Windows 11 Is Starting to Feel Like macOS

And that isn’t a bad thing

Key Takeaways

  • Windows 11 has leaked early, allowing users to install and check out an early developer version of the upcoming operating system.
  • Microsoft plans to officially announce Windows 11 during its June 24 event, and the OS is expected to arrive sometime in the fall.
  • While we still haven’t seen the full picture, Windows 11 seems to take a lot of hints from macOS, including its core new taskbar design and overall UI changes.
Windows 11 desktop with new start screen in the center

So far, Windows 11 is shaping up to be an interesting push for Microsoft, though I can’t help but feel it’s taking a few hints from macOS along the way.

Microsoft is expected to reveal Windows 11 on June 24, but a leaked copy of an early build has already been making the rounds. The leaked version doesn’t include every change coming to the operating system when Windows 11 drops, but it does give a good look at some of the big UI changes coming. These changes include a centered start menu more akin to macOS’ dock, as well as rounded corners on many of the File Explorer windows.

Out of curiosity, I decided to load up the version on a machine and give it a whirl. While there still seems to be a lot missing, so far Windows 11 feels like a push towards making Windows feel more like Apple’s computer OS, and I’m kind of here for it.

Shiny New Looks

One of the things I’ve always loved about macOS is the clean look of its interface. It isn’t cluttered with app labels and the like, and that makes for a smooth and decluttered experience. Windows 11 emulates this a lot by forgoing the tried and true labels we’ve come to rely on in Windows for crisp icons. It can be a little confusing at first, but once you know what each icon leads to, the confusion fades away.

Windows 11's new taskbar

The taskbar is also completely centered, similar to the look of the macOS dock and the main taskbar in Chrome OS. You can change it to the left side in the settings, but overall it actually looks clean in the center of the screen. Everything about the UI changes to the main screen feels like an attempt to declutter the screen. As someone who likes to keep a minimum amount of icons on his desktop, I can appreciate the moves Microsoft is making.

Much like the taskbar icons, though, getting used to the new start menu can feel a little disjointed at first, especially when you start interacting with the Windows icon. Instead of launching a start menu, the Windows icon opens up an app tray very akin to that seen in the latest Chrome OS update. It’s a weird change from the standard design seen in Windows 10, but it honestly makes sense with the overall clutter-free design.

Building off the Past

There’s another key point Windows 11 seems to follow that we’ve seen in previous iterations of macOS. While the name might be changing, Windows 11 feels more like a natural progression of Windows 10, instead of a completely new operating system.

Sure, there are the visual changes, and there are bound to be more changes in the final version, too. But, with what’s already there, and how easily it all connects together with a current version of Windows 10, the newest Microsoft OS feels more like an update than the disjointed version changes we’ve seen in the past.

Windows 11's file explorer

Yeah, it isn’t perfect, and there’s a lot that’s going to feel different to people, especially Windows die-hards. But, if you’re like me, and you’ve waited for Microsoft to declutter the operating system, Windows 11 feels like a nice step forward. 

Ultimately, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the OS, though. This is an incomplete look at something that probably won’t be released until the fall, so there’s no telling what other changes Microsoft could make between now and then. 

But, if Microsoft continues with this trajectory, Windows 11 could finally learn a lesson that macOS picked up on a long time ago: not every operating system update has to be revolutionary. Sometimes, we just need to remove the clutter and spruce things up with new features.

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