Microsoft reportedly killing the back button in Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft is bringing back the Start button in Windows 8.1, but it may be preparing to kill a different kind of button in the next major update for its smartphone operating system, scheduled for release early next year.

According to a new article by Paul Thurrott, a source has revealed Microsoft plans to get rid of the physical back button in Windows Phone 8.1, as users "don't realize what they're doing" when using the button multiple times. The button is also responsible for opening the multitasking screen in Windows Phone, with users holding the button down to see a series of tiles showing recent apps. Thurrott's source didn't say how the screen would be opened with the back button gone.

Currently, Microsoft uses a "back stack" navigation system in Windows Phone, with a press of the back button returning users to either the previous "page" in an app or closing the app if a user is on its first screen. If a contextual menu is open, pressing the back button will close the menu. 

In addition to the removal of the back button, Thurrott said his source revealed Microsoft will add support for devices with up to 10-inch screens. Microsoft will soon support devices with up to 6-inch screens when it releases the GDR3 update, which is expected to be released around the time of Nokia's 6-inch Lumia 1520. That smartphone and others will likely be revealed at Nokia's Oct. 22 press event. The decision could have implications for the company's flagship Windows operating system, as Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 will support tablets as small as about 7 inches.

Whether Microsoft merges Windows Phone with Windows remains to be seen, but the company has strongly hinted at the possibility, saying it will create a unified app platform for all its operating systems.

Other improvements scheduled for Windows Phone 8.1, according to Thurrott, include multitasking improvements for notifications and background processes. A notification center has long been rumored for the update, with alleged screenshots of the function being leaked in recent months.

Thurrott says to take the source's claims "with a grain of salt" but adds that the information appears credible.

Source: Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows

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Wondering if Paul is just confused again...

(Remember he once thought and argued that MS would have to build 20 different versions of the NT kernel for every specific ARM device when the WOA was made public as he thought the HAL did the exact opposite of providing architecture independence.)

With Windows 8.1, Microsoft has revised how Apps appear to be running. This model removes the concept of 'open' 'close' Apps to be maintained by the user, as the OS itself is smart enough to manage resources without user intervention.

I am wondering if Microsoft is just removing the ability to 'close' Apps via the Back button. This is essentially what has already happened on Windows 8.1 and in theory would also happen on WP 8.1.

So on WP 8.1, hitting the back button to 'close' the App, only throws it to the not active list, rather than actually closing it. Since background applications don't get CPU cycles unless they specifically register for them, the App would be suspended, but not closed, and still not using any system resources.

In the 'old' days of computing, users had to manage opening and closing software and opening and closing documents and hitting 'save', all of which the OS can manage for the user, as the need even for 'saves' is something the OS can manage with versioning.

Look at OneNote, there is no concept of 'save'. Data/changes are stored, and changes can be undone, save is no longer necessary in this new generation of Apps on WinRT or WP8.

Users managing what is 'running' is something they should no longer have to do as well. Even on WP8 today, people that come from iPhone or Android are overly aggressive with 'closing' the Apps they are using. There is no need, as the OS manages the Apps for the user.

You can test this, find a novice WP user, that never hits the back button to 'close' an App, and instead just hits the Windows Button on the phone to navigate through Apps. They will have a ton of Apps open, but the OS is managing them. They aren't consuming resources or hurting their battery life, as they are just 'suspended'. So instead of a full 'initialization' that happens when opening, Apps should only know one startup procedure that should be essentially the same as their 'resume' from suspend code.

I think Paul is just a bit confused, as usual.

Actually what PT reported is:
"Microsoft will apparently remove the Back button from the Windows Phone hardware specification with 8.1"
which has much broader implications than just closing apps in the background.
Besides it is rumored, therefore something to be taken as such, that GDR3 will add a "Red cross" to close apps in background.

Mobius Enigma said,
Users managing what is 'running' is something they should no longer have to do as well. Even on WP8 today, people that come from iPhone or Android are overly aggressive with 'closing' the Apps they are using.

