Microsoft has been hard at work building out Android support in Windows 11. Now the company is testing much-requested features like file sharing and drag-and-drop support.
The Windows Subsystem for Android team highlighted the changes in a new blog post. An update is rolling out to Windows Insiders now that, along with the above features, adds camera improvements and bug fixes. File sharing, in particular, has been a major request, and the team says it’s been listening:
“We’ve been listening to the community, and many of you have been asking us to support sharing files between Windows and the Subsystem. We are pleased to announce that Windows Subsystem for Android™ can now share your Windows user folders, like Documents and Pictures, with the Subsystem, so scenarios like uploading a photo to a social media app or editing a video in a creative app work seamlessly.”
File sharing is enabled by default, allowing Android apps to view and/or edit Windows files with user permission. Speaking of, Android apps will show a permission request dialogue and Windows users will now be able to manage permissions from settings. Plus, Windows will scan all Android apps during installation using Microsoft Defender (or whatever other antivirus software you’re using).
While overall, the addition is good, it does come with some unfortunate limitations. For one, Microsoft will limit the file-sharing support to just the Windows users’ profile folders like Documents and Photos. That means Android apps won’t be able to access Windows system folders, external drives, the Program Files folder and more. Though that will likely prove frustrating for some, the restriction will likely prevent Android apps from doing anything too nefarious or potentially dangerous (like deleting System32). Android apps won’t be able to access certain file types either, like .exe files.
After a stint with Windows Insider testers, Microsoft will likely roll out file sharing to all Windows 11 users. It’s not clear when this will happen, but The Verge estimates it will happen in the coming weeks.