Just like every app in Microsoft Windows 11, Edge has a fresh look. It implements some of the Fluent design languages to a greater degree than in Windows 10. For example, dropdown menus now feature an acrylic, semi-transparent material (seen in the right-click context menu dialog above). Another, more subtle modern design material used by the browser is called Mica. It changes the appearance of an element, such as the title bar. It will be based on the color of the window or desktop behind it. You might also notice the window’s rounded corners. Before diving into all the new enhanced features that Edge is offering, let us know more about this browser and why we should use it over Chrome.
What is Microsoft Edge?
When Microsoft Windows announced that it was ditching its web browser code for that used by Google’s sort-of open-source Chromium code, which powers the market-leading Chrome web browser, I was skeptical. Why not just use Chrome, then? After seeing how fast, compatible, pleasant, private, secure, and helper-filled the new Edge in Microsoft Windows 11 is, I’m a convert. Its helpfully customizable home page, speed, Collections feature, built-in screenshot tool, stackable tabs, and progressive web app support are just a few of the browser’s appealing features.
Edge is the default web browser in Windows 11, and there are some Microsoft-specific links that only it can load. You can change the default without too much trouble, but you may not want to, once you see what the new Edge has to offer. Edge also serves as a built-in web viewer for apps that need to access the internet through it. Edge is also available for other platforms, including Android, iOS, Linux, and macOS as well as earlier Windows versions. That means you can sync settings and more between all those platforms starting with Windows 11. Here are a few reasons you should consider using Edge for your browsing.
New update of Microsoft Edge
The latest update means Windows 11 is set to benefit from a bit more visual sparkle as Microsoft Edge 102 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 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, tab stripe, and even the bookmark 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 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 do not see the mica and rounded corners, make sure hardware acceleration is turned off. 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 is visible when you are using the default theme, but it also depends on your device and Windows Settings.
For example, if your device is missing the necessary GPU drivers, you will not be able to use this functionality. Microsoft says it is still working on Windows 11’s design update for Chromium Edge. Also, 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, or 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. Moreover, if you wish to learn about Tracking Prevention in Microsoft Edge, our article can help you greatly.
Safe and Secure Microsoft Windows Edge 11
Edge offers clear privacy options. As with most choices in life, there is a trade-off: The more secure and private the privacy level you choose, the fewer site features and less functionality you get. Strict tracking prevention in InPrivate windows is another good option since you do not want cross-site tracking happening during private browsing sessions.