Windows 11 gets new “Presence Sensing” privacy settings

Windows 11 is getting integrated with new Presence Sensing privacy settings, using sensors it determines whether a user is near a device.

Microsoft Windows 11

Windows 11 Presence Sensing may lead to automatic actions like locking the device when the user’s presence is no longer detected

Microsoft has announced Windows 11 Insider Preview build 22624.1610, bringing the new ‘Presence sensing’ privacy setting that allows users to control whether applications can detect when actively interacting with the device.

Remember, the feature is for PCs that are equipped with a presence sensor and only apps built with the presence sensor will be able to detect if a user is in front of the PC and will have to request permissions first.

Users will be able to check which apps are sensing their presence in the privacy settings area in the Windows Settings app, which can be accessed at Settings > Privacy and Security > Presence sensing. From here, users can toggle which apps have access individually or turn the feature off entirely.

Windows 11 Presense-Setting 1

The Presence Sensing Settings page also shows a list of recent activity which is useful to check which apps have accessed the functionality on the device in the past. However, the listing is limited to the activity of the past seven days, and lists access chronologically.

Furthermore, Microsoft notes that it is not collecting any images or metadata, and all processing “is done locally on the device hardware to maximize privacy”. The company also says that application developers may start using the newly created API to integrate presence-sensing capabilities into their applications.

App developers with devices with compatible presence sensors can target apps to request and read user presence information after requesting a human presence capability.

if interested in checking it out here is the main API page. Here is the full changelog of Windows 11 build 22624.1610:

  • We are introducing new presence sensor privacy settings and APIs. If you have a device with compatible presence sensors, you can now manage your privacy and block/allow certain apps from accessing these sensors. No images or metadata is collected by Microsoft and all processing is done locally on the device hardware to maximize privacy. You will find these settings under Settings > Privacy & security > Presence sensinghere if your device supports it. App developers with devices with compatible presence sensors can target apps to request and read user presence information after requesting a human presence capability. Learn more about the API here.
  • Windows Insiders can help us preview a new experience we’re working on. Insiders will begin to see a new toggle under Settings > Windows Update for “getting the latest updates as soon as they are available”. This new toggle is meant to be used in the Beta Channel to allow Insiders to switch more seamlessly to the enablement package. Insiders in the Beta Channel who are on Build 22621 and toggle this on will get updated to Build 22624 via the enablement package. Insiders in the Beta Channel already on Build 22624 and toggle this on will see a “Windows configuration update” offered via Windows Update that is designed to help us make sure this new toggle is connected to our backend services correctly. This configuration update introduces nothing new for Insiders.
  • Fixed an underlying issue which was causing a noticeable increase in explorer.exe crashes in the last flight for some Insiders.
  • This update addresses a compatibility issue. The issue occurs because of unsupported use of the registry.

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