Microsoft creates Windows 11-flavored Android 12L update

Microsoft Surface Duo reads Kindle

David Imel / Android Authority


  • Microsoft has announced that its Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 have received an Android 12L update.
  • The update brings consistent iconography, colors, and UI controls.
  • It also introduces new features like a pen context menu, updated widgets, improved accessibility, and more.

There was a rumor earlier this month that suggested the Microsoft Surface Duo and Duo 2 could get a Windows 11-inspired Android 12L update. It looks like this rumor has been confirmed as Microsoft has officially announced the update on its blog.

According to the Redmond-based company, the Android 12L-based update will bring a number of improvements to “build stronger connections between Windows and Duo and encourage familiarity through graphics and coherence.” These improvements include a visual overhaul, new features, and user experience improvements.

In terms of graphics, Duo and Duo 2 mimic Google’s dynamic theme language with consistent iconography, colors, and UI controls. This means users can personalize color palettes to match their chosen wallpaper. In addition, Microsoft is adding four new wallpapers to match the Windows desktop backgrounds.

The Android 12L update will also add support for a new pen menu interface. By clicking the end of the Surface Slim Pen 2, this feature opens a customizable window that can quickly show you your favorite apps.

The other improvements Microsoft focuses on in its blog are UX improvements, including updated widgets, accessibility improvements, privacy improvements, and the ability to switch from any phone.

Starting with widgets, there won’t be any drastic differences. However, the update changes the appearance of widgets to make them closer together stylistically.

In terms of accessibility, Microsoft states that the update offers users improved UI elements, contrast optimizations and visibility. These visibility improvements include everything from magnification to brightness and color management.

With the launch of a new privacy dashboard, users now have the ability to track camera, microphone, and location usage by apps over the past 24 hours. Microsoft also gives users the freedom to disable the camera and microphone and choose the accuracy of location data per app.

Finally, there’s the option to transfer data from your old phone to the Duo. By connecting to Wi-Fi or via a cable, you have the option to transfer information from any phone – including the iPhone – to the Duo during the initial setup.

The Duo and Duo 2 have had some erratic performance issues in the past. Hopefully this new update will help make these devices more enjoyable to use.