of smartphones with double-tap to wake to check notifications or even the time quickly. Wake on Touch here likely works with capacitive displays, meaning when a human finger completes "the circuit," it will wake (versus solid objects like a keyboard).

Windows 11 Wakeontouch Hidden

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

The settings for Wake on Touch were found by @thebookisclosed. Unfortunately, the actual settings are hidden on the current leaked build of Windows 11, but it does show up when you type 'wake on touch' in Windows search.

Wake on Touch could be a new feature coming to future Surface hardware later this year.

Presumably, such a feature would require new hardware to enable as it is not something we have ever seen in a touch-enabled PC or Windows tablet 2-in-1 device. The screen likely requires new components that let the screen activate on contact while also not significantly impacting the battery.

Of course, you're probably already drawing the same conclusion as me – this could be something Microsoft is building out for future Surface hardware, including possibly a Surface Pro 8 or even Surface Neo (which is still kicking around).

Microsoft has not given any details about new Surface hardware, and we do not expect any news on June 24 either. Instead, an announcement later in October – right as Windows 11 is launching – seems much more likely. Rumors have swirled that a Surface Pro 8 could be the first significant revision to the hardware since 2015's Surface Pro 4. Improving the display and adding new interaction features like Wake on Touch could make sense for such a device.

For now, we'll have to wait and see what Microsoft reveals on June 24. Then, all eyes will be on October for new Windows 11 hardware.

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

24 Comments
  • Be nice if the Surface Duo had that.
  • They could do that now.
  • I never really get the big deal of this. It's really much different pressing a button?
  • I think it's about user expectations as this is how phones work these days. Microsoft wants Windows 11/PCs to be extensions of our phones, so it makes some sense that this feature would exist.
  • God I can't live without "Tap to Wake" on Android, I've literally been using this since Galaxy S3 or something and would not even consider buying an Android phone or a tablet without this feature. If this feature coming to 2-in-1 Windows laptops, I'm all for it.
  • @AngelsAdvocate as far I can recall the only exception is Iphone until recently, both Android and Windows Phone have had tap to wake for awhile. Probably Meego and PalmOS too but I don't have much experience with either of those.
  • I'm a heavy tablet user and yes, for some reason it really is a big deal.
  • I found it was very useful prior to things like fingerprint access. I never use tap to wake now that all I have to do is basically hold my phone and the screen turns on.
  • @Sin Ogaris Yup, using the fingerprinter reader to turn the phone is handy. Wish we could use the same reader to lock the phone aswell lol.
  • Indeed, waking the PC with a mouse movement or pressing a key is so easy
  • I set sleep to never and only turn off the screen. That wakes from touch.
  • I do the same when I'm using my Surface in certain situations. Works great. But this new feature would mean it'll be sleeping properly then waking from sleep with a tap.
  • Android phones already have double-tap to wake and that doesn't use extra battery. It's a great feature coupled with face recognition or Bluetooth smartwatch-based unlocking. There's no reason why it couldn't be implemented on Surfaces because the touch layer hardware is the same.
  • So just “phones” have this feature. Cause my iPhone does this, and my old Nokia lumia 930 did too haha.
  • Yes but I seem to recall reading something about Intel chips + Windows having issues with tablet- or phone-like sleep. I don't recall if old WoA devices could sleep like modern mobile devices. But in any case mobile device-style sleep would be great for Surface-like devices, and wake-on-touch is just one benefit.
  • I'm going to hope this means that they release Surface Neo in October with Windows 11, even though I know they probably won't.
  • I think you probably right but it call window 11x
  • Okay, I see the appeal on a naked tablet I guess, but with the WoA and 11th Gen system anytime you open a notebook or Surface it is instantly on. Much like the Duo, cool, but not really needed most of the time
  • I think it's for people who leave their laptop/Surface open on a desk. Likely a cheaper alternative to Human Presence Detection systems, which require more sensors.
  • No It's a feature nobody needs nowadays. It's a thing most users will not even Acknowledge as something unique
  • This is interesting are they doing. Windows 11 mobile ????
  • @KJW23 😶 ...you... should um... 🤫😬
  • There adding Android apps to the Microsoft store. Who really knows
  • Open the lid of your laptop and the operating system is turned on. Close the lid of the laptop and shut the operating system. It's not Hibernate or sleep mode.