I'm a bit surprised you'd say that. The model you describe is exactly how it's worked on the iPhone for six years now. In fact, Apple took a lot of flack for the decision to make the application lifecycle management transparent to the user, since it put a lot of restrictions on what third-party applications were able to do in the background.

CSharp. said,

I'm a bit surprised you'd say that. The model you describe is exactly how it's worked on the iPhone for six years now. In fact, Apple took a lot of flack for the decision to make the application lifecycle management transparent to the user, since it put a lot of restrictions on what third-party applications were able to do in the background.

Let's be clear on a couple of things..

The iPhone didn't offer multi-tasking to 3rd party applications. Their model was NOT to remove the user aspect of managing background Apps or automatically saving data. Apple's iOS multi-tasking model is a bastardized version they directly took from the WP7 team.

Having Apps 'open' on iOS consumes resources that are NOT consumed on WP or Windows 8.1. So Apple has a ways to go before they can start to push this 'model' on to their users without having affecting performance/battery life/etc.

There is no way MS is not allowing the current WP8 devices to upgrade to WP8.1
They would loose to much goodwill from the people.
I know they only have 3% world wide but still, they are actually doing really well in some countries. Think some in Europe are close to or even above 10%.
They can't **** off all those people, that would be the end of WP

true, but if you think about it android did exactly the same thing with 2.2 to 3 to 4. they broke compatibility. even now new phones like galaxy nexus are stuck with older version. but it definitely hurts ms because market for WP is very fragile, anything like this will cause massive outrage.

Way to go MS. Implement a feature all your users use and then take it away. Sounds like the same thing that was done with the "Start" button. Who is making these decisions?

Initially sounds like BS but now that I think about it, not so much. If they're unifying Win8 and WP8 more then a swipe gesture is going to make more sense. I DO like the back/search button but if they made the function work via gesture then no big deal. Also, WP isn't widely adapted yet so ticking off a small % of users is better than hacking off a large %. Time will tell.

Furthermore, my wife uses the back button but NOT the search button. I can say that I don't like accidentally hitting those buttons either. I think maybe leave it up to the OEM as to whether or not a button is added? I just hope the 920 will work with 8.1. If not, perfect excuse to upgrade.

laserfloyd said,
Initially sounds like BS but now that I think about it, not so much. If they're unifying Win8 and WP8 more then a swipe gesture is going to make more sense. I DO like the back/search button but if they made the function work via gesture then no big deal. Also, WP isn't widely adapted yet so ticking off a small % of users is better than hacking off a large %. Time will tell.

Furthermore, my wife uses the back button but NOT the search button. I can say that I don't like accidentally hitting those buttons either. I think maybe leave it up to the OEM as to whether or not a button is added? I just hope the 920 will work with 8.1. If not, perfect excuse to upgrade.


920? Although with more concerns than before I could agree with you but.... What about people who just bought a 1020, who are going, me included if a worth upgrade to the 920 will be announced on the 22nd, to buy one of these new devices?

The way I see it, make all of the planned changes (rumors included) now while the adaptation rate is still low for Windows Phone. Take the lumps and bruises now while it is early in the game, and then come out with a combined Windows Phone , Windows RT smartphone - hardware designed by Nokia's Service and Device division - ASAP.

It will be a lot easier to swallow a small pill then a big pill.

RommelS said,
The way I see it, make all of the planned changes (rumors included) now while the adaptation rate is still low for Windows Phone. Take the lumps and bruises now while it is early in the game, and then come out with a combined Windows Phone , Windows RT smartphone - hardware designed by Nokia's Service and Device division - ASAP.

It will be a lot easier to swallow a small pill then a big pill.


I am not so sure that the platform could survive another "Reset"....

I know what you mean, but the way I am seeing this now, MS has made some bad decisions along the way, and now bringing the platform to where they want is forcing everyone to change the way they are doing things. Granted, I don't mind the change because if you are in IT, you have to keep an open mind.

But part of that is wishful thinking that they can still deliver a Surface Phone.

