The Photos App in Windows 11 Is Getting Better

The Photos app isn’t new to Windows 11, but Microsoft has been overhauling it with new features, view modes, and editing options over the past two years. Four more changes are now being tested, including AI-powered background removal and new viewing options.

Microsoft released a new Photos app update to Windows Insider testers, with the ability to remove the background from a photo (turning it into a transparent image) or replace the background with a solid color. It’s another option alongside the background blur feature that Microsoft started testing in September. The blog post explains, “With a single click, you can remove the background and save the resulting image or copy it to the clipboard. Another option is to replace the selected background with a solid color. Use the color picker to select the right hue, either by clicking on the palette, entering a hex color code, or setting the RGB values.”

Just like the similar features in Windows Paint, Photoshop, and other editors, the Photos app uses machine learning to separate the background from the subject. The feature also seems to run entirely on your PC, so it doesn’t involve sending your image to a remote server. Some other AI-powered image features, such as Cocreator in Paint, use Microsoft’s servers.

The Photos app is also adding a filmstrip view mode, which can be enabled by pressing the F key while viewing a photo, or clicking the filmstrip icon in the bottom left corner of the window. The new mode displays other photos in the album or folder along the bottom of the window, and clicking one will open the desired photo. It’s a common option in other photo management tools, such as Adobe Lightroom and Apple Photos.

Microsoft is testing a new timeline scrollbar too, which appears on the right side when viewing a folder or album. Time markers appear in the sidebar, much like the scrollbar in Google Photos, OneDrive Photos, and other applications. The blog post explains that it’s dynamic and “based on time range of your photo collection,” so it might not appear for folders and galleries where it’s not needed.

Finally, the Photos app is adding a quicker way to back up and share images with OneDrive. You’ll be able to right-click any image, and then select Share > Using OneDrive. The app will give you a link to the uploaded image, which can be copied to the clipboard or sent in an email.

The new functionality is rolling out to Windows Insiders testers who have version 2023.11110.8002.0 or higher of the Photos app installed. If there aren’t any annoying bugs or other problems, it should be available to all Windows 11 PCs soon.

Source: Windows Blog


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