Windows 11 22H2 update release date and new features
Windows 11 22H2 update release date and new features
Windows 11 was first released in October 2021, but Microsoft has been making constant additions and changes to its operating system since then.
The company started adding new features within weeks, before many new features were added in a February 2022 update. But Windows 11 only officially receives one major update per year, reflected in the official name of its latest feature update: simply the “2022 update”, rather than the “22H2” we expected.
It’s been available for a few months, so all Windows 11 devices can install it now. This is not yet necessary for security reasons, but it may not prevent your device from updating automatically. Here’s everything you need to know.
When was Windows 11 22H2 update released?
After much speculation and weeks of testing through the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft has officially released the 2022 update to September 20, 2022. In a blog post, the company confirmed its availability in over 190 countries around the world.
A gradual rollout to all Windows 11 devices was completed soon after, so you should be able to install the 22H2 build if you haven’t already. This isn’t necessary yet, with the 2021 21H2 update supported until October 2023.
However, Microsoft decided in January 2023 that not everyone would have that choice. In a 21H2 support document, the company confirmed that it “will begin automatically updating unmanaged consumer and business devices running Windows 11, version 21H2 Home and Pro editions to Windows 11, version 22H2.
This will rely on automatic updates (which you can turn off) and require a reboot which you can put off indefinitely, but it still seems pointless. It’s worth installing, but that doesn’t mean you should have to.
But you might have already gone further and installed the later October 2022 update. This added several other features, including tabs in File Explorer for the first time.
It’s believed to be the first step in Microsoft’s new “Moment” approach to updates, which will see new features added every few months rather than all at once. According to rumors, we could then see Windows 12 released in 2024.
How to Get Windows 11 22H2 Update Now
The 2022 update is officially available, which means some Windows 11 devices will be able to install it now. To check, just head to Settings > Windows Update and click “Check for updates” as you normally would. You may need to install existing updates before they appear.
But for most people, it won’t be available yet. If you don’t want to wait, an earlier version of the 2022 update is now available through the Windows Insider Program. Anyone with a Windows 11 device can sign up and try new updates before they are officially released.
Simply go to insider.windows.com and sign in with the same Microsoft account you use on your Windows 11 device. Then open Settings > Windows Update > Windows Insider Program and click “Get started”. Follow the instructions here, making sure to link the relevant account and choose the release preview channel to access the 2022 update.
As before, clear all other updates and they should appear. Learn more in our separate article on how to install the update now.
In the future, you may want to switch to beta/dev channels or opt out altogether. Simply click on the drop-down menu next to “Choose your Insider settings” or “Leave the Insider program” and follow the instructions.
Are all Windows 11 devices compatible with the 2022 update?
Yes. Microsoft controversially updated the hardware requirements for Windows 11, excluding a lot of older hardware. There’s no sign of this happening again anytime soon, especially with a feature update.
If you’ve installed Windows 11 on a compatible device using an officially supported method, you’ll eventually get the 2022 update. You might wait a while, but it’s possible to go through the Windows program Insider.
However, the situation is much less clear if you downloaded Windows 11 on a device that is not officially supported by Microsoft. The 2022 update is unlikely to ship to your device, so you’ll need to install it manually through the Microsoft Update Catalog.
What new features does Windows 11 2022 Update include?
Microsoft has been teasing new Windows 11 features throughout 2022, many of which have been made available for testing through the Windows Insider program. But in a blog post announcing the 2022 update, the full lineup was revealed.
Accessibility has long been a priority for Microsoft, and this update aims to make Windows 11 even easier to use. The “pinned” area in the Start menu can now be resized and supports folders, while widgets have supposedly been changed to improve news coverage.
Both of these apps are in the taskbar by default, so they’ll benefit from another key feature: drag-and-drop. This was removed with the introduction of Windows 11 after being a Windows 10 staple, but it’s great to see its return now.
But the most important accessibility feature is Live Captions. As the name suggests, this can automatically generate subtitles from any audio content you play in Windows 11.
The 2022 update adds a preview of voice access, which lets you control your entire device and compose text using just your voice. Narrator, the screen-reading feature in Windows 11, has also been updated with voices designed to sound more natural.
Windows 11’s Snap Layouts multitasking feature has been a real hit, allowing users to easily arrange windows on any screen size. The 2022 update makes it easier to use with touch input and adds support for individual tabs in the Microsoft Edge browser.
Speaking of touch input, the 2022 update introduces several new touchscreen gestures that improve navigation without a cursor or keyboard. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen opens the Start menu, while swiping from the right lets you access quick settings. Using three fingers, you can also swipe down to minimize apps and left or right to move between open apps. This is similar to what you’ll find on iPads and Android tablets, and it shows that Microsoft takes touch input seriously.
To help you stay focused on your task, Windows 11’s Focus Assist feature is now integrated directly into the Quick Settings menu. When you start a timer here, Do Not Disturb will automatically turn on, disabling all notifications (except those you specifically allow).
Video calls remain crucial for many people, which Microsoft has acknowledged. Whether you’re using the built-in webcam or connecting an external accessory, the Settings menu includes new options to make everything look great – a variety of different camera effects are available. Separately, a “Voice Focus” feature uses AI to filter out background noise.
If you’re editing a video that’s been captured, Windows 11 has a new built-in app to help you do that. Clipchamp is free for videos up to 1080p, although there are plenty of premium features available if you’re willing to pay $11.99/£9.99 per month.
Gaming and Windows 11 go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise to see a separate Xbox blog post on the new features in the 2022 update. They include a new controller bar for easy access to recently played games. and launchers using a controller, as well as improvements to the Xbox Cloud Gaming experience using Microsoft Edge.
Elsewhere, auto HDR and variable refresh rate (VRR) are expanded to support games that don’t run fullscreen, along with significant improvements to display latency. There’s also a new HDR calibration app to help improve color accuracy and consistency.
Security updates may have been unavoidable, and they include a new Smart App Control feature that will prevent untrusted apps from launching. There are still ways to use them, of course, but this caveat might be crucial. Similarly, Microsoft Defender’s new SmartScreen can alert users when Microsoft credentials are entered on an untrusted site or service.
For people paying for Microsoft 365, there’s also the option to manage your subscription in Settings. This is where you can add payment information and see when you’ll be charged next, rather than having to go through the website.
In Settings, you’ll also find a new family safety page and the option to have the Bing daily image as your wallpaper.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the new features in the 2022 update. But it does give an idea of what to expect – for most people it’s well worth checking out. be downloaded.
Provided you weren’t prevented from doing so, that is. In November 2022, Microsoft temporarily suspended compatibility for some devices following reports of game performance issues. These were believed to be related to the update, but the issue has now been resolved.
Learn more in our separate article: Why you might not be able to install Windows 11 22H2 update right now
Tabs in File Explorer were later added in a later October 2023 update, along with new “suggested actions” and taskbar improvements. However, it wasn’t easy for some early adopters. According to the latest reports from Windows, several issues have already been reported through the Windows Feedback Hub.
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