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Windows 11 seems set to support third-party widgets soon

Windows 11 Widgets
Windows 11 Widgets (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • More evidence has emerged that indicates Windows 11 will soon support third-party widgets.
  • Previous leaks and reports already claimed that third-party widgets were on the way to Microsoft's OS.
  • Now, a screenshot of alleged code from the Widget manifest that mentions downloading Widgets through the Microsoft Store has been shared online.

Microsoft appears to be making preparations to support third-party widgets on Windows 11. A screenshot of alleged code from the Widget manifest that mentions downloading new widgets through the Microsoft Store was recently shared by Twitter user FireCube.

"Widget manifest update shows more evidence of being able to download third party widgets and updates from the Microsoft Store," stated the tweet.

Source: FireCube via Twitter (Image credit: Source: FireCube via Twitter)

We've known that support for third-party widgets was on the way to Windows 11 for quite some time. Our senior editor Zac Bowden discussed the feature in his piece covering what to expect from Surface and Windows in 2022.

"Microsoft is also expected to expand the Widgets panel with new features and support for third-party widgets," said Bowden in December 2021. "I'm told some developers have already been briefed on how third-party widgets will work."

Assuming plans have not changed, users will be able to download widgets through the Microsoft Store. Unpackaged apps from outside of the store should be able to have widgets as well.

The newly spotted code aligns with previous reports as well as separate leaks from earlier this year.

Windows 11 Widgets Fullscreen

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

While Microsoft did not show any third-party widgets during its recent Windows 11 event, the company did provide a glimpse of a fullscreen Widgets Panel. That expanded panel was initially announced in June 2021 but has not shipped at this point, even in preview form. Microsoft also showed the ability to sign into the Widgets Panel with both work and personal accounts.

It's clear that Microsoft has plans for widgets on Windows 11. The company will potentially share more details at Build 2022, which will run from May 24-26.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

8 Comments
  • This seems clunky to me. Why not have widgets associated with apps? Install the app, and the widget becomes available. Click on the widget and it launches the app. I suppose this means they absolutely don't want to associate widgets with apps. But as a user, I don't get the choice at all. Weather and news, mail, to-do, calendar, financials... these all naturally point to apps. Maybe the future web-based Outlook app will be among the first to be tightly associated with a widget?
  • Tbh not sure either, making the experience feels disjoint overall. Though I guess maybe because the API for it wasn't fully ready? And maybe the Widgets we have now is just a place holder for a proper one that will be used for 3rd-party ones? Who knows since Microsoft is still not communicating about the real plans for this. They won't commit since there will be a chance that their plans will change by the looks of it. But I think it must have to open the app, since that is the expected behaviour. Similar to other OS like Android and iOS/iPadOS, tapping Widgets will open the associated apps, not a web page unless it is meant to. Maybe because they are waiting for proper update to MSN apps? Which were left untouched since Windows 10. But the current Widget system for me is just nearly useless. It felt like it failed to cater for the ones used Live Tiles in the past and also into Widgets overall l.
  • "But the current Widget system for me is just nearly useless. It felt like it failed to cater for the ones used Live Tiles in the past and also into Widgets overall" Yeah that's where I am. It would help if the Windows team gave us some of what central bankers call "forward guidance" if to anyone at least to developers.
  • I believe a more important question is if third-parties are interested in creating widgets for Win11, the same interest they have regarding modify apps to use a new context menu. Is not fun mantaining code and parts of applications based on frameworks that historically MS tends to quickly deprecate. What if these widgets, context menu and UI design don't survive until Win12.
  • Just have Live Tiles. There you go.
  • Live tiles aren't interactive though.
  • I just want a way to turn off the News section. Pretty please?
  • I hate when I accidentally make the widgets side flyout menu flyout because I know it will trigger telemetry and I will be counted as a user of widget. It is the worst feature of windows. Completely useless with hard coded widgets that are just advertisement to other Microsoft Services.