These 6 core apps will change in Windows 11


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Windows 11 won’t just change the Windows operating system, it will change the way some Windows apps look and feel, too. Though Windows 11 will launch this fall, Microsoft has already been highlighting several Windows apps that are being updated for Windows 11.

So far, Microsoft has shown off several Windows apps that it’s reworking for Windows 11, including what you might consider to be core Windows apps: Mail and Calendar, Paint, and even the lowly Clock app. Below, we’ll show you what to expect of these new apps within Windows 11. (Remember, Windows 11 is officially in beta. Things may change between now and the final release.)

Windows 11 Clock (Focus Sessions)

Perhaps the most unexpectedly interesting update to Windows 11’s suite of Windows apps is the lowly Clock app. Now, in addition to the usual suite of Timers, Alarms, a Stopwatch, and a World Clock, Microsoft has added Focus Sessions and Microsoft To-Do.

windows 11 clock focus sessions Panos Panay / Twitter

Microsoft has dramatically revamped its Windows 11 Clock app, adding Focus Sessions with Spotify integration.

Microsoft describes Focus Sessions as a major new feature, and it’s easy to see why. If you’re the type of person who concentrates best when music plays, you’ll love Focus Sessions and its integration with Spotify. Focus Sessions allows you to block out a period of time, with a literal stopwatch counting it down. During the Focus Session, you can connect your account to Spotify and ask it to play classical music, electronic, trance—whatever keeps you in the zone. (There’s a mute button, too, in case you receive a call.)

The Clock app also includes integration with To-Do, so you can accomplish tasks and check them off. Finally, you’ll even be able to configure “streaks”—a habit-building feature that’s part of Microsoft Rewards—to set a daily goal and then accomplish it, day after day.

Windows 11 Paint

Microsoft Paint has rolled successful saves against death many times over, surviving decisions to deprecate the beloved utility in 2017 as well as relegate it to a downloadable app. In 2019, Microsoft said Paint would remain a part of Windows 10 for now

windows 11 paint Panos Panay / Twitter

The updated Windows 11 Paint app has a more intuitive interface.

The decision by Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay to show off a new look for Paint in Windows 11 affirms that Paint has survived yet again. In a video, Panay revealed what looks more like a user-interface update than any major change in functionality. (One omission: The reference to Paint3D that currently exists with Windows 10’s Paint.) Still, updating the iconography as well as the drop-down functionality is a welcome step, and simply putting in the work shows that Microsoft remains committed to Paint as a whole.

Windows 11 Calculator

Calculator is a surprisingly powerful tool hidden within Windows 10, though most people probably use it merely for numerical calculations. Inside it is a graphing calculator (remember to expand the app’s window to use all of its functionality!), the ability to convert measurements and currencies, a scientific and programmer calculator, and more. None of that functionality appears to be changing for Windows 11, but the app will include a new theme setting. It’s also been rewritten in C#, which Microsoft did as a way to allow the public to contribute to the app on GitHub, code in new features, and update the app more frequently over time.

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