There has been a lot of speculation that Microsoft is already working hard on the successor to Windows 11, which will likely be called Windows 12.
Some of us at TechRadar are dedicated to a quick follow-up to Windows 11, and would like to see Microsoft match its regular update schedules for macOS and other operating systems.
So what improvements and new features might Windows 12 bring with it? Users have been filling Microsoft with requests for features, with some of those desires set in upcoming updates to Windows 11, tentatively called Sun Valley 2.
Computing team TechRadar has come up with its own wish list of five features we’d like to see in Windows 12, no matter how unlikely some of them may be.
Windows 12 release date rumors
It’s still pretty early days for Windows 11 – we’re not even on the first anniversary of the update’s announcement. However, going back to previous versions, we expect Windows 12 to arrive in late 2025, just as Windows 10 support ends.
Windows 12 supported devices
When Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 11, the main requirement was for hardware to have a hardware feature called TPM enabled, a security feature that can be found on most motherboards.
While Microsoft will likely make the same requirement again, it may be at a point where the TPM is enabled on nearly every computer anyway.
Other than that, it will likely have similar requirements to Windows 11:
- 64 bit processor
- Clock speed 1 GHz
- 4 GB of RAM
- 64 GB drive
- UEFI, Secure Boot Capable
- TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module)
- Screen over 9 inches with HD resolution (1366 x 768)
- DirectX 12 / WDDM 2.x compatible graphics
- Internet connection
What we want to see
We don’t know much about Windows 12 yet, or whether the rumored upgrade will ever become a reality, but we do have a pretty good idea of what we want from it, with the following features topping our list.
1. Integrate Skype and Teams into MSN Messenger 12
It’s no secret that Microsoft’s efforts to make video calls and collaborate through messaging apps have been less than stellar in recent years. At a time when people needed to communicate more remotely, it was Zoom that took the lead and left Skype bewilderingly by the wayside.
Although there are some new features that have been brought to both Teams and Skype, there is still an air of confusion as to which one you should use. If you need to participate in a job interview that’s in Teams, for example, you’ll need to quickly install the app and make sure it works.
Instead, let’s see them retire and mark a fresh start for Windows 12, with MSN Messenger back to do the job that these two apps struggled with.
Not only to see the return of alerts, winks, and classic sounds if users want, but also powerful features that make it toe-to-toe with Zoom, Google Meets, and FaceTime. You probably have Slack integration, so if a video meeting is needed, it can prompt in a channel and with one button, MSN Messenger will launch with the desired invitees.
Microsoft needs to restart the way it sees itself for messaging apps, and the return of MSN Messenger could be a great start to that.
2. Live Wallpaper
A request from Matt Hanson, Senior Computing Editor at TechRadar, is an interesting one. Similar features have been in iPhone and Android phones for several years now, with animations moving across these devices. But for PC and Mac, it’s been made into third-party apps, like Wallpaper Engine, to be able to get animated wallpapers with the ability to display information from your PC.
Getting something similar from Microsoft for Windows 12 could push its themes efforts, something that has seen improvements in Windows 11, thanks to its dark themes.
Having a dedicated wallpapers section where you can put static bytes of information on your desktop that works with an animated live wallpaper, can appeal to all kinds of users.
Microsoft can also bring back previous backgrounds, like the hill slope in Windows XP but make them animated, along with some clouds showing battery status or weather.
This can dramatically refresh your desktop and make it more up to date, without having to rely on widgets or the taskbar to display changes.
3. Custom podcast app
While it’s great to see the return of Windows Media Player from Microsoft, having extra features like podcasts seems irrelevant to the topic of Media Player.
macOS has had its own podcast app since Big Sur in 2019, but if you wanted to use a similar app on Windows, it’s not clear where to start, as Microsoft doesn’t offer a dedicated podcast app.
That’s why Windows 12 should include a dedicated podcast app that can also be used on other platforms, such as iOS and Android, so that your subscriptions can be synced across all your devices.
Podcasts are a great way to listen to interviews or the latest news that includes your interests, and managing them all in a first-party app would be great for Windows users. It’s something that can really help motivate the company’s efforts to make content available on almost every device.
4. Custom Streaming App
A great idea by our resident computing writer Jess Weatherbid, as there is still an option integrated into Windows for streaming what you’re playing.
For years, there have been apps like OBS and Twitch that provide ways to broadcast what you’re playing or watching with others. However, these apps have always required that extra effort to make sure you’re streaming to viewers in good quality, with low latency.
Then there’s the added aspect of peripherals that banners use to help show them in a better light, or Stream Decks to easily control their settings with hotkeys.
It can be hard to manage multiple apps just to control all of them, which is why Windows 12 can benefit from having a single app that can manage your streams and peripherals.
Microsoft has been pushing games in Windows 11 since it was announced in June 2021, with a redesign of the Xbox app and HDR support. But countless gamers are also streaming these games via Windows, so there is a great opportunity here.
Having a single app to control, say, loop lights and streaming for viewers is attractive, turning the heavy load into a single app. It can automate broadcasts based on the schedule and games being played, along with different lighting scenarios for different times of the day.
This may encourage more gamers to see Windows as a service, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said since Windows 10 was released in 2015, while also making Windows 12 an attractive opportunity for live streamers to earn more followers and income for their professions. .
5. Companion app for Android
Suggestion from TechRadar Pro Editor-in-Chief, Desire Athow – This could be an expansion of Your Phone, Microsoft’s effort to sync your phone with Windows. But when you open this new app in Windows 12, it has a layout reminiscent of Windows Phone and its tile layout which can enable the desktop experience from your phone.
This would be similar to Samsung DeX, where you can turn your S22 or Tab S22 Ultra into a desktop simply by connecting it to a peripheral.
This new app will surpass the efforts of DeX and Microsoft Your Phone. When connected to a monitor, your Windows 12 desktop becomes fully-fledged, displaying everything from your main PC. And when you click on any icon, it downloads the content from the cloud and renders it in original resolution.
It will be an innovative extension of the cloud, where you can access your files wherever you are. Here, you carry your desktop with you and all you have to do is connect your smartphone to a screen, using either touch screen features or a keyboard and mouse.
This will also boost Nadella’s plans once again, similar to streaming, to see Windows as a service. Having your own computer in an app is an attractive idea, and it can help in those situations when you have a short opportunity to do some work with a spare monitor, keyboard, and mouse somewhere.