The latest update means Windows 11 is set to benefit from a bit more visual sparkle as Microsoft Edge 102 apparently brings the experimental ‘Mica’ effect to more areas in the web browser. While Mica or Fluent Design is nowhere to be seen in Chrome, Microsoft Edge continues to benefit from it.
For the uninitiated, Windows 11’s Mica theme is an opaque effect that’s applied to windows or title bars. You can see the desktop wallpaper through an app using Mica and it looks really nice if implemented properly. It’s a fancy translucent effect, but the difference is subtle and the impact on performance is minimal.
If you’re on Windows 11, you can open File Explorer and use a bright desktop background to enjoy the Mica opaque effect. Microsoft Edge also supports Mica and Fluent Design, but it’s not noticeable in most cases. Starting with Edge 102, it is possible to enable a better version of Mica and rounded corners integration in the browser.
As you can see in the above screenshot, Mica is now visible in the title bar, tabs stripe and even the bookmark/favourites stripe. Additionally, Microsoft Edge tabs also have rounded edges now. The Mica integration means less of a performance hit as compared to Acrylic, and the overall idea is to add some shininess to the browser.
To try the new Windows 11’s visual effects in Edge, you can follow these steps:
- Open Edge://flags and enable the experimental flag titled “Show experimental appearance settings”.
- Restart the browser.
- Open Microsoft Edge > Settings.
- Go to the Appearance tab.
- Enable two experimental flags “Show Windows 11 visual effects in title bar and toolbar (Preview)” and “Rounded corners for browser tabs (Preview)”.
- Reboot the browser.
If you still don’t see the Mica and rounded corners, make sure hardware acceleration is turned off in the browser. You can find the hardware acceleration toggle in Settings > System.
Once enabled, Edge will automatically add the Mica effect to the title bar and toolbar backgrounds. It’s visible when you’re using the default theme, but it also depends on your device and Windows Settings.
For example, if you’re device is missing necessary GPU drivers, you won’t be able to use this functionality. Microsoft says it’s still working on Windows 11’s design update for Chromium Edge and you may experience some performance issues.
It is also worth noting that Windows 11 version 22H2 will bring Mica and Acrylic to all desktop apps (Win32).
Developers will be able to choose between Mica, Acrylic and a custom design for the title bar of their desktop apps. Previously, this feature was exclusive to UWP apps and desktop apps developed by Microsoft itself.