The new look first launched for mobile devices in June, but now, Microsoft is testing similar changes for the desktop side of Skype. It's not yet complete though, and Microsoft is looking for your feedback. The desktop design is therefore only available in preview right now. Here's everything you need to know about what's different and how to try out all the changes right now.
What's new in the Skype desktop preview?
The Skype desktop preview for desktops has the same features and a similar design as to what's found on the new mobile experience, but it is specifically designed with desktop in mind, to take full advantage of the larger screen, according to Microsoft. For instance, chats are up front and center, but you can still do group calls, with real-time screen and photo sharing.
Here's what's different:
- @mentions, message reactions, and a new notification panel: Microsoft said you're now able to "quickly jump back into conversations where you were @mentioned to see how people reacted to what you’ve said," and you can keep track of your mentions in the notification panel.
- New chat media gallery: It's easier to find your media content, like links and documents and photos, in a chat, thanks to the new chat media gallery.
- Enhanced group calls: You can now drag and drop in group calls and communicate with emojis thanks to new in-call reactions.
Message history: You can still access all the chats and calls you've had on Skype. They're now stored in the cloud for two years.
- Customisable themes: The Skype desktop preview on PC desktops and Macs lets you personalise your conversations with themes. You can use the classic theme or go with a dark theme.
Who can try the Skype desktop preview?
Apple Mac users, as well as Microsoft Windows 10 (November Update and lower) PC users, Windows 8 PC users, and Windows 7 PC users. Microsoft doesn’t appear to be testing the new changes for its Skype Windows 10 Store app yet. Microsoft will officially start rolling out the new Skype to everyone in the coming months - once the preview is finished.
How can you get the Skype desktop preview?
You can download the Skype desktop preview for non-Windows 10 PCs and Macs at Skype Insider. If you’re using the Skype preview app on Windows desktops (not the new Store app), the changes should already be showing up, or you can download the test app here.