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Introducing GNOME 45, “Rīga”

September 20, 2023

The GNOME project is excited to present the latest GNOME release, version 45. For the new version we’ve focused on refining your daily interactions, enhancing performance, and making the overall experience smoother and more efficient. From subtle design tweaks to functional upgrades, GNOME 45 is all about refining the core desktop environment you rely on.

GNOME 45 is code-named “Rīga”, in recognition of the work done by the organizers of this year’s GUADEC conference. Thank you to everyone who helped!

Let’s dive in and explore what’s new!

Activities Indicator

One of the most noticeable changes in GNOME 45 is the new activities button. Located in the corner of the top bar, this button was previously labelled “Activities”. In GNOME 45, this static label has been replaced with a dynamic workspace indicator.

The new button design is a response to user testing results over recent years, and we are confident that its purpose will be more obvious to new GNOME users. As part of this change, the old app menu (which showed the name of the currently focused app), was also retired. This retirement was another response to user testing results, and was required to make space for the new design.

Search performance has been a major area of work for GNOME 45. These performance improvements have been made to a range of apps, including Software, Characters, Clocks, Files, and Calculator. Together, these changes result in faster search and reduced resource usage, which can be seen in both individual apps and in system search.

Camera Usage Indicator

A new camera indicator is a welcome addition to the system top bar in GNOME 45. This shows when a camera is in use, and joins the pre-existing microphone indicator, whose style has also been updated for this release.

The camera usage indicator is an important privacy feature, which joins other GNOME privacy features, including indicators for screen sharing and recording, app permissions, and device security settings.

The camera usage indicator is only shown for apps using the latest camera technologies (namely, Pipewire).

New System Features

Super S

GNOME 45 also includes a collection of new system features and enhancements. These include:

New Image Viewer

GNOME 45 introduces a new default image viewer app. It’s fast and clean, making it a great way to quickly view images. Flipping from one image to the next is smooth and seamless, as are the visuals for zooming and rotation.

The new image viewer is fully adaptive and supports mobile form factors. It can easily be used with gestures on a touchscreen or touchpad: two finger swipes navigate backwards and forwards, pinch zooms an image, and two fingers can also be used to rotate.

Other highlights of the new image viewer include an image properties sidebar, buttons to easily copy or trash images as you view them, and a printing window which allows easy control over layout.

New Camera App

In addition to the new image viewer, GNOME 45 also includes a new camera app. This has an extremely clean and modern UI, with all the controls overlaid over the viewing area. Like the new image viewer, the new camera app works great on both mobile and desktop.

Snapshot, the new Camera app

The new camera app comes with a range of essential features, including the ability to take still images or videos, a button to switch between different cameras, and a built-in viewing function, so you can quickly look at the images and videos that have just been taken.

New Style Apps

Many core GNOME apps are using new interface components in the 45 release. These new components bring a fresh new look, and also perform better across different window sizes and device form factors.

One distinctive style change are new sidebars which occupy the full height of their windows. These look great, and they are also adaptive: change the width of the window, and the app layout automatically adjusts. The new sidebars can be seen in Calendar, Characters, Clocks, Contacts, Files, and Settings.

Many core apps also have an updated header bar style for GNOME 45, including Console, Text Editor, Disk Usage Analyzer, Fonts, Tour, and Web. These now have a subtle shadow that separates the header from the content below.

These more prominent style changes are accompanied by many other small style updates, which can be particularly found in the Calendar, Maps, Files, and Calculator apps.

Files Improvements

Much work has also been done on search in the Files app. This has been given a significant speed boost, meaning that results are now returned in milliseconds, even when searching millions of files. Other improvements to file search include:

Other enhancements in the new version of Files include a new window to choose which columns are shown in list view, more consistent date and time formats in list view, indicators for starred files in the icon view, and faster thumbnail generation.

Improved Settings

Settings includes a range of improvements in GNOME 45:

Enhanced Apps

GNOME’s other core apps contain many new features and improvements for version 45.

In Software:

In Calendar:

In Maps:

Other app enhancements include:

New Circle Apps

GNOME Circle is a group of fantastic apps for GNOME, which the GNOME project promotes and supports. Since GNOME 44 was released, six new apps have been added. These include:

Developer Experience

GNOME 45 includes new features and improvements for developers who are using the GNOME platform. Read the developers section to learn more.

Getting GNOME 45

GNOME’s software is Free Software: all our code is available for download and can be freely modified and redistributed according to the respective licenses. To install it, we recommend that you wait for the official packages provided by your vendor or distribution. Popular distributions will make GNOME 45 available very soon, and some already have development versions that include the new GNOME release. You can also try the GNOME OS image as a virtual machine, using the Boxes app.


The GNOME Project is an international community supported by a non-profit Foundation. We focus on user experience excellence and first-class internationalization and accessibility. GNOME is a free and open project: if you want to join us, you can.