Windows 10 will soon get even smarter at detecting when you're nearby

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When the next major update to Windows 10 (opens in new tab) arrives this fall, users will be able to natively configure the way in which Microsoft's operating system can detect if a person is in front of their laptop.

The software giant first added APIs for a feature called “human presence (opens in new tab)” to Windows a few years ago and hardware makers such as Dell and Lenovo are currently including it in their business laptops (opens in new tab)

With human presence enabled, the feature uses a system's hardware and operating system to detect if someone is in front of a laptop to improve ease of use while also enhancing security. Currently though, users must rely on the software from their device manufacturer to manage human presence on their laptops but this will change with the next release of Windows.

Human presence

Microsoft is in the process of adding native controls for human presence to Windows 10 in its upcoming Sun Valley or 21H2 update (opens in new tab) that will arrive in October.

The next update for Windows 10 will include Group Policy and Settings to manage the feature. According to a screenshot seen by Windows Latest (opens in new tab), Microsoft is working on adding three new settings for human presence to its operating system in the form of Force Instant Lock, Force Instant Wake and Lock Timeout.

With Force Instant Lock enabled, Windows will automatically lock your laptop if you move away from the screen. This setting uses your device's camera sensors to sense whether you're sitting or standing in front of it or if you've walked away from your computer. Force Instant Wake enables touch-free logins when you sit down in front of your laptop while Lock Timeout will lock your device after a specific amount of time has passed. 

Whether you're working from home (opens in new tab) or at the office, Microsoft's human presence feature can prevent others from spying on the contents of your laptop if you decided to step away from the device without closing its lid first.

Via Windows Latest (opens in new tab)

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.