Microsoft Edge has recently received an update that unintentionally activated the “touch mode” on Windows 11 and 10 desktops. This mode is designed to enhance the browsing experience on tablets and 2-in-1 devices by increasing the spacing between UI elements such as tabs and icons. However, its accidental activation on standard desktops has frustrated many users.
To revert these changes, users can manually disable Edge’s “Touch mode” option in the Settings > Appearances menu. While Microsoft’s intention to improve tablet browsing is commendable, they need to ensure that such updates do not have a negative impact on desktop users.
I recently opened Microsoft Edge on my desktop and was surprised to see a different appearance. The buttons were wider, the spacing between bookmarks on the toolbar was increased, and the tabs were further apart. This is not what one would expect on a desktop, right?
If you are experiencing a similar change in Microsoft Edge with broader elements or increased spacing between tabs, bookmarks, or the sidebar, it is because Microsoft accidentally enabled the tablet-friendly mode on desktops running Windows 11 and 10. Microsoft Edge has a lesser-known feature called “touch mode” that makes the browser more touch-friendly. When enabled, it increases the spacing between buttons, icons, sidebar, and tabs. While this mode is great for tablets, the recent update mistakenly activated it on regular desktops.
As you can see in the screenshot above, there is a noticeable difference in the size of Edge’s top menu and bookmark bar compared to Chrome; it is almost double. This update also introduced wider spacing between icons on the sidebar. Additionally, the tab section has been adjusted to allow more space between individual tabs, making them almost twice the size. This unexpected UI transformation can be frustrating for regular desktop users.
After conducting tests, it has been found that this “bug” is reproducible across all PCs running Microsoft Edge 117 with default settings. The Microsoft community, including users on Reddit, have also confirmed these findings. The touch mode feature is intended to enhance the touch experience on Edge, but due to a glitch, it is incorrectly applied to standard desktops, wrongly identifying them as tablets.
To revert these changes, you can go to Settings > Appearances and disable the “Touch mode” option. However, Microsoft has not yet confirmed these reports or released a fix to automatically correct the tablet detection issue.
It is evident that Microsoft has a clear plan to enhance tablet web browsing and compete with devices like Chromebooks, especially in the educational sector. While updating Microsoft Edge for 2-in-1s and tablets is a positive step, caution must be exercised when it comes to desktop versions. Power users, in particular, do not appreciate the forced tablet UI changes.