Microsoft will force all Windows 11 laptops to have webcams in 2023

Microsoft will force all Windows 11 laptops to have webcams in 2023

Following the Windows 11 announcement earlier today, Microsoft revealed the minimum hardware requirements for the operating system. These include 4GB of RAM, a 64-bit processor, and an HD display. However, one requirement is particularly interesting, though it’s not in place just yet. According to a support document, Microsoft will require all Windows 11 PCs except desktops to have a front-facing webcam starting from 2023.

Windows 11 hardware requirements saying a webcam is necessary

The document links to a downloadable PDF with minimum requirements for Windows 11. According to the page, these requirements are necessary to do the following:

  • Boot and run Windows
  • Update and service Windows
  • Provide a baseline user experience that is comparable with similar devices and computers

To clarify, Microsoft defines a “desktop PC” as a device in a tower case without any display outputs. That means that every laptop, as well as convertibles and all-in-one PCs, will need to be packing a user-facing camera. To be fair, most laptops already do have webcams, and, especially today, they really should. In a time where remote meetings are more prevalent than ever, it’s fair to consider a webcam a requirement.

However, some laptops do pass on that inclusion. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 and TUF Dash F15 are prime examples, and in both cases, our reviews docked points for that omission. It’s a way of cutting costs for devices that aren’t geared towards users who participate in a lot of meetings. This requirement could result in some price increases being passed onto consumers.

It’s not just any camera that’s required, either. Microsoft will require that the front-facing webcams equipped on Windows 11 laptops support HD resolution, and they also must support auto white balance and auto exposure. In Windows 10, if cameras were included, they were only required to support VGA resolution. What hasn’t changed is that the cameras have to support at least 15FPS capture in lighting conditions over 200 lux, and 10FPS for low-light scenarios.

Of course, this only applies to new Windows 11 PCs being made after this date, so it’s not like your laptop will stop being supported if it doesn’t have a webcam. You just won’t be able to find any Windows 11 laptops without webcams in 2023. If you’re worried about privacy, though, a few laptops include physical kill switches for the camera so it can’t be used by anyone.

Featured image: the ASUS TUF Dash F15.

Update: This article was updated with additional context.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Writer at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.