After recent updates, Microsoft Photos on Windows 11 takes longer to launch, but Microsoft has a solution. The company plans to automatically run the app in the background as soon as you boot to the desktop. Microsoft believes “auto launch” could help the Photos app deal with slow performance.

For those unaware, Microsoft Photos has gone through dramatic changes over the past few weeks. Microsoft has switched the Windows 11 Photos app from UWP to Windows App SDK, which refers to developer APIs and features that can be used alongside other Windows app development tools.

One of the reasons Microsoft is ditching UWP for Windows App SDK is deeper web integration and performance improvements. In a blog post published recently, Microsoft claimed that the Photos app would be faster after switching to Windows App SDK, but that’s not the case.

In our tests, Windows Latest observed that the Photos app launch time is approximately three times slower.

Photos app slow to launch in Windows 11

As shown in the above screenshot, when you try to launch the new Photos app, which is still rolling out, you will see the “splash screen” with the app icon/logo before you can view the pictures.

I’ve discussed it in my previous article, and things haven’t changed. Despite the obvious performance issues, Microsoft still argues that Photos is faster and makes better use of WebView.

In fact, the image editor in the Photos app is now powered by OneDrive’s web UI, but does that make the app run faster? Certainly not. Instead, it makes calls to Edge WebView APIs, which also contributes to increased resource usage.

Microsoft Photos app in Windows App SDK
The updated Photos app retains the UX

But it turns out Microsoft may have found a “workaround” to the performance issue—sort of.

Photos performance mode

In a new update, Microsoft has added a toggle called “Performance”, which can be turned to allow Photos to run in the background at startup to improve performance. This is an optional toggle, but we wouldn’t be surprised if a future update turns it on by default in the Photos app.

When the toggled on, Photos app-related processes automatically launch in the background, eating up your memory and CPU as soon as you boot to the desktop.

While this change could mean Microsoft Photos will now use resources even when you don’t use the app, it also means the app can launch quickly.

If you’ve Photos app version 2024.11050.3002.0 and above, you already have the new Windows App SDK version, which is slow and buggy. The new performance toggle is only available to those in the Windows Insider’s Canary Channel and requires version 2024.11060.27001.0.

About The Author

Mayank Parmar

Mayank Parmar is an entrepreneur who founded Windows Latest. He is the Editor-in-Chief and has written on various topics in his seven years of career, but he is mostly known for his well-researched work on Microsoft's Windows. His articles and research works have been referred to by CNN, Business Insiders, Forbes, Fortune, CBS Interactive, Microsoft and many others over the years.