Microsoft is winding down another Windows 10 feature, the Timeline [Update]

Screenshot of the Windows Timeline feature in Windows 10

Microsoft seems to be winding down on yet another Windows 10 feature that it made a big deal out of a few years ago. The company released a new Windows 10 build to Insiders in the Dev channel today, and with it came the announcement that it will no longer be possible to upload Timeline data from a Windows 10 PC, meaning it won't be accessible on other devices.

The Windows Timeline feature was introduced about four years ago at Build 2017, though it wasn't until the following year that the feature would ship in a feature update for Windows 10. Timeline was a pretty significant change, as it let you access your recently open files and websites from the past 30 days, including the ability to sync that history across devices. Microsoft even brought the Timeline to smartphones some time later, emphasizing the focus on continuity between devices.

However, things went pretty quiet after that, and the writing has been on the wall for some time when it comes to Timeline. In November of last year, the Timeline section was removed from the Microsoft Launcher preview, which was the only endpoint for the feature on Android.

With today's Insider build, Microsoft's focus on continuity between devices seems to grow even weaker, though Microsoft correctly points out that many browsers already offer features like history and open tabs syncing, including its Chromium-based Edge browser. Recent Office files can also be found in the Office and OneDrive apps on different devices, but Microsoft is shying away from the all-encompassing implementation it had before.

To be clear, your recent files and tabs on your current device will still be listed in the Timeline interface, at least for now. Microsoft hasn't outright said that it's discontinuing the feature, either, it just won't be able to sync across devices.

The situation bears some resemblance to what's happening with the focus on 3D in Windows 10. Around 2017, Microsoft introduced the Paint 3D app and wanted it to be the one-stop-shop for 3D creation, but the app was recently removed from new installations of Windows 10 for Insiders, and the 3D Objects folder was also removed from File Explorer.

Update: Microsoft has updated the blog post for the latest Insider build to clarify the Timeline continues to be active in Windows 10 and local activity history remains. Only cross-device syncing is being removed, as we originally noted.

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