Windows 11 Preview Build 22557 Arrives With New Features For Insiders

Microsoft has announced the arrival of Windows 11 preview build 22557, though it's only available to developers who are part of the company's Insider program. Users with access to the latest drop can test out a bunch of new Windows 11 features, not the least of which is live captions, plus there's a big update to the Your Phone app for Android users and "general improvements" that make Windows 11 run better overall.

Windows Insiders who check out the new preview build will find many new features not yet available to the wider Windows 11 userbase, including the arrival of folders within Start's pinned apps region, general Quick Access improvement, a Focus experience that Microsoft describes as "reimagined," the aforementioned live captions available for use with audio from any piece of content, additional touch gestures related to Windows 11 navigation, some snap windows improvements, and more.

The best preview features detailed

Though the update brings many new features, some of them are more notable than others. Touchscreen users, for example, will be happy to hear that Microsoft has added some new gestures that make it easier to navigate within Windows 11 when using a tablet or other touch-based display. Users can now swipe to pull up and get rid of the Start menu, plus there's the new ability to swipe between the "Recommended/More" and "Pinned/All" apps within Start. 

Similarly, users can now also swipe up from the right side of the taskbar to retrieve the Quick Settings menu, then swipe down again to close it. The same gestures now work for the Notification Center, too, plus there's a new "gripper" that appears in full-screen apps, meaning you won't have to deal with accidentally swiping out of an app going forward. Gestures aside, the Windows 11 preview build also brings "Pin to Quick Access" to all "supporting Files," meaning users will no longer be restricted to only pinning Folders.

Another noteworthy addition in this latest preview build involves Windows 11's Focus settings, which are intended to help users quiet down notifications and other distractions so they can get work done. Building upon Focus Assist, users can now use Focus (found in the Notification Center) to choose a specific duration for focusing, then start the session when they're ready to work. During that Focus period, users will see a focus timer on the screen, do not disturb will turn on, and all distractions like flashing apps and taskbar badging will temporarily disappear.

Android users get a special treat

In addition to the new features and general improvements, Microsoft says the Your Phone app for Android users offers a better experience under the preview build. Windows 11 Insiders who utilize this app, which provides access to their Android phone directly on a laptop or desktop, can view their three most recently used apps by clicking "Your Phone" in the taskbar. If you fully open the app, you'll also find a new "recent apps" section, assuming you're running at least version 1.21092.145.0. There is one big catch, however.

Microsoft explains that this new section is dependent upon "a deeper level of integration" with the Android phone. As such, Microsoft has worked with Samsung to bring the new feature to some of its smartphones, namely ones in the Note, Galaxy S, and Galaxy Z Fold/Flip lines. Only insiders who own one of these supported phones will see the new feature.