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Windows Photos gets background blur, search, motion photo support, and other enhancements

Written By published September 14, 2023

UPDATE 9/22: The update to the Photos app for Windows 11 that includes Background Blur has begun rolling out to Windows Insiders in the Beta and Release Preview Channels (version 2023.11090.20015.0 and higher). 

Hello Windows Insiders,

Today we begin rolling out an update to the Photos for Windows 11 to Windows Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channels. This update introduces several exciting new features, as well as other fixes and improvements based on community feedback.

Background Blur

Make the subject of your photo stand out by opening a photo in Edit mode and selecting the new Background Blur option. The Photos app automatically finds the background in the photo, and with a single click, instantly highlights your subject and blurs out the background. You can also customize the effect by adjusting the Blur Intensity or use the Brush Tool to modify the areas being blurred.

Photo background is automatically identified.
Photo background is automatically identified.
Photo background is blurred.
Photo background is blurred.

[ADDED 12/6] At the time of launch, Background Blur capabilities are not available on Arm64 devices. This page will be updated when this feature is available for those devices.

[UPDATED 3/13/2024] Background Blur capabilities are now available on Arm64 devices.

Content search for OneDrive-backed photos

For photos stored in OneDrive (home or personal) accounts, you can now quickly find the photo you’re looking for based on the content of the photo. To use the new content search feature, make sure you’re signed into your Microsoft account, navigate to the OneDrive Personal section, and in the search bar at the top, enter what you’re looking for, for example:

  • Car
  • Beach
  • Birthday
  • Vacation

Known issue: If you are brand new to OneDrive or have not previously used photo search on OneDrive, search may not work right away as OneDrive processes the photos. If you’re not seeing any search results, check back in a few hours and try again.

Location search

You can also now find photos based on the location they were taken. This feature is available to all photos in your collection including those stored in file systems, OneDrive, and iCloud.

Samsung and Google Motion Photo support

You can now view the video portion of Motion Photos captured on Samsung and Google devices.

Video playback in motion photos.
Video playback in motion photos.

Other fixes and improvements

  • Based on community feedback, we updated our up-sampling logic so that images no longer appear pixelated when zooming in by a large factor.
  • Touch support for slideshow is now available. Swipe left and right to easily navigate to the next photo in your slideshow.
  • Edit and Create Video options are now easily accessible at the top of the gallery view.
  • The previous issue where an app restart was required for iCloud photos to start showing is fixed. Once you have enabled photo syncing in your iCloud for Windows app, you will see photos stored on iCloud start showing up.

To get these new features, update your Photos app to version number 2023.11090.13001.0 or higher. As always, we love getting your feedback and will be looking out for your thoughts and suggestions!

FEEDBACK: Please file feedback in Feedback Hub (WIN + F) under Apps > Photos.

Yvonne Hsieh, Principal PM Manager – Windows Photos