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Windows 11’s widget panel looks set for a big improvement

How do third-party widgets sound?

Windows 11 brought with it quite a few design changes. From rounded edges, to centred taskbar icons, and a new widgets panel, Microsoft wasn’t shy on making Windows a little more modern.

But it would seem that Microsoft hasn’t finished tweaking widgets in Windows 11. It appears as though the company is teeing up third-party widgets support for a future update for the software.

FireCube spotted that the widget manifest in Windows has been updated, and now mentions downloading widgets. The manifest is a file that explains code for developers to use. The reference to third-party widgets will sit alongside new developer libraries.

The code explains that users will be able to download new widgets and updates through the Microsoft Store. This is our biggest clue as to how third-party widgets would work in Windows; just like normal third-party apps through the Microsoft Store. It makes sense, as the widgets would be more secure than those downloaded from the web.

Previous leaks have suggested third-party widgets are on the cards, with some developers even being briefed on how they’ll work. Now that we’ve seen reference to them in code, it’s a pretty sure thing.

Beyond this, we’re not too sure when Windows will introduce support for third-party widgets. The 2022 Windows 11 update seems like the perfect time to introduce the new feature. You can expect this update in the second half of 2022, perhaps around October again. Microsoft could throw a little curved ball and release it in a sooner, smaller update, but that seems unlikely.

We’re certainly excited to see third-party widgets come to Windows, as it will make the widgets panel much more useful. Keep your eyes peeled for the feature in future updates.

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