It goes without saying that the original Microsoft Edge (Spartan) was significantly better than Chromium-based Edge on touch-enabled devices. At the same time, Windows 10 offers a feature called “tablet mode” that optimizes the interface of the operating system and apps like Edge (original) to get the most out of a touchscreen PC.
That special tablet mode is no longer available in Windows 11 and Chromium Edge doesn’t have its own tablet mode either…. until now.
Microsoft is apparently working on a special ‘touch mode’ for Chromium Edge on Windows 11 and Windows 10. Edge’s new touch mode, available in the development channel (Canary), may have the potential to significantly improve the browsing experience on a tablet or computer with touch screen.
Available in Edge’s appearance settings, the feature is called “Tablet Mode,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like.
“This setting allows you to choose when touch mode is enabled,” the feature reads. The default mode is “Auto,” which automatically turns on touch mode when Edge recognizes that you’re using your device as a tablet.
The second ‘On’ force option enables touch mode on any device, while the third option ensures that you never accidentally enable the feature.
This is an optional feature and can help users with touch screen PCs to use their devices by touching the screen. For now, Edge’s tablet mode only changes the size of the tab strip, allowing you to easily drag and drop tabs or close tabs without accidentally opening another tab on a touch-enabled PC.
We expect more improvements to Edge’s built-in touch mode in the coming days. For example, Edge touch mode could eventually introduce large icons, a large menu, fewer options displayed at once, and more.
The difference between the two modes would be their appearance. While the classic non-touch mode aims to provide smaller icons and a more compact interface for mouse and keyboard users, tablet mode would largely kill small icons in favor of large icons.
Edge on tablet is a mess according to many users
Tablet mode may not be able to solve the fundamental problems with Edge’s touch experience. As be aware by our reader “NiveaGeForce”, there are several tablet-specific issues with Edge.
For example, Edge doesn’t allow tablet users to “drag tabs from windows with one tab out of the window (it just won’t go) to another window with touch”. Similarly, text selection in Edge on a touch PC is also unreliable and does not follow Windows conventions.
Microsoft officials have confirmed that they are actively investigating these Edge touch issues, but we haven’t seen any significant touchscreen-related browser fixes in recent months.
Other improvements coming to Edge: file sharing
Microsoft Edge is also getting support for a feature called “Drop,” a new way to easily share files across your devices using the browser’s OneDrive integration.
This is also on its way to select users in the Canary branch on Windows and we don’t know when users in the production channel can expect any of these improvements.