Windows 11 is getting an update to make it better for Android users

The Windows 11 logo seen through a digital magnifying glass
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft’s Your Phone software, the bridge between Android devices and Windows 10, is due to get a makeover for Windows 11. While it doesn’t look like new functionality is on the cards in the short term, we got a brief glimpse of the app at Microsoft’s recent Surface event, suggesting that it hasn’t been entirely forgotten about.

As with other apps updated for Windows 11, the Your Phone app enjoys a new look, with rounded corners and a softer set of colors, but the real improvement lies in the interface.

If you boot up the app right now, you’ll see separate sections for Notifications, Messages, Calls and (if you own a supported Samsung device or a Surface Duo) Apps. With the new version, XDA Developers spotted that notifications now cascade along the left hand side of the app, with the ability to respond directly from your desktop or laptop if appropriate. 

A screenshot of the Windows 11 Your Phone app

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Meanwhile, Messages, Photos, Apps and Calls are relocated to the top of the screen. It’s a less cluttered look which should make the app a bit more accessible to newcomers — albeit undoubtedly a bit confusing to those who have got used to the current layout. 

From this brief glimpse, it doesn’t look like new features are on the way, but it’s encouraging to see that the app hasn’t been forgotten about, and while it’s understandably not as impressive as the synergy between iPhones and Macs (where things like iMessage and Photos are always in perfect sync), it’s still useful for those that spread their working life across form factors. 

And with Microsoft fully on board with Android, having waved the white flag on Windows Phone some time ago, a lot more people can benefit.

Is it necessary? 

I installed Your Phone for Windows 10 upon release, but haven’t booted it up again since. Why? Because the stuff I rely on already has perfectly good systems in place. 

WhatsApp Web is actually where I send and receive most of my messages, and the Windows 10 app is excellent, pinned to my taskbar and instantly popping up notifications as messages arrive. 

Equally, any pictures I need on my desktop can be quickly synced with Google Photos on the phone, without needing to bother with Microsoft’s own app. Sending SMS messages and making calls from the desktop would be nice… but I do both so rarely that a ready-made solution hardly seems worthwhile.

But for some it will prove invaluable, and that — combined with the upcoming Android app support for Windows 11 — makes Microsoft’s OS a natural home for Android users, and may make Mac-curious types think twice before making the jump.

Microsoft Windows 11 will be released on October 5 as a free upgrade to Windows 10, but the rollout is going to be staggered, so don’t expect to see it on your screen immediately unless you buy a new device — such as Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 8, Surface Pro X, Surface Go 3 or the innovative new Surface Laptop Studio

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.