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Home > Windows Phone 8.1: The Massive Changelog!

WP8.1 GDR1

Preview for developers update is here and we have it now on our Lumia 525 and it entirely looks like a different smartphone, post the huge update called Windows Phone 8.1. It is certainly a huge OS overhaul and nearly all settings, start screen and native apps have some changes to report. For your convenience, all Windows Phone 8.1 changes, which we could check and verify are collated in one place on this page.

You should also visit our new Windows Phone 8.1 page, which has all our Windows Phone 8.1 feature coverage, hands-on demo cum settings tutorial videos, tips & tricks for getting more out of Windows Phone 8.1, on one page. We will keep adding stuff to that page, so you must bookmark it if you want to know and learn more about Windows Phone 8.1. Here is the link.

Full Changelog

OS changes & New features:

  • The pull down notification center will be called Action Center
  • Devs can remove, tag, group notifications or replace with a new one. They can also set when the notification expires. They can also enable Ghoast toast notifications, which will appear only in notification center
  • There is a limit of 20 notifications per app and notification for last 7 days or less will be shown. Users will be able to tap on, remove one, a group of or all the notifications.
  • Universal search with Cortana incoming
  • There will be Four Slots (Five for bigger display devices, but needs to be confirmed) found in Quick access settings of Action Center and following apps can be set for quick access,

    *Airplane Mode
    * Rotation Lock
    *Internet Sharing
    *Do Not Disturb
    * VPN
    * Location and
    * Mirroring

  • To support Fingerprint scanner
  • High-grade security
  • Live Lock-screen
  • Dual-Sim support. You can link phone tiles and can have one Phone Tile , call history , and speed dial for both SIMs . Unlinking phone tiles will again make two separate Phone Tiles , call history , and speed dial for both SIMs .
  • Social notifications will now show up in action center by swiping from the top of the screen
  • A native Downloads folder
  • Change default SMS app. You can also change which SMS app will show notifications.
  • Back button doesn’t terminate the app but suspend it just like WinRT
  • Grid View and List View for apps
  • VPN support confirmed
  • Speed dial confirmed. Can have u to 30 numbers
  • Email notification icon has been added to the top taskbar (when mail arrives)
  • Always download full images  in mail
  • Accidental search prevention
  • Separate volume controls for Media+Apps and Ringers+ Notification
  • QHD resolution support
  • Facebook app is in-built into Windows Phone 8.1, but other social network user need to install apps
  • Upload status for photos shown
  • Calendar has not only added weekly view but also yearly view
  • Swype keyboard input confirmed
  • Slide down to close app
  • Pivots, now called Hub, have smaller title. More screen space!
  • File Manager coming. Not activated in the SDK, but mentioned all around.
  • Progress ring from WinRT
  • New YouTube player
  • New USB settings
  • USB OTG support teased
  • Only one new accent color
  • Windows Phone 8 is known as WinPRT
  • Lock-screen has smaller letters
  • IETileManager come to Windows Phone 8.1
  • Speak button for SkyDrive upload (Cortana)
  • Contact filter settings
  • New thread settings and speak option (Cortana)
  • Along with normal updates, there are now “important” updates.
  • Encrypted and signed e-mail support
  • Enterprise enrolled phones can have their passwords changed and remotely locked
  • Geofence monitoring support. Geofence is a boundary around a place of interest to you. Location services can monitor geofences to tell your apps when you’re entering and leaving them.
  • Office Lens support
  • The phone will have to update to the latest version before you can restore it to factory settings
  • Option to update store apps automatically
  • Option to update store apps when only on Wi-Fi
  • Video Calling Support? I don’t know if we will be given choices of which VOIP provider to use. Maybe Skype video calling will be built-in?
  • Password protected Office document support
  • In-call speech commands. You’ll be able to say “Call XXXXXX”.
  • Double-Tap to unlock your phone (Feature from Lumia devices on Amber Update and newer)
  • Lock Notification
  • Quiet Hours to live for some time without notifications
  • Double Tap to Power Off
  • Notification if charger isn’t of adequate power
  • Screenshot button combination is now Power + Volume Up (Since the newer phones will have the start button on screen)
  • Voice Narrator for Accessibility
  • The Search button will be the new way to open Speech instead of the Start button
  • New Email sync options with accordance to usage patterns (i.e. If you get a lot of mail on particular days and if you don’t check mail every day).
  • Wallet supports tickets and membership cards
  • Backups now include application data
  • Screen Reader functionality (Maybe Text-To-Speech for apps?)
  • Screen Recording functionality
  • Inner Circle of contacts. Up to 40 contacts can be in the inner circle.
  • You can favorite photos by tapping a heart icon
  • Virtual SmartCard support
  • Windows Phone 8.1 comes equipped with Earthquake warning system.


