Possible Removal of Two In-Box Apps by Microsoft in Windows 11’s Future

Maps and Movies & TV apps in Windows 11 23H2

Microsoft has released two new builds to the Windows Insider Program today and there is an important change: two Windows 11 in-box apps are no longer bundled. This change suggests that these apps might be removed in a future version of Windows.

In the latest Windows 11 build released to the Canary channel of the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft states, “Starting with this build, the Windows Maps and Movies & TV apps will no longer be installed after doing a clean OS install. However, Insiders in the Canary Channel can still access and update these apps through the Microsoft Store.”

It’s worth noting that the Canary channel is not tied to a specific Windows version. While it is speculated that the channel will eventually be used to test Windows 12, nothing significant has been announced yet. The official description of the Canary channel is that it serves as a preview platform for changes that require longer-lead time before being released to customers. Some of the changes tested in this channel may never make it to the final release, while others could be included in future Windows versions when they are ready.

Therefore, it is uncertain what will happen to Windows Maps and Movies & TV. They might be removed in a future release of Windows 11 or in Windows 12. Alternatively, they may continue to be available through the Microsoft Store, although this availability could also be temporary.

Out of the two apps, Movies & TV is the more interesting one. Currently, it is the only app that allows users to play purchased movie and TV content from the Microsoft Store on Windows 11. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will add this functionality to the more modern Media Player app. If and when this happens, it would indicate the fate of Movies & TV. Additionally, Movies & TV is compatible with the Movies Anywhere service, which may also be integrated into Media Player.

Aside from the app changes, the Canary channel build includes an update to the Windows Setup Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE) that enables users to install a networking driver before proceeding. This is important because completing the Setup requires a Microsoft account (MSA) and an internet connection for sign-in. This build also includes minor changes like a redesigned Delivery Optimization page in the Settings app and the ability to view and edit PNG metadata in File Explorer.

In addition to the Canary channel build, Microsoft has also released a new build, 23580, to the Dev channel. This build introduces some interesting changes such as support for using a local user account (an offline account) with the Copilot in Windows 11 for a limited number of queries before requiring sign-in. The Nearby Share feature has also been improved for users on the same network. Furthermore, there are ongoing fixes for File Explorer, as Microsoft continues to work on improving the app.

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