Microsoft has started rolling out a new version of its Photos app for Windows 11, featuring support for Google's WebP image format, among other features. The update is currently available for testing to Windows Insiders, and all interested users can manually download the update for an early exploration of its new features.
The Relevance of WebP
Despite many third-party image viewers supporting Google's WebP format for a significant period, Microsoft's adoption is still noteworthy. The format is frequently used on the internet, and users often encounter it while browsing. As a result, Microsoft's addition of WebP support simplifies the viewing experience for many Windows 11 users.
Jennifer G., a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, confirmed the new support for WebP on the Feedback Hub, responding to user requests. Her statement indicated that the update, currently rolling out to Insiders in the Dev and Canary Channel, addresses user feedback. She also noted that the WebP Image Extensions app must be installed for this functionality.
App Requirements for WebP Support
WebP support is only available in development builds of the Photos app, starting with build number 2023.11050.5007.0. Installation of the free WebP Image Extensions app on the Windows 11 device is also required. Initially developed to add WebP support to the classic Microsoft Edge browser, the WebP Image Extensions app continues to be relevant, despite the Edge browser's switch to Chromium, which includes native support for the format.
Manual Installation Process
Users running development versions of Windows 11 can manually install the updated Photos app using the following steps:
- Open https://store.rg-adguard.net/ in a web browser.
- Configure the form to ProductID, paste 9WZDNCRFJBH4 in the free form text field, and switch the last menu to Fast.
- Activate the checkmark button next to the form to display all available products that match the input.
- Download the Microsoft.Windows.Photos_2023.11050.5007.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe.msixbundle. Note that Microsoft may release new versions, which would change the “5007” part of the version.
- Double-click on the downloaded Photos app file to install it.
Uncertain Timeline for Stable Release
At the moment, it is uncertain when the updated version of the Photos app will be released for stable versions of Windows 11. Microsoft could launch it as part of an upcoming Windows 11 Moments update, as a standalone update, or as part of the Windows 11 version 23H2 feature update.
Our tests confirm that the Windows 11 Photos application can display WebP images seamlessly alongside other supported image formats. AVIF images also now seem to work – at least partially. While some AVIF files open, others still don´t.