Third-party Windows 11 widgets may soon be a reality
The Windows 11 Widgets pane could be getting a lot more useful with the addition of third-party widgets. According to Twitter user FireCube, a recent update to a manifest file related to Widgets suggests that you’ll be able to download new widgets from the Microsoft Store.
In the manifest file, you can find a message that reads “Download new widgets and widget updates in Microsoft Store”. Based on what we can see in the screenshot, this may be a message that appears when there’s some sort of error displaying widgets, though it’s hard to say for sure. This clearly indicates that users should be able to download new widgets from the Microsoft Store, which could make the Widgets panel much more useful.
— FireCube (@FireCubeStudios) April 13, 2022
Currently, the only options you have for Windows 11 widgets come straight from Microsoft. There are widgets for the weather, sports scores, OneDrive photos, Microsoft To Do, and so on, but that’s about it. If you don’t use Microsoft’s services, it’s not exactly an exciting feature to have. Third-party widgets could allow you to get content from different sources, and add completely new features in general. They could also end up being a replacement for Live Tiles, which allowed apps to display updated information on the Start menu in Windows 8 and Windows 10.
We haven’t been able to find this text string ourselves, but the manifest files for each of the available widgets do include references to getting widget updates from the Microsoft Store. This would also be new, considering you can’t currently update individual widgets from the store. Then again, this text could also be referring to the Windows Web Experience Pack, which is what powers the widgets experience, and that package is updated through the Microsoft Store.
It’s hard to say when third-party widgets might become available in Windows 11, but this change in the manifest suggests Microsoft is at least working towards it. And that’s not the only improvements it’s making, as we recently saw a new full-screen widgets page with multi-account support during the April 5th Windows 11 event.