Windows 12 is likely to be Microsoft’s sequel to Windows 11 – and it may come sooner than you might think.
Rumors suggest that an ingeniously named operating system could arrive in 2024, and the possibility that Windows 12 will arrive shortly after Windows 11 has delighted some of us on TechRadar.
And while this still leaves Microsoft behind the annual updates managed by macOS and some other operating systems, Microsoft’s upcoming “Moments” releases will at least see them refreshed regularly.
Whenever it comes, we’d love to see a bigger evolution compared to what Windows 11 has brought. What improvements and new features can Windows 12 have? Users flooded Microsoft with feature requests, and some of those wishes were fulfilled with Update 2022, which brought an improved taskbar.
With that in mind, here are everything we’ve found so far about the next major Windows update, as well as five features we’d love to see in Windows 12 as well.
Windows 12: Move to Chase
- What is this? Windows 12 is supposedly the successor to Windows 11
- When will it come out? Possibly 2024 based on a three-year schedule
- How much is it? It should be free, just as Windows 11 is currently
Rumors about the release date of Windows 12
It’s still very early days for Windows 11 – we’re not even on an update announcement anniversary. However, for previous versions, we expect Windows 12 to arrive in late 2024, as support for Windows 10 is ending.
Devices supported by Windows 12
When Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 11, the main requirement was that machines had a hardware feature called TPM enabled, which is a security feature found on most motherboards.
While the same requirement will most likely be requested again by Microsoft, it can occur at a point where almost every computer has TPM enabled anyway.
Besides, it will likely have similar requirements to Windows 11:
- 64-bit processor
- Clock rate 1 GHz
- 4 GB of RAM
- 64 GB disk
- UEFI, secure boot support
- TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module)
- Display larger than 9 inches with HD resolution (1366×768)
- Graphics compatible with DirectX 12 / WDDM 2.x
- Internet connection
What do we want to see
We don’t know much about Windows 12 yet, or whether a similar update will become a reality, but we have a good idea of what we want from it, and the following features are at the top of our list.
1. Connect Skype and Teams in MSN Messenger 12
It’s no secret that Microsoft’s efforts in video calling and collaboration through messaging applications have been less than brilliant in recent years. At a time when people needed to communicate more remotely, Zoom took the initiative and Skype was surprisingly left out of the way.
While some new features have been introduced in Teams and Skype, there is still some confusion as to which one to use. For example, if you need to attend a Teams interview, you’ll likely need to quickly install the app and make sure it works.
Instead, let’s see them both retire and start a fresh start with Windows 12, with the return of MSN Messenger to do the job that these two apps got stuck with.
Not only would we like to see the return of pokes, blinks, and classic sounds back if users want it, we’d also like to use the advanced features that make it possible with Zoom, Google Meets, and FaceTime. Perhaps it has integration with Slack, so if a video meeting is needed, it can prompt in the channel and with one button it will launch MSN Messenger with the required invitees.
Microsoft needs to reboot as it sees itself in messaging applications, and the return of MSN Messenger could be a great start.
2. Live wallpaper
A request from TechRadar Senior Computers Editor Matt Hanson, and it’s intriguing. There have been similar features in iPhones and Android phones for several years now, and the animations move across these devices. But for PCs and Macs, they’ve been relegated to third-party apps like Wallpaper engine (opens in a new tab)to have animated wallpapers with the ability to display information from your computer.
In order for something similar in Windows 12, Microsoft could further increase its theming efforts, something that was improved in Windows 11 with dark themes.
Having a dedicated section for wallpapers, where you can put static bytes of information on your desktop, which works with animated animated wallpaper, may appeal to all users.
Microsoft can also bring back previous wallpapers, such as the slope of a Windows XP hill, but animate them, as well as clouds that display battery health or the weather.
This can significantly update your desktop and make it more up-to-date without having to rely on widgets or the taskbar to showcase your changes.
3. Dedicated podcasting application
While it was great to see Windows Media Player come back from Microsoft, having additional features like podcasts seems irrelevant to what Media Player is for.
macOS has had its own podcasting app since Big Sur in 2019, but if you want to use a similar app on Windows it’s unclear where to start as Microsoft doesn’t offer a dedicated podcasting app.
Therefore, Windows 12 should include a dedicated podcasting app that can also be used on other platforms such as iOS and Android so that your subscriptions can sync across all your devices.
Podcasts are hugely popular, and managing them all in your own app would be great for Windows users. That’s something that can really help accelerate your company’s efforts to host content on almost any device.
4. Dedicated streaming application
A stormy idea from our regular computer writer Jess Weatherbed, as there is no integrated option to stream what you play with Windows yet.
For years, there have been apps like OBS and Twitch that offer ways to stream what you play or watch with others. However, these apps have always taken extra effort to make sure you’re streaming to viewers in good quality and with low latency.
There is also the added aspect of peripherals that streamers use to show them in a better light, or Stream Decks to easily control their settings with hotkeys.
Managing multiple apps can be overwhelming to control them all, which is why Windows 12 can benefit from having a single app that can manage your streams and peripherals.
Microsoft has been promoting games on Windows 11 since its announcement in June 2021, thanks to a redesigned Xbox app and HDR support. But countless players also stream these games via Windows, so there’s a good chance here.
Having one application to control say, ring lights and streams for viewers is attractive, shifting the burden to one application. It can automate broadcasts based on schedule and games being played, as well as different lighting scenarios for different times of the day.
This could encourage more gamers to see Windows as a service, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella since Windows 10 was released in 2015.
5. Companion app for Android
A suggestion from our TechRadar Pro editor-in-chief, Desire Athow – this could be an extension of the Your Phone application, Microsoft’s efforts to synchronize your mobile with Windows. But when you open this new app in Windows 12, it will have a Windows Phone-like layout and its tile layout, and will also allow you to use your desktop from your phone.
This would be similar to Samsung DeX, which can transform your Galaxy S22 or Galaxy S22 Ultra into a desktop when connected to a peripheral device.
This new app, however, would go beyond the efforts of DeX and Microsoft Your Phone. When connected to a monitor, it would become a full-fledged Windows 12 desktop, presenting everything from the main computer. And when you click the icon, it will download the content from the cloud and display it in its native resolution.
It would be an innovative cloud extension where you can access your files wherever you are. Here you’ll be carrying your desktop computer with you and all you need to do is connect your smartphone to a monitor with touchscreen features or a keyboard and mouse.
As with the streaming feature above, this would again widen Nadella’s plans to see Windows as a service. Having a computer in an application is an enticing thought and can help in those situations where you have a short window to get the job done with a spare monitor, keyboard, and mouse.