Microsoft just announced a huge new update to Windows 10 — here's what's new
On Monday, Microsoft will start to push out the April 2018 Update to Windows 10 — a free upgrade to the operating system that makes lots of small tweaks, while also adding a bunch of new features.
The flagship new features in the Windows 10 update include Timeline, a nifty way to keep track of what files you were working on, when, and from what devices, and Focus Assist, which makes it so you only see the notifications you want to see while you're working. If that's all you need to hear, you can manually download the update straight from Microsoft starting Monday, by way of the Windows Update tool. Otherwise, Windows 10 will start bugging you to upgrade beginning on 8 May, and pushing it out as part of the normal update process.
Microsoft releases these big updates twice a year. This time, though, one thing is a little different: The nomenclature. In the past, they've come with flowery names like "Anniversary Update" or "Creators Update." The more straightforward "April 2018 Update" name is just so people can keep track, says Microsoft.
Notably, the April 2018 Update was widely expected to launch earlier in the month. However, Microsoft delayed the launch a few weeks after some members of the Windows Insider preview program discovered the update had a glitch that caused the dreaded Blue Screen of Death on some PCs.
Now, Microsoft is confident that it's stamped out the bugs, and it's ready for prime time.
So what's new in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update? Read on...
The flagship new feature is Timeline. As you may guess from the name, it lets you go back as far as 30 days, to see exactly what file you were working on, and when you were working on it.
A neat feature is that it also works with Microsoft's mobile apps: If you read a website from the Microsoft Edge browser on iOS or Android, it'll appear in your Windows 10 Timeline. Of course, that means you need to use Microsoft Edge...
On that note, it's my personal experience that Timeline works best with Microsoft's own apps. For instance, Google Chrome shows up in Timeline, but it's kind of a mess. Timeline is really promising, but it needs a little work.
The other big new feature in the April 2018 Update for Windows 10 is Focus Assist. It gives you lots of settings to help customise the notifications you get, from which apps, and when. You know, so you can focus. I found this feature very helpful, in my own testing.
Other features are a little more subtle. Like Nearby Sharing, which lets you quickly share photos and videos to other Windows 10 computers that are, ahem, nearby.
Another new feature lets you shoot a webpage from Edge for iOS and Android to Edge for the Windows 10 PC, so you can pick back up what you were doing.
While we're on the subject, the Edge browser on Windows 10 is getting a handful of upgrades, too:
- For instance, you can now mute and unmute sound coming from browser tabs, as you can with Google Chrome.
- Books and PDFs in Edge can now be viewed in full-screen mode.
- For online shopping, Edge can save your address to quickly fill out forms.
- Most intriguingly, a new grammar tool will help younger readers, or anybody who just needs a little help, make sense of the web by breaking the words into syllables, and highlighting nouns and other parts of speech.
The last two features are very reminiscent of Apple's Airdrop and Continuity, respectively — integrations between the iPhone and Mac that make it easy to share files and webpage links.
Otherwise, there's a laundry list of other additions. Updates to Windows Ink make it so you can write with a stylus in any text field, as you see here. Microsoft says that latency when using a stylus is down between 30% and 50% with this update, too.
Other little input additions include a new dictation mode. The Windows button + H on your keyboard in any app will let you type away with your voice. On the subject of voice, the Cortana virtual assistant on Windows 10 is getting a little upgrade to control select smart-home equipment with your voice. Microsoft touts integrations with smart thermostats from Ecobee, Google's Nest, and other popular brands.
Finally, Microsoft is still betting on augmented reality and virtual reality. For instance, with the April 2018 Update, you can place AR models, like this one of a space rocket, into a PowerPoint presentation, so it can be inspected in 3D.
- Six things to do in the Namib desert when the sun goes down
- These are the top Instagram influencers in South Africa right now
- The UK's new royal baby is called Louis — here's why
- 'Avengers: Infinity War' is worth the 10-year wait and will rip your heart out
- Lawyers say Tiger Brands may have to pay listeriosis victims up to R3 million each