PC users will be able to access pictures from their iPhones via the Windows 11 Photos app through a new integration announced by Microsoft this morning.
It’s a significant move to bridge Apple’s popular smartphone and Microsoft’s widely used operating system. It also highlights what continues to be a missing link: the inability to access Apple’s proprietary iMessage protocol or Messages app natively from Windows machines.
This gap can make it difficult to transition smoothly between Apple Macs and Windows PCs for iPhone users who like the option to send and receive text messages from their desktop or laptop computers.
Messages is available on Mac but not on Windows. Some Windows PC users opt for Android devices so that they can text via their computers using Microsoft’s Phone Link app or Google Messages on the web.
In a similar way, Google Photos on the web has served as a popular method of connecting Windows machines to photos taken on the iPhone, but the new Windows 11 Photos feature provides a direct link.
The photos integration will be “seamless,” promised Panos Panay, Microsoft chief product officer, announcing the news this morning along with a series of updated Surface devices and accessories. Windows 11 users will need to install the iCloud app for Windows from the Microsoft store and sync their iCloud Photos.
Microsoft says the integration will roll out starting today to participants in the Windows Insider preview program and to all Windows 11 users next month.
In addition, Microsoft said Apple Music will join Apple TV on Xbox consoles, and both apps will officially launch on Windows next year, with preview versions available in the Microsoft Store for Windows PCs later this year.