RommelS said,
I know what you mean, but the way I am seeing this now, MS has made some bad decisions along the way, and now bringing the platform to where they want is forcing everyone to change the way they are doing things. Granted, I don't mind the change because if you are in IT, you have to keep an open mind.

But part of that is wishful thinking that they can still deliver a Surface Phone.


Every reasonable person could only agree that so far the platforms development at MS has been/ maybe still is a disjoined process and these efforts to harmonize them will bring a lot of benefits but I would wait at least before WP9 before having another reset. Let us keep in mind that the previous one was just one year ago.

I have no knowledge of app development for wp other than snippets I've read, but can the bottom bar (available in all apps) not have a back button added to it by MS that will show in all apps?

that will make the back cycle more app specific and will benefit some scenarios (say you've been browsing sites, then do something else and go back to browsing, the back button will then not cycle through previous web pages because the last thing you did was go to the home screen and into another app. So making it app specific will give you true per app back tracking and will make more sense to people in general, or so i think.

I think they are going to get rid of both to mimic Windows RT devices for compatibility. search is no big deal but back button breaks so many apps, that's why they put it in news.

Maybe they will soon merge WP8 with W8 RT. Switching app now can be just swiping from from the left. That would be awesome.

In a way this makes perfect sense. Windows 8 and WP8 are supposed to become more similar. And merge eventually, at least the ARM version (RT) I supposed to merge with WP8, and Windows 8 will at least look the same as the RT/WP successor.

Windows 8 doesn't have a physical backbutton either. So it makes sense to bring both platforms closer together. Windows 8 already took the visual cues for hidden UI elements from Windows Phone 8. So it really seems they are bringing the best of both worlds to both platforms.

Hopefully this means WP8 will also have Windows 8 gestures. Such as swipe from the left to quickly switch between apps. And swipe from the bottom to quickly open the appbar. In which case it makes sense to deactivate the back button, users need space to swipe up from.

I wonder if this means that WP8 will also get a Share and Setting button to go with Start And Search. Those seem like Windows 8 charms that would also be useful on WP8.

If its true that the back button gets deactivated then WP8.1 could really be a huge update.

I would have no problem with this as long as the put a back button within every app that needs it. But they won't so keep the back button please.

Speaking as an Android user, the back button is one of the most inconsistent things on the platform. Sometimes it's back, sometimes it's up, sometimes it's quit, depending on the app, or the screen in the app. Not sure how it works on WP, but either way I don't see this as a big issue.

Syanide said,
Speaking as an Android user, the back button is one of the most inconsistent things on the platform. Sometimes it's back, sometimes it's up, sometimes it's quit, depending on the app, or the screen in the app. Not sure how it works on WP, but either way I don't see this as a big issue.

The back button on WP has a much more consistent function. Applications that do not properly respond to its press event will not pass certification.

More like the should remove the pointless search button... that or actually make it search within apps... or even more like windows 8 where you can search in any app from any app.

SierraSonic said,
make it search within apps... or even more like windows 8 where you can search in any app from any app.

Seems unlikely now that they went and removed that functionality from 8.1

that doesn't make any sense how can anyone escape the back button usage for multitask screen and closing apps or returning to previous app page

That does not make much sense.

First, this feature is "distinctive" and somewhat a trademark of the platform.

Second, this would be terrible for the API and app compatibility considering how important the navigation stack is within the application model.

Third, we all know users are dumb but still, there's a limit. Once you use it few times, you get it.

Now, for the 10" screen support, this would indeed confirm the upcoming fusion & segregation. Windows Phone & WinRT will become the "touch-first" experience and Windows will continue to reign on the desktop. Windows (desktop) will also be able to run "touch-first" applications natively. Finally, Microsoft got it.

I hope this is not the case. I feel like the back button is such an integral piece of the package. If they get rid of it, they will need to be able to perform the same function with the ease and grace that the back button currently provides...without breaking their interface design....

I haven't used the back button on Windows Phone, but I found the back button an Android to be terribly inconsistent. Never really knew what you'd get if you pressed it. Sometimes it would go "back" in the application... sometimes it would close the application and go to the home screen.

