If you can run Windows 11 on the 6-year-old Microsoft Lumia 950 XL, it should come as no surprise that the operating system can run on newer phones as well.
Microsoft released the first Windows 11 preview build to the public this week, and folks have been busy testing the operating system on all sorts of laptops, desktops, and tablets. And since the operating system supports both x86 and ARM processors, some folks have also been installing Windows 11 on other phones with more recent hardware.
Installing Windows 11 on a phone isn’t quite as easy as flashing a custom Android ROM. But the folks at the Renegade Project have been developed a custom UEFI environment that allows Windows to boot on devices with Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processors.
Keep in mind that Windows 11 wasn’t designed for smartphones and that while the user interface is designed for touch or non-touch devices, the icons, toolbars, and other graphics might not scale well to phone-sized displays.
Some hardware may also not be supported out of the box – a Windows 11 on the OnePlus 6T demo video, for example includes a note explaining that WiFi, cellular, audio, and sensors aren’t working. But the touchscreen display, USB port, and Bluetooth are all working, which opens the possibility of using wired or wireless accessories.
You can even run Minecraft and some other games on the phone.
At this point it’s unlikely that Microsoft will officially bring Windows 11 to phones anytime soon. After seeing years of diminishing market share, the company gave up on any sort of Windows software for phones after releasing the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL in 2015.
But that doesn’t mean developers won’t continue hacking together their own Windows 11 smartphones. Work is already underway to bring compatible UEFI firmware to devices with Qulcomm’s 2018-era Snapdragon 855 processor.