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Initial releaseOctober 26, 2012; 11 years ago (2012-10-26)
Stable release(s)
Windows 112024.11020.21001.0 / February 24, 2024; 54 days ago (2024-02-24)[1]
Operating systemWindows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 11, Xbox system software[2]
PredecessorWindows Photo Viewer, Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker
SuccessorClipchamp (for video editing)
Available in65 languages
List of languages
  • English (United States)
  • English (United Kingdom)
  • Afrikaans
  • Albanian
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Azerbaijani
  • Bangla (Bangladesh)
  • Basque
  • Belarusian
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • Estonian
  • Filipino
  • Finnish
  • French
  • French (Canada)
  • Galician
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hausa (Latin)
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Kannada
  • Kazakh
  • Khmer
  • Kiswahili
  • Korean
  • Lao
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Macedonian
  • Malay
  • Malayalam
  • Norwegian (Bokmål)
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Portuguese (Portuga)
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbian (Latin, Serbia)
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian (Slovenia)
  • Spanish (Mexico)
  • Spanish (Spain)
  • Swedish
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Uzbek
  • Vietnamese
TypeImage viewer, image organizer, video editor, video player, raster graphics editor
LicenseFreemium – Free base app, with in-app purchases

Photos is an image viewer and image organizer developed by Microsoft. It was first included in Windows 8 as a functional replacement for Windows Photo Viewer and Windows Photo Gallery.[3][4]

Photo management

Photos is a single-instance app that can organize digital photos in its gallery into albums. The default view is Collection, which is sorted by date. Users can also view items by Album or Folder. The album view shows both auto-generated and user-generated albums. The folder view displays files based on their location in the file system or on OneDrive. Users can choose what folders are displayed and which files are placed in albums.

Photo editing

Photos provides the following basic raster graphics editor functions:

Users can edit with a sidebar similar to the one in Google Photos, which allows them to adjust the photo's shadows, highlights, sharpness, and filters.[5] Further, Photos also allows users to trim, slow down, and save photos from videos.

Unlike Photo Gallery, which autosaves edits, Photos only saves when a user clicks the Save or Save As button. Photos allows users to compare the original file to the file with unsaved changes, and to save the photo with a different name and location.

Video Editor

The video editor was removed from the Windows 11 version of Photos, being replaced by the separate app Clipchamp.[6][7] Video Editor (formerly Story Remix)[8] is a video editing feature built into the Photos app. Intended to replace the older Windows Movie Maker, this feature was added to Microsoft Photos with the Fall Creators Update to Windows 10.[9] Video Editor uses AI and to organize and transform photos and videos into stories. Video Editor allowed users to create videos from pictures and songs. It also contained features to add 3D effects, soundtracks, 3D animations, and styles to the videos.

Photo and video import

The Photos app's photo and video import tool provides the ability to view and select photos that are automatically grouped by date taken and choose where the files are saved.[10]

The Photos app can show individual pictures, display all pictures in a folder as a slide show, reorient them in 90° increments or through a granular control, print them either directly or via an online print service, send them in e-mail or save them to a folder or disc.[5] It supports images in Animated GIF,[11] BMP, JPEG, JPEG XR (formerly HD Photo), PNG, ICO, RAW, PANO, and TIFF file formats.[citation needed] It can also view HEIF images with the HEIF Image Extensions app from the Microsoft Store.


Photos is built from a separate code base from those of Photo Gallery and Windows Photo Viewer. It was first included in Windows 8.0 and had a customizable background and a Facebook photo viewer, both of which were removed in the Windows 8.1 update to the app. It also introduced the ability to view immersive photo PANO files and set a photo as the app's live tile or the Windows lock screen. Like most other apps designed for Windows 8, the controls were hidden until the user right-clicks on the screen.

A screenshot of Microsoft Photos Legacy running on Windows 10.

In Windows 10, Photos originally used a hamburger menu for the photo management interface and to make basic controls visible to users. Unlike most Microsoft apps designed specifically for Windows 10, Photos used round buttons like the ones on Windows 8 for editing. Control categories were listed as buttons on the left side of the app, and specific editing options were listed as buttons on the right side of the app. Folder view and the ability for users to edit albums were added to the app after the initial release on Windows 10 in response to user feedback. Photos includes all features from Windows Photo Viewer except the Burn to Disc feature and may gain more features from Photo Gallery in the future. The original view exclusively featured a dark theme.

A major update in October 2016 replaced the hamburger menu with a ribbon, replaced the radial editing tools with an editing sidebar, and added a full-screen view, ink editing for photos and videos, and a light theme.[12]

In 2022, a new version of the Photos app was released for Windows 11 with changes in the user interface matching the design of Windows 11. This version has significantly different photo editing features. Many features were removed, including the video editor, face grouping, searching things, and browsing by year.[7] The former Photos app from Windows 10 has been renamed to "Photos Legacy" in Windows 11, and can be redownloaded on the Microsoft Store.[13]


  1. ^ Srivatsa, Mala (12 April 2024). "Windows Photos gets Generative erase, and recent AI editing features now available on Arm64 devices and Windows 10". Retrieved 22 February 2024.
  2. ^ "Microsoft Photos". Windows Store. Microsoft.
  3. ^ "How to use the Windows 10 Photos app". TechRadar. Future US. 12 February 2016.
  4. ^ Giret, Laurent (19 April 2016). "Microsoft Photos app gets updated – save still photos from videos and more". WinBeta.
  5. ^ a b Purewal, Sarah (3 August 2015). "Exploring the new Photos app in Windows 10". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  6. ^ Huculak, Mauro (18 October 2022). "How to get started with new Photos app on Windows 11". Windows Central. Retrieved 27 February 2023.
  7. ^ a b Warren, Tom (9 March 2022). "Clipchamp is Microsoft's new video editing app for Windows 11". The Verge. Retrieved 27 February 2023.
  8. ^ "Hands on with Windows 10's Story Remix, the new tool to make your photos pop". PCWorld. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Get Microsoft Photos Legacy from the Microsoft Store". Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  10. ^ Devine, Richard (24 August 2015). "How to transfer your iPhone and iPad photos to Windows 10". Windows Central. Mobile Nations. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  11. ^ Surur (24 June 2015). "Windows 10 Mobile Photos app finally supports GIFs". MSPowerUser.
  12. ^ Sarkar, Dona (7 October 2016). "Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14942 for PC". Windows Blog. Microsoft.
  13. ^ "Microsoft Photos Legacy - Microsoft Store Apps". Microsoft.