If Windows Phone had the same inconsistency issues, then Microsoft is right for removing it. If an application needs a "back" UI element, then the developer can provide that.

anonymf said,
it always goes to previous screen.

That's not the impression I got from the article:
the back button returning users to either the previous "page" in an app or closing the app if a user is on its first screen. If a contextual menu is open, pressing the back button will close the menu.

anonymf said,
There are no inconsistency problem because it always goes to previous screen.

The problem is when apps define UI elements that are essentially "pages" but don't add the user's "page" changes to the back buttons "stack". Again, my experience is limited to Android here so I'm only guess what the problem might be in WP.

It is essentially left to the developer as to what the back button will do in their app. If I have a 3rd party web browser open the "back" button should navigate to the previously opened web page (like the back button on my desktop web browser, right?). If I bring up the configuration page for that 3rd party web browser, what is the back button suppose to do exactly? Close the configuration page? What if there are multiple pages within the configuration menu? Should the back button go back on the configuration menu or should it close the configuration menu or should it go back to the previous visited web page in the background or should it just close the app? Its all left to the developer how they want it to behave and that is the source of the inconsistencies revolving around "back button" behavior. IMO, force the developers to provide a "back" UI element where it is needed and they can address any ambiguity as to what this button should do when pressed.

maybe it will become a gesture swiping from the left part of the screen to keep backwards compatibility.

vcfan said,
maybe it will become a gesture swiping from the left part of the screen to keep backwards compatibility.

That's how it works on iOS 7. But I thought Windows Phone *already* supported that gesture?

Apps already use that for navigation that's different than the back button. For example the mail app uses that to change the message view while the back button will take you out of the app.

no,im not talking about just swiping normally on the screen. that's a given for the pivot control. but what im saying is, if you swipe from the bezel to the screen,it can register as a gesture instead of a regular swipe.

Windows tablets don't have a back button, do they? Maybe they want the user experience to be consistent across different device classes, especially if RT is going to run both on phones as well as tablets.

You are right, the tablets and PCs don't have back buttons on the device... But the back button on the phone serves two purposes... In-app navigation as well as app switching. On the tablets there is only the swipe from the left to right which does the alt-tab functionality.

If they remove the back button, they could replace it with the left to right swipe, but that gesture is already is use in app for navigation... So that would almost seem more confusing...

chorpeac said,
If they remove the back button, they could replace it with the left to right swipe, but that gesture is already is use in app for navigation... So that would almost seem more confusing...

I guess. Oh well, it will be interesting what they come up with (if indeed this rumor turns out be true).

Why would the experience have to be always consistent across ALL touch devices?
There is a certain limit to this. Phone and tablet are different types of devices due to their different size and usage scenarios. This notion of completely "unified" experience does not make sense.
Oh well, I guess they should have introduced steering wheel to motorbikes long time ago, you know, consistent experience across transport vehicles...
This also reminds me of recent news about new Fox News studio where they use 30''+ displays with Windows 8.1 touch interface. Imagine the pain the operator of such interface would suffer after waving their hands across such huge device for 8 hours a day. Surely it looks good in sci-fi movies but is impractical in reality.

blackdaemon said,
This notion of completely "unified" experience does not make sense.

Uh.... but Apple does it with their iPad and iPhones... so why can't Microsoft do it as well but in their own way?

They can pry the back button from my cold dead hands. I wonder how they'll handle apps that have a back button and use on-screen gestures as well? No back button, and no gesture support... that'll break some apps big time.

I have a better idea. Provide an on-screen back button for Windows 8 Metro apps. It's not like there's any apps for it to break compatibility with anyway

I got the same info from my Nokia sources while back.
But the info I got was related to the removal of the physical buttons of both "Back" and "Search" and NOT the functions. Back then the Windows Phone team was looking for a solution to integrate both buttons into the OS UI and we discuss the possibility of bringing a version of the Charms Menu from Windows 8 to Windows Phone.

Hopefully this is still the case and in my opinion it will be a lot better and more functional than it is now.

