Microsoft releases Windows 10 build 18908 to the Fast ring with Your Phone improvements

It's Wednesday, and that means that it's time for a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build in the Fast ring. Today's build number is 18908, and once again, it's from the 20H1 development branch.

There's still no word on when Microsoft is going to start testing Windows 10 19H2, which is the feature update that's slated for later on this year. One thing is for sure though, it's not going to be in the Fast ring, since the Fast ring is already on a later version that's scheduled to ship in the first half of 2020.

19H2 is expected to be a minor update, which might not even increase the major build number, like a cumulative update. Xbox Insiders are already testing it in the Skip Ahead ring, and the major build number is still 18362, the RTM build for 19H1.

As for today's build, there are a few things that are new for Your Phone, most of which has been announced. Here's the full changelog:

Your Phone app – Introducing even more new features

We’re bringing multiple new features to the Your Phone app in this build. Try them out and let us know what you think.

Phone screen – Accessibility features, keyboard language and layout, new phone models

We’re pleased to preview two new accessibility features – screen reading and focus tracking – as well as the ability to easily switch your Android phone’s keyboard language or layout while in phone screen.

Screen reading

For users of TalkBack, you can now enable the Your Phone Companion accessibility service, found under your Android phone’s accessibility settings, for smoother cross-device reading. Once both TalkBack and the Your Phone Companion accessibility services are turned on, Narrator will play from your PC, describing what you select and activate on your phone screen as you interact using your PC’s keyboard or mouse.

Focus tracking

You will now be able to interact with your Android phone’s apps at your preferred magnification while in phone screen. Focus tracking will seamlessly follow your keyboard focus and mouse pointer input.

To enable the focus tracking accessibility feature, you must first turn on the Your Phone Companion accessibility service and TalkBack on your Android phone. Once these services are enabled, you can turn on Magnifier on your PC using the shortcut: Windows Key and the Plus sign (+) or open the app from your Windows menu.

Keyboard language and layout

You will notice a new icon on your phone screen toolbar. Selecting this icon will take you to the phone settings page, where you can change your keyboard language or layout. This setting is specific to physical keyboards, so it only applies when you’re typing into your phone from your PC and will not change your phone’s language or keyboard configuration. If you type in different languages or like to switch your keyboard layout, give it a try.

Phone screen now supports additional Samsung phone models

The supported phone model list keeps expanding, we have now enabled support for the Samsung Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8+. We will continue to expand the list of devices over time.

Phone screen requirements

  • Certain Android phones running Android 7.0 or greater
    • Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+, S9, S9+, S8, S8+
    • Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Note 8
    • Samsung Galaxy A8, A8+
    • OnePlus 6, 6T
  • Windows 10 PC with Bluetooth radio that supports low-energy peripheral role
  • Minimum Build 18338 and above
  • Android phone must be on, within Bluetooth range of the PC, and connected to the same network as the PC

Known issues

  • Touch input does not work
  • Blue light preferences will not be applied on the phone screen displayed on the PC
  • Other audio, besides screen reader feedback, will play out of the phone speakers, not the PC
  • If you enable both accessibility features simultaneously while using focus tracking, the magnifier rectangle will follow your navigation, but the visual Narrator rectangle will remain static, even though it will read out the correct text.

New messaging features

  • Send and receive MMS messages – You can now send and receive images and GIFs, including Giphy, right from the Your Phone app.
  • Unread message indicator (badge)
    • Nav pane – A visual indicator on the Messages node, indicating you have unread messages
    • PC Taskbar – A visual indicator on the Your Phone app icon on your PC taskbar, indicating you have unread messages
    • Unread conversations – Visual indicator within threads that have unread messages
  • Contact images – Your Phone app will now sync contact thumbnails for all your contacts that contain profile images, so you can easily identify who you’re messaging with.
  • In-line reply – You can quickly reply to text messages from toast notifications without having to open the Your Phone app.
  • Emoji picker – Smileys, people, food, and more. You can easily add emojis to your text messages right from within the app.

Your Phone can now sync over mobile data

This much-requested feature is now available. You can sync your photos, messages, and notifications over mobile data without having to connect your Android phone to the Wi-Fi network.

  • Enable “Sync over mobile data” under the Your Phone Companion app settings
  • When enabled, you should see the ‘Connected to your PC’ toast on your phone

Colorful new icons

We’re also introducing a new look for both Your Phone and Your Phone Companion, to make them truly feel like part of the Windows family. The Your Phone Companion icon has started to hit phones already, and the Your Phone icon will arrive on Windows PCs in the coming days.

These features will gradually roll out to Insiders on 19H1 builds or newer, so it may take a few days to see them on your PC.

We’d love to hear your feedback, so let us know what you think by reporting issues under Your Phone > Settings > Send feedback.

Once again, there's still a lot to come with Windows 10 20H1, and nearly a year of development left. Microsoft seems to be adding new features little by little, so stay tuned for more.

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