The next Windows 11 update is scheduled for September 20.
The Verge’s Tom Warren(Opens in a new window) broke the news, and he has an excellent track record on Windows rumors, having been among the first to hint about the original launch of Windows 11. He cites “sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans” for the date, and says Windows 11 22H2 will be released via Windows Update a week after the traditional monthly Patch Tuesday.
In reality, most Windows users don’t care about the specific date because these feature updates typically take several months to roll out to the entire base of hundreds of millions of PCs. Microsoft only releases feature updates to PC configurations that have been tested for compatibility, which can take months due to the enormous number of different hardware and software combinations in the multi-vendor PC ecosystem.
What’s in Windows 11 22H2?
There isn’t a whole lot. The major transition from Windows 10 to Windows 11 occurred last year. The revamped File Explorer, which finally gets tabs to match those in the macOS Finder, will be perhaps the most noticeable change in 22H2—though this feature may not make it to the initial Sept. 20 release.
Icon folders will be added to the Start menu, and drag and drop will be supported on the Taskbar. Live captions for anything producing speech audio on the PC, as well as improved Voice Access control of the computer, will be among the new accessibility features. Snap Layouts will benefit from enhancements such as keyboard shortcut call-ups.
22H2 should also include new video-editing software in the form of the template-based Clipchamp app.
The update is also expected to include new tablet touch gestures, such as a swipe from the taskbar to access the Start menu and another to access the Quick Settings menu. In addition, widgets will receive more live notifications, including sports, finance, and breaking news.
Microsoft’s current major update schedule is set to occur once a year, but significant updates can occur at any time during these cycles. Consider the new Media Player app, Paint app, Phone Link, Photos app, and Weather icon that were added to Windows 11 without any major updates. These may be more important to many users than anything arriving in 22H2.
How to Get Windows 11 22H2
If you want to try out the new features right away, you can sign up for the Windows Insider program and install it as a preview build—as an upgrade or as a disk image file. If you don’t mind waiting until September 20 (or later), go to the Windows Update section of the Windows Settings menu and click the Check for Updates button. If you haven’t yet upgraded an eligible PC to Windows 11, you can do so here as well. If you don’t already have a Windows license, you can now purchase one from the Microsoft online store specifically for Windows 11.
What’s the Next Really Big Windows Version?
Microsoft recently suggested in a lifecycle support document that Windows 11 would be phased out in 2024, leading many analysts to believe that another massive update dubbed Windows 12 is on the way. Moments, or interim feature updates that occur up to four times per year, are also expected to be included in the schedule.