Dot Matrix said,
Wut? How would that work then on current Gen phones? Just what the what?

It's not like Microsoft have dropped support of first gen WP phones already. 3rd gen phones are on the way.
Another clean start for Microsoft, get ready to re-buy all your apps and games yet again.

sagum said,

It's not like Microsoft have dropped support of first gen WP phones already. 3rd gen phones are on the way.
Another clean start for Microsoft, get ready to re-buy all your apps and games yet again.

Actualy, the generation that's now on its way is the 4th generation. The first was 7.0, the second was 7.5 and Windows Phone 8.0 was the third already.

sagum said,

It's not like Microsoft have dropped support of first gen WP phones already. 3rd gen phones are on the way.
Another clean start for Microsoft, get ready to re-buy all your apps and games yet again.

Oh FUDdlesticks.

I love the back button. My only complaint about the buttons is they are capacitive. It's like people who advocate that type of button a) never use the device or b) don't have kids. I hate accidentally triggering the buttons and my kids hit them regularly. Physical, pressable buttons should be the norm... but don't ditch the back button functionality... lord knows there is no real reason to require applications put that functionality in their UI.

I love the capacitive buttons. Sure you hit them by accident every time, but I just love how durable they are. Can't wear down a button that doesn't physically move!

MrHumpty said,
I love the back button. My only complaint about the buttons is they are capacitive. It's like people who advocate that type of button a) never use the device or b) don't have kids.

Perhaps the issue is with you, rather than the blanket insult you level against people like me who do use them and do like them.

You get used to it and it's perfectly usable. Try and learn how to use it properly before levelling insults at people and sending everyone's experience backwards simply because you can't use your phone properly.

Ideas Man said,
Perhaps the issue is with you, rather than the blanket insult you level against people like me who do use them and do like them.

You get used to it and it's perfectly usable. Try and learn how to use it properly before levellling insults at people and sending everyone's experience backwards simply because you can't use your phone properly.

I'm sorry our butt-hurt by my comment. I'm glad you like them. I still think they offer too many accidental presses and plenty has been written about that fact.

Having an HTC One I can say that having just Back and Home buttons is great. I never understood the need of an Option button when on Android most of the apps are migrating to so called "hamburger menu" for app navigation.

The one thing I don't like on Android is that the hardware or software Back button does not closes apps like Windows Phone does. Instead, they are just put on the background and not closed. WP had it right IMHO so I don't know if they are doing to remove it without having something else in place like.

ajua said,
Having an HTC One I can say that having just Back and Home buttons is great. I never understood the need of an Option button when on Android most of the apps are migrating to so called "hamburger menu" for app navigation.

The one thing I don't like on Android is that the hardware or software Back button does not closes apps like Windows Phone does. Instead, they are just put on the background and not closed. WP had it right IMHO so I don't know if they are doing to remove it without having something else in place like.

I bolded the reason it's an issue. Because a LOT of apps don't have a soft menu button even if it's the Android design style. That and the pointlessness of removing something that didn't hurt anyone to have when you still have plenty of space for it to be there. It's okay though, I turned my HTC logo into a menu button.

But even then, I CAN get used to not having the menu button. I can't imagine not having a back button. There's no button except for the power button I'd want to give up less. The lack of a back button is one thing that truly bothers the **** out of me when using an iOS device.

As for not closing apps. I respect your opinion, however that's by far one of the best features of Android. I use multitasking constantly. Pretty sure WP8 is or already has implemented a similar multitasking system.

ajua said,
Having an HTC One I can say that having just Back and Home buttons is great. I never understood the need of an Option button when on Android most of the apps are migrating to so called "hamburger menu" for app navigation.

The one thing I don't like on Android is that the hardware or software Back button does not closes apps like Windows Phone does. Instead, they are just put on the background and not closed. WP had it right IMHO so I don't know if they are doing to remove it without having something else in place like.

Do you love it how that stupid black bar on the bottom pops up for apps that don't have on screen menu?

