Windows 11 2023 Update (23H2) release date and feature news
Microsoft has already added many new features to Windows 11 since its initial release in late 2021, and it looks like more are on the way in 2023.
Many new features were added in the September 22H2 update, before File Explorer tabs finally arrived in a later October 2022 update.
It looks like this will be the way to go for Windows 11 – frequent, smaller updates rather than one big one every year. Here’s everything you need to know.
When will Windows 11 Update 23H2 be released?
With the introduction of Windows 11, Microsoft announced that it was moving to annual feature updates. The 22H2 update is out now, so you could be forgiven for thinking we’ll get a 23H2 update in late 2023 – potentially September or October.
However, a Windows Central article from July 2022 suggested that it could be replaced by several “Moments” – new feature-laden updates that are released every few months. If this turns out to be true, the features originally announced for the 23H2 update would be released gradually throughout 2023 instead.
But that doesn’t mean that Microsoft is completely removing the 23H2 update. A later Windows Central article from December 2022 suggests that the company still plans to release the update – likely in September or October 2023.
However, author Zac Bowden doesn’t think it will be a “major platform release.” But while that’s probably the case, you shouldn’t ditch the 23H2 update entirely. This is something a recent Windows article from November 2022 also alludes to.
At least two new Snapshots are expected by then, but a third may be renamed Update 23H2 instead.
But whenever an important update arrives, you probably won’t be able to install it right away. Microsoft always tends to reduce availability in order to manage demand, with new devices taking priority. However, it does not take as long as the initial deployment of Windows 11.
For early access, you can always join the Windows Insider Program and try out new features before they’re released to the public. However, note that not all Dev Channel features make it into the final builds. The Beta Channel offers a good balance for most people, but it’s still not recommended on your primary device.
Will all existing Windows 11 devices be compatible with version 23H2?
Probably yes. Microsoft has introduced sweeping new hardware requirements for Windows 11 in the name of security, leaving many older devices unable to upgrade.
There’s no indication this will happen again anytime soon, unless Microsoft surprises us with the release of Windows 12 ahead of its currently announced 2024 release date.
A more likely scenario is that some older devices will be phased out at this point, rather than in 2023.
What new features will be available in the 23H2 update?
The 23H2 update isn’t expected for several months, but we already have an idea of what to expect.
As Windows Latest reported, a March 2022 Microsoft webcast includes a PowerPoint file named “SV3 Refined Investments Next Steps.” Many people have taken this to mean Sun Valley 3, the expected internal codename for the 23H2 release.
Considering the original version of Windows 11 was simply known as “Sun Valley”, this seems like a logical conclusion. However, no one can guess what “refined investments” really means. These may be more subtle tweaks rather than a big overhaul, but it was still likely.
Indeed, a later Windows Latest article from June 2022 suggests that Microsoft has “confirmed” that the 2023 feature update will be SV3 (Sun Valley 3). This is based on recent updates to the Windows Insider Program dev channel, which reference both “SV3” and “copper”, another expected internal codename. Evidence of the 22H2 update has been available in early builds for some time, so it makes sense that it’s the 2023 equivalent.
However, in an April 2022 video, Zac Bowden and Daniel Rubino of Windows Central discuss what the 23H2 update might entail. Despite the big caveat that all of this could change, there are some useful things to know – both are reliable journalists with a solid background for Windows news.
Although Windows 10’s dedicated tablet mode was dropped for Windows 11, Microsoft continues to make the operating system more suitable for touch input. Bowden predicts there will be more to come, with the possibility that a distinct tablet user interface (UI) will be reintroduced in the 23H2 release. Windows Latest’s Mayank Parmar agrees, suggesting a tablet-friendly taskbar could arrive in 2023.
Elsewhere, Bowden thinks the update will further improve the way Windows communicates with Android. Microsoft recently renamed the Your Phone companion app to “Phone Link”, redesigning it in the process. With the Surface Duo 3 also likely in 2023, that makes a lot of sense.
Bowden also thinks that 23H2 could be when we finally see a system-wide dark mode. This was originally planned for the first release of Windows 11 in 2021, but there’s no indication it’s coming this year either.
Later in the video, Rubino suggests that 2023 will be a big year for foldables running Windows 11. That might not include a Surface Duo portrait, but Microsoft will want to optimize the OS for a variety of different form factors.
A separate Windows Latest article discusses another potential feature of 23H2. As Microsoft subtly revealed at its April 2022 event, the option for app folders on the Windows 11 desktop appears to be on the way. With no rumors suggesting it’s coming in the 22H2 update, it might be something we’ll have to wait until 2023.
Of course, a later Windows Central article suggests these features will be delivered throughout 2023 rather than all at once in the 2023 update. But no other specific features were revealed at the same time.
Longer term, it looks like we could get Windows 12 as soon as 2024.
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