Microsoft is bringing the AAC Bluetooth audio codec to Windows 10

Microsoft has added AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) support for Bluetooth audio devices to the latest Windows 10 build released for Insiders in the Dev Channel.

AAC is a lossy audio codec used by Apple devices (e.g., iPhones, iPads) and audio streaming platforms to provide high-quality audio streaming at low bitrates.

“Enjoy premium audio streaming quality wirelessly on your Bluetooth headphones and speakers with AAC codec,” Microsoft’s Amanda Langowski and Brandon LeBlanc said.

Besides adding AAC codec support, Microsoft has also changed the way you switch between different audio device endpoints, merging all endpoints for each audio playback device into a single entry.

“No more clicking through multiple audio endpoints to make your Bluetooth headset’s voice and mic work properly,” Microsoft added.

“We now only expose one audio endpoint in the UI and will switch to the correct one automatically for you for a seamless experience.”

For instance, the taskbar sound menu will now allow Insiders to control the volume for the headset or the headphones profile depending on the context (e.g., listening to music or videoconferencing).

Unied audio endpoint
Unified audio endpoint (Microsoft)

Microsoft has also made some icon adjustments to File Explorer’s address bar and improved the touch keyboard’s animations.

The Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21370 released for Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel also comes with a long list of fixes, including:

  • [News and interests] We fixed an issue where hovering over the news and interests button sometimes may not open the flyout.
  • [News and interests] We fixed an issue where the news and interests flyout may get stuck displaying the loading spinning dots.
  • [News and interests] We made some explorer.exe reliability and performance improvements.
  • [News and interests] We fixed an issue where news and interests may sometimes briefly appear on the taskbar if the taskbar is aligned to the top.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in some Insiders seeing error 0x80092004 when installing KB5001030 – 2021-02 Cumulative Update Preview for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8 after updating to the previous build.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in Insiders seeing error 0x80070005 when installing framework updates.
  • We fixed an explorer.exe crash in the previous flight that could result in issues with the login screen and logging in after resuming from sleep.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in some Insiders experiencing bugchecks with a CRITICAL PROCESS DIED error.
  • We fixed an issue where Narrator wasn’t announcing the error message on the login screen after entering the wrong password multiple times.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in broken characters appearing in text across Settings.
  • We fixed an issue in the last couple flights resulting in Cortana not launching from the taskbar after clicking the icon.
  • We fixed an issue impacting mouse input on the dual boot screen.
  • We fixed translation issues in the –help text in the Windows Subsystem for Linux.
  • We fixed OS upgrades creating copies of and other files when using the Windows Subsystem for Linux.
  • We fixed two issues impacting conhost.exe reliability.
  • We fixed two issues preventing some USB printer drivers from initializing correctly.
  • We fixed an issue where if you sent the VK_HOME virtual key code while the Japanese IME was active and numlock was on, unexpected 7 would be input.
  • We fixed an issue where the Japanese 50-on touch keyboard layout wasn’t inserting full-width space characters correctly when it was in the Shift state.
  • We fixed an issue where the Chinese Pinyin IME was inserting a placeholder string if you selected a cloud candidate while the cloud candidate entry was still loading.

On Thursday, Microsoft announced that the Windows May 2021 Update (21H1) is now complete and prepared for release. 

While Microsoft did not provide an exact rollout date, Windows 10 21H1 will likely be released as an optional update during the upcoming May 2021 Patch Tuesday updates.

Microsoft has also released a Windows 10 19043.928 ISO for testing the May 2021 Update in a clean install of Windows 10 ahead of the official release.