15 April 2021 ⋅ 7 min read
Introducing Zorin OS 16: Test the Beta Today
Say hello to our most advanced release ever. Loaded with new features and improvements to take your computer to a whole new level.
We’re thrilled to finally share our next giant leap with the release of the Zorin OS 16 Beta today. We paid close attention to your feedback when designing and crafting Zorin OS 16 to bring you our greatest and most refined computing experience ever.
A stunning new look
Zorin OS 16 has been refreshed with a revamped and refined appearance out of the box. We’ve introduced a new, more polished default theme that’s easier on the eyes. You’ll find detailed touches and delightful animations throughout the system that elevate your computing experience.
We’ve also introduced new artwork and desktop wallpapers. Out of the box, you’re greeted with a dynamic wallpaper that changes based on the time of the day.
The lock screen now displays a blurred version of your desktop wallpaper.
Faster and smoother performance
Speed has been a top focus in Zorin OS 16, so the desktop runs dramatically snappier on a wide range of hardware, old and new. Performance optimizations have been made at every level of the operating system, from the kernel to the desktop environment. Apps open faster, animations are smoother, and loading times are reduced so you can spend more time being productive.
A larger app library: Flathub is now included
You’ll notice that even more apps are available to install from the Software store in Zorin OS 16 than ever before. This is thanks to the addition of the Flathub repository to Zorin OS out of the box. Flathub is the de-facto standard repository from where to get apps using the Flatpak package format. It has flourished into a huge ecosystem of apps and games from many independent developers, as well as software directly from big names like Spotify, Zoom, and Mojang.
Now Zorin OS comes pre-loaded with the app catalogs of Flathub, the Snap store, and the Ubuntu & Zorin OS APT repositories, as well as the capability to install .deb & AppImage packages and Windows apps (optionally using WINE). Thanks to this, Zorin OS 16 has the largest library of apps available out-of-the-box of any Open Source desktop ever.
The built-in Software store has also received many under-the-hood optimizations as well as user interface improvements to make it even easier to find and install apps from different sources. If an app is available from multiple sources (such as Flathub and the Snap store) you can choose a different source from the “Source” menu on the app listing page.
Nevertheless, the Software store maintains its simple and unified user experience, so you can find & install the latest versions of the apps you want with one click without needing to think about which source or app package format to use.
Get started easier with the Tour
The new Tour is the best place to learn your way around Zorin OS. When you log in for the first time, the Tour will guide you through the basics of how to use and customize the desktop, connect your online accounts, link your phone with your computer using Zorin Connect, and install the software you need to work and play. It’s the most welcoming way to go from newbie to Zorin OS pro and to set up the desktop to work best for you.
Navigate quicker with touchpad gestures
If you’re using a laptop, moving between your apps and workspaces is even quicker and easier. Zorin OS 16 introduces multi-touch touchpad gestures, enabled out of the box. Now you can switch between workspaces with fluid 1:1 motion by swiping 4 fingers up or down. Pinch on the touchpad with 3 fingers to open the activities overview and instantly see every app running on your workspaces.
New Sound Recorder app
The new Sound Recorder app provides a simple and beautiful way to record audio and speech and play it back. Whether you’re creating a voice memo for yourself or producing a podcast, the Sound Recorder app adapts to your workflow and makes recording audio effortless.
A more customizable taskbar
The Zorin OS 16 desktop is now more customizable than ever, thanks to new settings for the taskbar and panel. Simply right-click on the taskbar to access the Taskbar Settings, where you can now:
- Move the panel to the left or right side of the screen, in addition to the top and bottom
- Set the panel’s transparency and size
- Display the panel on multiple monitors
- Show/hide and move the panel’s buttons and indicators
- Choose to only display taskbar icons for apps running on the current workspace or monitor
- Change the behavior when clicking or scrolling on app icons in the taskbar
- Show/hide window previews and tooltips when hovering over taskbar app icons
- Automatically show/hide the panel intelligently
Redesigned Zorin Appearance
Speaking of customization, we’ve now made Zorin Appearance even easier to use and navigate. Zorin Appearance allows you to select a different desktop layout, change the app and icon theme, select your desktop font, and make other tweaks to your desktop to make it truly yours.
In Zorin OS 16, we’ve refreshed the app’s layout to make it even easier to find customization options, with the category tabs moved from the top to the left side of the window. Desktop layouts have also been separated into a dedicated tab, and you can now set the size of desktop icons independently from the Files app.
Coming Soon: New Windows 10X-like desktop layout
We’re introducing an all-new desktop layout in Zorin Appearance which resembles the default interface in Windows 10X. It features a modern and streamlined UI that adapts well to computers with touchpads, mice, or touchscreens. The new grid menu, taskbar icons, and the activities overview button are placed front and center for easy access and effortless navigation on screens of all sizes. The Windows 10X-like desktop layout will be available as an option in Zorin OS 16 Ultimate, which will be released with the initial stable release of Zorin OS 16 this summer.
Undoubtedly the most groundbreaking and revolutionary feature we’ve ever included, Jelly Mode will fundamentally change how you use your computer forever 😁. When enabled, windows wobble when moved around the desktop and squeeze into their app icons when minimized. You can enable Jelly Mode from the Interface tab in Zorin Appearance to give your desktop a more fluid and playful feel.
- Fractional scaling for high-resolution displays
- Star files for easy access in the Files app
- Better fingerprint reader support with simpler setup
- Unread message badges and progress bars in taskbar icons
- Display a QR code to easily connect your devices to your computer’s Wi-Fi hotspot
- The Settings app now has a refreshed category layout that’s easier to navigate
- Easily create app folders in the app grid by dragging apps onto each other (Touch, macOS-like, and Ubuntu-like desktop layouts only)
- Switched to the new Photos app for simpler photo management
- Disabled built-in tracking and telemetry in Firefox for more privacy-respecting web browsing
- Flicker-free boot experience (on supported hardware)
- Improved support for newer hardware
- Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
This is only scratching the surface of what’s new and better in Zorin OS 16. With the consolidation of hundreds of new features and improvements in this release, Zorin OS 16 is the clearest manifestation of our vision we set forth over a decade ago: to combine the most powerful desktop technology with the most user-friendly design.
Zorin OS 16 will be supported with software updates and security patches until April 2025. This makes it the perfect choice for large deployments in businesses, schools, and organizations.
How to test the Zorin OS 16 Beta
You can download the Zorin OS 16 Core Beta today from the link below. Other editions of Zorin OS 16 – such as Lite, Education, and Ultimate – will be available over the coming months.
Warning: Please keep in mind that this pre-release is not recommended for installation on production machines as there may be stability issues.
Download Zorin OS 16 Core Beta
If you notice any issues or would like to suggest any improvements while using the Zorin OS 16 Beta, please leave us feedback about it. You can do so by clicking this Feedback link or by launching the “Send Feedback” icon in the taskbar in Zorin OS 16 Beta.
Your feedback will allow us to improve Zorin OS 16 even further for the full stable release coming this summer.
We hope that you’ll enjoy using the Zorin OS 16 Beta, and we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback!
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