  • Cortana, the voice-assistant has been revealed from Leaked SDK code.
  • Some interaction patterns which provide insights into the brains of Cortana. It can tune in music for you, take orders, save alarms and reminders and modify them as well, make calendar entries, write messages and call friends. It can use maps and Bing search to find nearby restaurants, places of interest. It can search your phone and web as well ( Universal search hinted again ).
  • Cortana is really smart and it can not only handle your orders smartly but also surprise you with some Jibes and offer smarter suggestions. Some of the examples extracted from the SDK query.
  • Cortana will not work when power saving kicks in.
  • You can turn off Cortana and will stop receiving the reminders, alerts and ideas.
  • Cortana is tightly integrated to Bing Account and the profile data saved with Bing Account remains synced across devices. Even if one deletes the data on phone the cloud profile data remains intact.
  • Cortana’s language can be changed. Extracted Icon pack shows its various icons for different functions.
  • Cortana can save some data on her personal notebook based on your usage! This includes your name, inner circles, your reminders, etc. You can select to clear the data on her notebook!
  • Cortana saves the things she learns about you in the cloud as well as on your local device.
    You would be able to rename Cortana (and this was confirmed by Microsoft in an interview about virtual assistant) .
  • Cortana will handle your calls and texts and will silence other notifications during those “Quiet hours”. You can turn it on or set it to turn on automatically.
  • Cortana can get really friendly if you set the settings to ‘personal greetings
  • Cortana seems will arrive with support for 15 languages In total
  • Cortana may have both Male & Female Avatars
  • You can delete Cortana, if you wish so.
  • Cortana will have a Live Tile


  • In Windows Phone 8.1, if you wish to share from within an app, you will be presented with options of all apps which can share the content you want.
  • Document sharing now is not limited and all the apps which have sharing contract will share it. So, NFC, WiFi direct all come into picture.

Customization & Tiles:

  • Two kind of customization options. Only theme customization and start screen+ theme customization.
  • Change the size and amount of tiles on your start screen. 3 mid-size tiles in a row for all.
  • Me Tile not excluded from People Hub
  • Customizable start screen Background
  • Navigation bar with settings to hide or match accent color
  • Pictures can be set as background


  • Browser upload
  • Browser password manager
  • WebGL support
  • Better HTML5 support
  • Stop / Refresh buttons in the address bar
  • Reading mode and options of browser color and font size selection
  • Tab Syncing, no limits on number of tabs
  • InPrivate Browsing

Storage & MicroSD card:

  • Apps installation on SD Card and installed apps on phone can be moved to SD card
  • Apps installed on SD card leave ( get removed) when you remove the SD card
  • Installed apps from phone can be moved to MicroSD card and vice-versa is also true. On resetting the phone MicroSD card data will also get erased.
  • Chkdsk for SD Cards essentially
  • Apps on SD Cards are only allowed from ONE originating phone. If it detects that apps from another phone are installed on the SD Card, then it will ask to delete those first

Settings changes:

  • Settings for Language, Region, Find my phone have many changes
  • Ease of access has a separate browser settings view now. Can allow zooming on all web content. Speech can be used to access the Phone.
  • NFC can now save “Apps that you trust. Trusted app list for NFC that will remove the need for asking whether you want to open a particular app.
  • Auto-download MMS
  • Location request indicator
  • Default voice navigation app can be changed in Maps (Cortana)

New Apps & Apps related changes:

  • App Suggestions by location
  • Apps suggestions based on your Facebook profile
  • Manual App Update checks
  • App Syncing
  • Operators can also install certain applications once a SIM card is detected
  • Wifi sense. Sharing secure WI-Fi Networks with contacts if they have Wi-Fi Sense. They don’t get to see the shared password though
  • Camera app has 3 new mode: camera, burst and video and customizable viewfinder. One can choose which buttons to see in the UI
  • Battery sense (see what apps are taking the charge)
  • Data sense, Operators can now control data sense limits remotely
  • Storage sense
  • New podcast app
  • Music & Video apps are exactly like Xbox music and video apps
  • WP8.1 apps not compatible with WP8 devices without running WP8.1 update. WP8.1 devices can run WP8 apps though

Unifying Windows RT & Windows Phone:

  • Universal apps or Blue shared apps: Target both Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows RT stores with a single app
  • Shared development platform for rendering right app to right form-factor
  • Tiles and notifications are cross-platform or Universal
  • Converged UI controls for easy apps development