When Microsoft first released Windows 11 last October, it was missing some basic functionality. Many features of Windows 10 were dropped with little explanation, while many of the redesigned apps and support for Android apps were not yet available.
Despite committing to only one major update each year, Microsoft has been making improvements and tweaks since then. The version available today is a huge improvement over the version available at launch.
But it is clear that most of the new features will be delivered in the second half of each year. We already have a pretty good understanding of 22H2, but things get uncertain after that.
But that hasn’t stopped the speculation, and there are some major rumors worth addressing here. Without further ado, here’s everything we know about a possible 23H2 update for Windows 11 next year.
When will Windows 11’s 23H2 update be released?
Assuming Microsoft continues to update annual features, it’s almost certain to arrive in 2023. It’s hard to expect a more specific release window, but it’s likely sometime in the second half of the year.
The 22H2 update is rumored to arrive soon in July. Microsoft may decide to release 23H2 exactly 12 months later, but that’s just speculation at this early stage.
Remember that most devices will not be able to download the update on release day. Microsoft throttles availability in order to manage the demand on its servers, so you may wait weeks or even months.
For Early Access, you can always join the Windows Insider Program and try out new functionality before it’s released to the public. Note, however, that not all of the features in the Dev Channel are making their way to the final releases. The beta channel provides a good balance for most people, but it is still not recommended on your major devices.
Will all existing Windows 11 devices be 23H2 compatible?
Perhaps not all, but the vast majority. Microsoft introduced sweeping new hardware requirements for Windows 11 in the name of security, leaving a lot of older hardware unable to upgrade.
There are no indications it will happen anytime soon, unless Microsoft surprises us with the release of Windows 12 much sooner than expected.
The most likely scenario is that a few older devices won’t be able to update, but they should still receive security updates for a long time.
What new features will be available in the 23H2 update?
The 22H2 update isn’t official yet, so it’s hard to predict what will be added to Windows 11 a year later. However, we already have an idea of what to expect.
As reported by Windows Latest, a recent Microsoft webcast includes a PowerPoint file called “SV3 Refined Investments Next Steps.” Many people considered this to mean Sun Valley 3, the expected internal codename for release 23H2.
Given that the original Windows 11 version was known simply as “Sun Valley”, this seems like a logical conclusion. However, no one guesses what “duplicate investments” actually mean. The adjustments would probably be more subtle rather than making any major repairs, but that was almost always the case.
However, in an April 2022 video, Zach Bowden and Daniel Rubino of Windows Central discuss what the 23H2 update could involve. Despite the big caveat that all of this could change, there are some helpful insights worth knowing – they are both trusted journalists with a track record of Windows 11 news.
Despite dropping the tablet mode dedicated to Windows 10 from Windows 11, Microsoft continues to make the operating system more suitable for touch input. Bowden expects there will be more to come, with the potential to reintroduce a separate tablet user interface (UI) in 23H2.
He also believes that the update will improve the way Windows connects to Android. Microsoft recently renamed the app that came with your phone to “Phone Link,” redesigning it in the process. With the Surface Duo 3 likely in 2023, that makes a lot of sense.
Bowden also thinks 23H2 might be when we finally see a system-wide dark mode. This was originally intended for the first release of Windows 11 in 2021, but there is no indication that it will arrive this year as well.
Later in the video, Rubino suggests that 2023 will be a big year for foldable devices running Windows 11. That might not include a portrait of the Surface Duo, but Microsoft will be keen to optimize the operating system for a variety of different form factors.
We will update this article once the 23H2 update is revealed. It’s almost certain to be delivered to Windows 11, but Windows 12 may still be on the horizon.