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Windows Subsystem for Android gets new features and Android 12.1 [Update]

BBC Sounds Android app open in Windows 11

Microsoft today announced a big feature update for Windows Subsystem for Android, which is responsible for running Android apps on Windows 11-based computers. The most notable changes include moving to Android 12.1, a redesigned Settings app, better integration with Windows, and improved input.

Update June 2: Microsoft has announced that this is now available to all Windows Insiders on Windows 11, those enrolled in the Release Preview, Beta and Dev Channels will get this update.

The latest version of Windows Subsystem for Android (2204.40000.15.0) is now available in the Microsoft Store on computers enrolled in the Dev channel of the Windows Insider program. Here are the changes.

Update to Android 12.1!

We have updated the experience to Android 12.1! This update may cause some apps to fail to launch (see the known issues below for more details).

Optional Diagnostic Data

With this update, telemetry collection (optional diagnostic data setting in the Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app) is now off by default. To help us make Windows Subsystem for Android better and provide useful telemetry about Android app usage, please enable this setting in the Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app!

Advanced Networking

Networking for Windows Subsystem for Android on newer Insider Preview builds (OS Build 22621+) has been improved to enable Android apps to connect to devices on the same network as your Windows PC. With advanced networking, you can play your favorite content on a speaker on the same network, or set up a security camera (or other smart home device) with a compatible Android app.

Settings app redesign

The Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app has been redesigned and updated in a huge way. We’ve redesigned the app from the ground up, now with clearer settings groups, grouped navigation and an all-around cleaner user experience. We’ve also added a diagnostic data viewer where you can examine all the diagnostic data collected by the Subsystem, and configuration options in the new compatibility settings to turn on fixes for specific apps such as forcing apps to be non-resizable or enabling swipes for arrow keys.

A redesigned Settings app for Windows Subsystem for Android

Improvements to Windows integration

We’ve made some great improvements to Android apps integrating with Windows in this update. For newer Insider Preview builds (OS Build 22621+), Windows taskbar icons will now show which Android apps are currently using microphone, location, and other system services in the system tray, and an auto-hidden taskbar will now correctly hide/show when Android apps are running. Android toasts will now be reflected as Windows notifications, and the Window title of an Android app will now reflect the Android activity title. Also, for newer Insider Preview builds (OS Build 22621+), Android apps will not be restarted when your devices come out of connected standby but will instead pick up where you left off.

Improvements to camera in Android apps

Many camera updates are being shipped in this update. The camera orientation is now fixed to natural orientation, and issues with incorrect camera preview, bugs with letterboxing and squishing of the camera feed have now been addressed.

Improvements for input devices

Mouse and keyboard support in Windows Subsystem for Android has been improved, with fixes such as improved scroll-wheel support, fixes for the onscreen keyboard focus and fixes for the Android software keyboard displaying correctly.

Microsoft also warns about the following issues currently plaguing the latest preview version of Windows Subsystem for Android:

  • Instability with camera on ARM devices
  • Instability printing via Android apps
  • Some apps rendered at lower resolutions may lay out incorrectly
  • Some VPNs may not work with Advanced Networking. If you use a VPN and find Android apps do not have network connectivity, please disable Advanced Networking in the Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app
  • Some apps that were previously available might be missing from the experience, fail to launch, or function incorrectly for various known issues. We’re working with our partners to address these issues as soon as possible.

If you want to provide feedback about Windows Subsystem for Android in Windows 11, go to Feedback Hub and visit the Apps > Windows Subsystem for Android section.

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