elementary OS 6 is a major upgrade after a few good years of updates to the 5.x series.

While the 5.x series has had numerous feature updates and improvements, elementary OS 6 looks to be an exciting endeavor.

Here, we shall take a look at all the new features and additions that have been introduced with elementary OS 6.

1. Dark Style & Accent Color

elementary OS approaches the dark style theme similar to how mainstream options work, as an opt-in preference. You get to choose it from the Welcome screen right after you install elementary OS 6.

While the addition of a dark mode may sound like something minor, they seem to have put a great deal of effort to provide a consistent dark mode experience overall.

All the first-party applications seamlessly support both the dark style and light theme.

elementary OS will also let the app developers respect the user’s preference in elementary OS 6. So, if the user prefers a dark mode or light mode, the app can adapt to that.

Along with new accent colors available, there is an automatic accent color preference that picks the color from your current wallpaper.

2. Improved Notifications & Redesigned Notification Center

The notifications now support icon badges and action buttons, which should make up for a better experience.

This could let you quickly open links, mark a message read, along with several other possibilities.

Urgent notifications have a new look and a unique sound to help you identify them.

In addition to the notification improvements, the notification center has also been revamped to look better and clean with multiple notifications.

3. Online Accounts

Finally, with elementary OS 6, you will be able to add online accounts from the system settings.

Once signed in, your data will sync across the system apps wherever supported (like Calendar, Tasks).

It should also show up in the system tray notifications.

4. First-Party Flatpak Apps & Permissions View

To improve privacy and security across the platform, elementary OS 6 chose the Flatpak-first approach.

elementary OS now has its own AppCenter Flatpak repository. Some of the default applications come baked in as Flatpak packages and all the applications listed in AppCenter are available as Flatpaks as well.

Overall, this means a better sandboxing experience where all of your applications will stay isolated from each other without accessing your sensitive data.

And, to top it all off, elementary OS 6 adds “Portals” where the applications will request permission to access your files or launch another application.

You also get to control all the permissions from the System Settings.

5. Multi-Touch Gestures

For Laptop and touchpad users, the new multi-touch gestures are going to come in extremely handy.

From accessing the multitasking view to navigating through the workspaces, you can do it all using multi-touch gestures.

Not just limited to certain functions on the desktop, you can interact with notifications, swipe through applications, and can have a seamless system-wide experience with the new multi-touch gestures.

You can customize the gestures or learn more about it from the Gestures section under the System Settings.

6. Screen Shield

With elementary OS 5, some noticed an issue with automatic screen locking when you want to run a time-consuming task or simply watch videos.

However, this changes with elementary OS 6, not only it solves the issue, it brings in a new implementation in the form of “Screen Shield” feature.

So, you can easily keep your system awake without sudden disruptions when watching a video or performing a time-consuming task.

It utilizes GNOME’s daemon settings to have better compatibility with third-party applications.

7. New Tasks App

A new tasks app has been added in elementary OS 6 where you can manage tasks, get reminded of them, and organize them on your system or synchronize it with an online account.

I may not replace it with Planner just yet, but it is a good addition to have baked in.

8. Firmware Updates App

You can get the latest firmware updates for supported devices without fiddling with any other settings.

Just look for the “Firmware” application from the menu to get started.

9. App Updates

Several applications have been updated while introducing new capabilities.

For instance, Epiphany browser was renamed to “Web” and is now available as a Flatpak to facilitate quick updates.

It also includes tracking protection and ad blocking built-in.

Some other notable changes include:

  • The camera app has recieved a new UI overhaul with the ability to switch cameras, mirroring of image, and more.
  • AppCenter not just lists Flatpak apps now but also notifies you when an application has completed installation to let you quickly open it.
  • Files app has also received improvements in the form a new sidebar and list view. Also, a double-click is now required to open a file and a single click can navigate through folders.

Other applications like Mail, Calendar have also received improvements for better online integrations.

10. Improved Desktop Workflow & Screenshot Utility

The multitasking view now helps you clearly distinguish among multiple active windows. And the hot corners view lets you move the window to a new workspace and maximize the window as well.

The screenshot utility can be moved around in the window, not just stuck to the center of the window. You can also drag and drop the image from the preview without needing to save it.

11. Improved Installer

You will notice some new subtle animations, and some efforts have been made to provide a consistent layout of the installer without re-sizing the window.

It isn’t a major overhaul, but they mention that the new installer comes with an improved disk detection and error handling, which should make the installation seamless.

Wrapping Up

elementary OS 6 is an exciting release with several improvements. Even though the look and feel is not entirely different, it has been polished across the board.

I like what they are doing to provide a consistent and beautiful user experience. Also, changes like system-wide Flatpak should make things easier and safer for users.

What do you think about this release? Have you tried it yet?

Ankush Das

A passionate technophile who also happens to be a Computer Science graduate. You will usually see cats dancing to the beautiful tunes sung by him.