Windows 10’s Timeline feature is going away

Windows 10 is officially losing its once-ambitious Timeline feature, Microsoft announced today. Timeline, first launched in 2017, was designed to make it easier for users to swap between multiple devices — transitioning seamlessly from a Windows 10 PC to an Android or iOS phone and back again.

It’s no surprise that Timeline is getting deprecated: it was a feature that heavily relied on Microsoft’s Cortana assistant, which would prompt users to resume tasks from device to device. Cortana was a particularly important part of building out the Timeline experience on iOS and Android devices, where Microsoft (obviously) had less control.

Given that Cortana’s prevalence in Windows has been heavily diminished and the mobile apps completely discontinued, it makes sense that Microsoft would sunset Timeline as well.

The news was announced as part of the changelog for the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21359:

If you have your activity history synced across your devices through your Microsoft account (MSA), you’ll no longer have the option to upload new activity in Timeline. AAD-connected accounts won’t be impacted. To view web history, Edge and other browsers have the option to look back at recent web activities. You can also view recently used files using OneDrive and Office.

Insider build users should already see the changes once they’ve installed the new update, while users on the standard update track should see the removal of Timeline in the coming weeks.

Update, 8:57PM ET: Microsoft has changed its blog post and contacted us to say that Timeline is not actually going away, only “a capability within Timeline that is specific to roaming across devices.” But since the whole point of Timeline is roaming across devices, it still sounds like the feature as we know it is dying. We’re asking Microsoft for clarification. The company’s blog post now adds: “Note: Timeline and all your local activity history still remain on Windows 10.”

Comments

good riddance, never a fan of that thing.

TIL Windows has a Timeline feature.

Instead of throwing poo on the wall and see what sticks, Microsoft should focus on unifying user experience within Windows.

I hated it. Thank goodness. As I use Windows + Tab all the time I hope they improve the speed

I’m a huge fan of Alt + Tab. When my company upgraded everyone from Win 7 to 10 last year (yes it took that long), my co-workers were blown away when I showed them how to use Win + Tab and Alt + Tab.

I would be happy with a version of windows that has absolutely no additional features or fluff whatsoever with the only app installed aside from standard admin tools being the file explorer.

So Win10 LTSC?

Yes, but licensed and supported in such a way that it’s usable on any PC

Oh god, for a second I thought the multiple desktop feature was dying, which I absolutely adore and rely on daily (I work on my laptop, flicking the trackpad at the end of the day to clear all the work off the screen and go back to chill stuff and vice versa is awesome).

The timeline can bugger off, though. Never had any use for it, never needed it and disabled it months ago. Stop cluttering my screen with useless things MS!

I was excited for this feature when it was announced as a useful way of resuming work after a reboot but it barely works or maybe I just misunderstood what the functionality was supposed to be.

So i guess we get better performance because now Windows will not be that active in collecting histories~?

Using Windows 10 for years up to this point…literally never touched this thing, ignored it every time I Win+Tab frequently (big multiple desktop user).

Nice idea in theory, implementation sucked. It just didn’t work well enough with 3rd party programs and if your region didn’t have Cortana-enabled it worked even less well.

Finally! I’ve been trying to disable it since its inception, to no avail. Its UX is so frustratingly bad and those animations have never been quite right. I hope it’s gone for good and we can go back to the (much better) Windows+tab multi-window view option.

I mean there’s a switch to disable it in multitasking setting. I agree, I turn it off.

There’s no way (that I know of) to restore it completely to its pre-Timeline state. If I am missing something that does this, please let me know.

Just go to the Privacy area in Settings, find Activity History and turn it off.

Go to Settings > Multitasking and disable "Show suggestions in your timeline". Then go to Settings > Privacy > Activity history and untick the two checkboxes, turn off the toggle for your account, and if you want, clear your history from your account.

Handoff on Mac/iOS doesn’t feel quite right either. Safari’s iCloud Tabs feature is good though, and I think there’s a clue there: any such feature has to present only a thorough current state, with a simple, consistent UI that doesn’t shuffle the order based on its guess about what we’re trying to do.

Handoff on Mac/iOS doesn’t feel quite right either.

Does it actually work anymore? I can’t recall the last time handoff has given me any options.

Yes. Safari, Podcasts and Notes are the ones I see but the glaring omission is Music which for some reason STILL has no Handoff functionality.

The daddy is of course Universal Clipboard where you can copy on your phone and paste to a computer and vice versa, use this all the time.

Cortana could have been so much more with XBox and Kinect assets in the household.

This even lasted more than it should. It was obvious a year later that not a single developer has supported this feature but that is Microsoft to blame. They should have made this default Alt+Tab experience

It’s too reliant on UWPs. Since the new Edge doesn’t work with it, it looks like they’ll get rid of it anytime soon. Hopefully they can come up with a new view of all the apps open and fix the glitches.

OH NO!
Anyway…

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