All Windows 11 laptops will soon need to have a webcam

Laying the law! Microsoft finally unveiled the highly anticipated Windows 11 last night. And anticipating was not the only thing that was high — the new OS has some pretty strict system requirements.

Redmond detailed these on its website, talking about how the new operating system needs newer hardware components and technologies like Secure Boot and TPM 2.0 as a baseline before it can be installed on devices.

But while that was a base overview of things, a more granular look is available in the documentation.

Buried deep inside is the webcam requirement. For now, both front and rear webcams are optional. But a new condition will kick in from January 1, 2023 that will force manufacturers to include a webcam in devices like laptops and tablets form them to be compatible with Windows 11.

All devices will be required to have a forward-facing webcam, save for desktop PCs.

Windows 11 Webcam Requirement

And the specifications of these webcams are also real solid.

Microsoft notes that a webcam should have HD resolution or better, which refers to 720p. That is to say, a resolution of 1280 x 720 and a 1:1 aspect ratio. Furthermore, these cameras also need to have support for auto white balance and auto exposure.

Lastly, the software titan also laid out some rules for devices that come with a dedicated camera button. It should be able to wake up the device when needed.

However, the company gives hardware makers the freedom to include either a dual-action camera or a single-action camera. The former allows users to half press the camera button, while the single-action camera only supports full press.