In the spring of 2023, Microsoft released an updated Teams desktop client in preview – welcome Teams 2.1! Since that time, multiple modifications have come about and here we are, in October, with the newly released desktop client being made publicly available for Windows and Mac.
The big bang for this new client, according to Microsoft, is that it promises to deliver faster performance, starting up at least two times faster than its predecessor, with less resource utilization, such as a 50% reduction in memory consumption. There is also a handful of new features which should make the client easier to use and satisfy some long running complaints from users in that regard. One of the primary user-focused improvements is this client should offer more support for users who collaborate across organizations and for those who have been looking for easier ways to manage multiple accounts. These users can now not only be logged into multiple organizations and accounts simultaneously, but they can expect to receive notifications for all accounts in one place, regardless of which one they are actively using.
Microsoft says, the new Teams now has “full feature parity for almost all features including custom line-of-business apps, third-party apps, breakout rooms, 7x7 video, call queues, PSTN calling, contextual search in chats and channels, cross-post a channel conversation, and more.”
New Teams offers a simplified and streamlined user experience, that makes it easier for a user to personalize their experiences, stay on top of notifications, and basically just get more done in fewer clicks. The enhanced personalization options will allow Windows and Mac users more control over the user interface.
New Teams will pick your color mode (light or dark) automatically and switch based on your system settings. Microsoft has also improved support for users with accessibility needs/challenges. For those with color sensitivity, the new Teams uses Windows 11 contrast themes, so users can select a color palette that works best for them. Those who rely on keyboard shortcuts or screen readers will see some improvements to optimize their experience as well. Keyboard shortcuts can now be used more effectively by allowing seamless navigation between list items such as activity feed and chat threads, allowing you to get more done with even fewer key presses. For users who use screen readers, enhancements make it simpler to avoid repeated information, interpret the common tasks more easily, and arrange channel conversations more effectively, whether they are original posts or responses to posts, and more. All users will also be able to efficiently keep track of messages and notification activity, with features like "mark all as read” in activity (available now) and "mark all as read” in chats or channels (coming soon).
The new Microsoft Teams desktop client update is also said to be ready for Microsoft Copilot. As a “copilot” in any sense would, Copilot in Teams works alongside you to help you stay on top of your tasks. In Teams chat, Copilot helps you get up to speed on conversations by quickly reviewing the main points, action items, and decisions without having to scroll through long threads. Be more productive in meetings by using Copilot to summarize key discussion points—including who said what and where people are aligned or disagree—and suggest action items, all in real time during a meeting. Copilot can even help you tap into the power of Microsoft Graph to find and use information that's buried in numerous places, such as documents, presentations, emails, calendar invites, notes, and contacts and bring everything together in your Teams app.
While the big bells and whistles of this new version tend to highlight user benefits, administrators have not been left out. The new client will also provide some simplified administrative tasks and improved data security. Microsoft’s focus has been not only on providing high-quality performance and enhancing the basics, but also in areas such as reliability, security, and IT management. Their stated goal is to make sure that new Teams meets the evolving requirements of any organization.
So, how do you get the new Teams?
According to Microsoft, the client became available starting October 2023 and will be rolled out to users gradually over the coming months. Existing Teams users will be updated to the new Teams based on two factors: the Microsoft 365/Teams license assigned to the user and the Microsoft 365 app update channel they’re using. Users are switched once to the new Teams. Afterward, they can switch back to classic Teams if they choose with a simple click of a toggle button. Once the switch to new Teams is made, users can then easily pick up and resume exactly where they left off in chat messages, Teams and channels, and apps.
Sounds easy, right? It can be…if all the right conditions exist and a user chooses to make the switch. You may not want this to be a “user” based control/decision. Some organizations may have more of a desire to control and manage deployment at the organization level rather than letting individual users decide for themselves. That means using:
- Teams update policies to decide when users see the toggle to move to the new Teams or (eventually) are forced to move. For instance, you could decide to use a default update policy to keep the organization on the classic client until Microsoft completes their work to achieve complete feature parity (probably in early November), and you’ve had a chance to decide what precise deployment tactics to follow.
- Tools like Intune to deploy the new client software to workstations.
- Office updates (Teams is included in the Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise).
- Individual user updates (Teams 2.1 is available for download from Microsoft’s website).
The new Teams desktop client will likely be praised and appreciated by many, but as with most software updates, it won’t be perfect. It’s probably a good idea to check out the known issues and be aware of what’s yet to come!
If you’d like to learn more about Microsoft 365 and/or Teams, check out the following courses:
For an introduction to Microsoft 365:
MS-900T01 Microsoft 365 Fundamentals
For Teams administration:
For end users:
We’d love to have you attend courses in person or virtually using our Virtual Training platform. And in case you didn’t know, however you choose to attend these courses, you may also receive a FREE Certification exam voucher to get you moving down the road to certification (some restrictions apply)!
If you have any questions or would like more information regarding courses scheduled at LRS Education Services, please call 877.832.0688 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Penny Morgan, LRS Education Services
MCT, MCSA, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCP
Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals
Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert
Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate
Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate
Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate
Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate