How to use Timeline in Windows 10

One of the biggest new features in Windows 10 April 2018 update is the addition of Timeline. The new Timeline replaces Task View, and shows a list of open apps and documents, different desktops and an activity history of all connected Windows PCs, iOS and Android devices. The activity history in Timeline shows files or webpages open on other devices and lets users continue working on them from their Windows PC.

Microsoft’s main focus for Windows 10 version 1803 has been on productivity. Timeline is one of the new features to help users save time while becoming more productive. Since Microsoft does not have a popular smartphone operating system, they have added support for Timeline Activity History syncing with iOS and Android. If you use compatible apps like Word, Edge or others on iOS and Android, and are logged in with the same account in Windows 10, Timeline will show those activities, so you can continue from where you left off. Cortana also supports these cross platform sessions, so it shows up a notification to allow you to resume a session to work on files that were open on your smartphone.

Another way to understand Timeline is that it provides functionality which is similar to Apple’s Hand Off and Continuity features, which work between macOS and iOS.

Using Timeline in Windows 10

To use Timeline, simply click on the button in the taskbar, previously used to invoke Task View.

Timeline button in Windows 10

You should see a screen like this:

Windows 10 April 2018 Timeline View

The top big screens are the currently open apps. You can also add new virtual desktops using the button on the top left, while the button on the top right searches all the apps and activities visible in Timeline. The scroll bar on the right side basically scrolls though your history of apps and documents. Scrolling down will reveal older activity, from your different devices. Click on any of the thumbnails to resume the app, activity or document on your desktop, from where you were last using it on another PC or smartphone.

You can always remove items from your Timeline activity history by right clicking any thumbnail and clicking on remove.

Enable Timeline from Settings

If Timeline somehow does not work for you, it can be enabled from settings. Open Windows Settings and go to Privacy.

Windows Settings - Timeline

Click on Activity history in the sidebar and enable the following settings:

  • Let Windows collect my activities from this PC
  • Let Windows sync my activities from this PC to the cloud
  • Show activities from other accounts

Enabling these settings will ensure that Timeline works as intended and that your usage information is synced between your PC and smartphone.

Activity History

If you do not want to use Timeline and would like to revert to Task View, simply disable these options. Make sure to click on the clear button underĀ Clear activity history too to remove all information from Timeline view.

Windows Settings - Activity History

Note: Timeline requires third party app developers to build support in their apps. Don’t expect Google Chrome and other apps to show in Activity History yet.