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Windows 10's Latest Preview Build Improves Your Phone App

Photo Source: Microsoft

Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18908 to Fast ring members of the Windows Insider Program on May 29. The new build mostly brought improvements to Your Phone, which is supposed to help Android smartphones and Windows 10 PCs function as a more cohesive unit.

Your Phone was announced in May 2018, briefly released in August 2018 before promptly being rolled back to Windows Insider Program members, and then officially released in October 2018. Microsoft continued to improve the app after its launch, too, by introducing screen mirroring in a preview build that debuted in March. Now the company's testing new accessibility features, compatibility with additional phones, and other improvements to the app.

Two accessibility features debuted with Preview Build 18908. The first allows TalkBack and Your Phone Companion to work together and enable better cross-device screen reading by allowing Narrator to read what's on the phone's display if it's moused over via the PC. The second, "focus tracking," allows Your Phone to "seamlessly follow your keyboard focus and mouse pointer input" to make it easy to use apps at specific magnification levels.

Microsoft also expanded Your Phone compatibility to certain Samsung phones. That list includes the Galaxy S10 family, the Galaxy Note 8 and 9, and the Galaxy A8 and A8+. The app's requirements are now as follows:

  1. Certain Android phones running Android 7.0 or greater
  2. Windows 10 PC with Bluetooth radio that supports low-energy peripheral role
  3. Minimum Build 18338 and above
  4. Android phone must be on, within Bluetooth range of the PC, and connected to the same network as the PC

Preview Build 18908 also improved Your Phone's messaging support. The app now supports MMS messages, in-line replies, synced contact images between devices, and an emoji picker as well as an unread message indicator on the Messages node, taskbar, and unread conversations. Your Phone can also sync certain data (photos, messages, and notifications) via mobile data and sports "colorful new icons" on both Android and Windows.

The build also included numerous general changes and the usual grab-bag of known issues. That includes several particularly vexing problems, such as issues with anti-cheat software and incompatibility with some Realtek SD cards, that have been present in the last few builds. This build is part of the 20H1 development branch meant for a major Windows 10 update in the first half of 2020, though, so Microsoft will have a while to fix those problems.