The Best New Features Of KDE 5.20

KDE have just blessed us all with a new version of their desktop environment bringing us to version 5.20. There is a whole lot of new features and improvements in this new version making for one big update! You can read through this blog post below for some of the more standout features of if you prefer I’ve summarized some of my favorite features in this video ;

So starting with the most obvious we have a brand new default wallpaper. It’s called Shell and was made my Lucas Andrade. Personally I quite like this wallpaper and think it’s one of the nicer default wallpapers we have seen for KDE so far. 

‘Shell’ by Lucas Andrade

Moving down towards the panel area where there has been quite a few changes and improvements. Starting with something that’s not so much a new feature but more a change to the default way of doing things. You will now be greeted with the icons only task manager instead of the more old school windows list. This is a change I think has been a long time coming as it’s a cleaner and more modern approach that saves you a load of extra room on your panel. You can also hop into the settings of the icons only task list and change the default behavior of clicking the active window to minimize, it can now be completely disabled. 

Editing the panel it’s self has all been made easier. You can now resize the panel using a number system as opposed to the old way of doing it where you would drag the panel to your desired size. Using an adjustable number makes more sense and is easier repeated across different computers all using the same KDE desktop. 

The clock now shows the date underneath the time by default in a nice and compact view. This is only a small change but a very welcome one. The system tray pop up now uses a grid like layout instead of a list view which I think looks a lot more appealing and should make selecting them easier for those that are using touch input. The device notifier now shows all disks instead of just removable ones. 

Status and Notifications Grid

A new feature that will make managing do not disturb mode a whole lot easier and intuitive is the ability to enable and disable the function by clicking the middle button of your mouse which is usually your scroll wheel on the bell to trigger the change. 

The onscreen pop ups when changing the volume and brightness level have been redesigned and are now sporting a much cleaner look. 

Now moving onto one of the new features I’m personally most excited about is the improvements made to KDE’s applications launcher, Krunner. You can now have it act as a free floating window and position the pop up to open in a more central position of your desktop instead of being pinned to the top. This makes things feel cleaner and more modern and brings it inline with most other application launchers out there. As well as the visual changes it’s also gained the ability to remember prior searches by default and can now search and launch pages in the Falcon web browser. 

Krunner in central position

The system settings for KDE have seen some new features and improvements which are very welcome. Such as the global and custom shortcut settings being condensed into a single setting simply called “Shortcuts” which helps tidy things up a bit. Settings for Bluetooth and User accounts has been redesigned sporting a cleaner look. System settings can now display settings that have been changed from the defaults. This will display a a yellow dot next to the settings that are different making it easy to see what’s been changed. 

Highlighted changed settings

KDE 5.20 also includes S.M.A.R.T monitoring of your disks which should give users an added piece of mind when using KDE. It will be able to display the health of your disks and give you warning of any potential problems that may arise. 

SMART Status

That’s been some of my favorite new features of KDE 5.20 to read more about the new features click here. What do you like most about KDE 5.20? Let me know in the comments below! 

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