AJerman said,

I bolded the reason it's an issue. Because a LOT of apps don't have a soft menu button even if it's the Android design style. That and the pointlessness of removing something that didn't hurt anyone to have when you still have plenty of space for it to be there. It's okay though, I turned my HTC logo into a menu button.

See my comment on the quote bellow for the Option button.

About multitasking, on Windows Phone you can always tap the Windows button to leave and app open and also long-press the Back button to access the opened apps and change focus between them.

I see that as a better implementation. Android only has Back button functionality on the literal sense by only allowing to navigate back inside apps. Windows Phone lets you do that and also can close apps if you are at the first page of an app.

mrp04 said,

Do you love it how that stupid black bar on the bottom pops up for apps that don't have on screen menu?

First, it's the devs fault (and to a high degree, Android's fragmentation). Second, HTC already released Android 4.2.2 and 4.3 to the HTC One and you can configure the Home button to act as an Option button with a long press (Google Now will be now accessed by swiping up the button).

So yes, I love not having an Option button. Having said that, I'm also glad that HTC incorporated those Home button options to account for those devs that are not following the latest design guidelines on Android.

ajua said,

See my comment on the quote bellow for the Option button.

About multitasking, on Windows Phone you can always tap the Windows button to leave and app open and also long-press the Back button to access the opened apps and change focus between them.

I see that as a better implementation. Android only has Back button functionality on the literal sense by only allowing to navigate back inside apps. Windows Phone lets you do that and also can close apps if you are at the first page of an app.

First, it's the devs fault (and to a high degree, Android's fragmentation). Second, HTC already released Android 4.2.2 and 4.3 to the HTC One and you can configure the Home button to act as an Option button with a long press (Google Now will be now accessed by swiping up the button).

So yes, I love not having an Option button. Having said that, I'm also glad that HTC incorporated those Home button options to account for those devs that are not following the latest design guidelines on Android.

I see what you mean now. Quite frequently people have used a custom ROM/mod to long press on back to kill apps in Android, and I'm a little surprised that hasn't caught on and been incorporated into Android's base code. That would be nice to be able to long press to entirely close, but at the same time, it's usually not necessary since most apps don't do much other than sit in memory in the background and idle. Still to have the option always would be nice.

if this happens, how on earth will in-app back navigation work? The back button also contributes to the chromeless nature of Windows Phone by helping apps to do away with a on-screen back button in the apps...I wouldn't want a back button in apps like iOS, that would suck.

Completely agree... I don't believe this for a second as it would have major implications on pretty much all their apps.

FalseAgent said,
if this happens, how on earth will in-app back navigation work? The back button also contributes to the chromeless nature of Windows Phone by helping apps to do away with a on-screen back button in the apps...I wouldn't want a back button in apps like iOS, that would suck.

Maybe they could implement a universal back gesture by swiping to the right from the edge of the screen to go back?

AWilliams87 said,

Maybe they could implement a universal back gesture by swiping to the right from the edge of the screen to go back?

that would feel extremely unnatural given windows phone's flipping animations.

I agree. Pretty much ALL the apps use the back button (which I like, especially compared to iPhone or Android). I don't really believe this rumour at all.

Leopard Seal said,
I'm calling BS on this one. Removing the back button and the event it generates would break a ton of applications.

Microsoft's solution: Make a new exclusive API for Windows Phone 8.1 and make new applications built with that API not compatible with previous versions of Windows Phone. Then make all hardware that currently has a back button incompatible with Windows Phone 8.1. That was their solution for 7.8 -> 8.0 anyway....

Leopard Seal said,
I'm calling BS on this one. Removing the back button and the event it generates would break a ton of applications.

Next they should remove that useless Bing button. Just keep 1 Windows Home button like Apple does in iPhone.

Leopard Seal said,
I'm calling BS on this one. Removing the back button and the event it generates would break a ton of applications.

No it wont. The application don't understand the physical button but only subscribe to the command it sends. The command can be raise by a gesture instead. Hence the ability to remap the back button on custom ROMs.

Riva said,

No it wont. The application don't understand the physical button but only subscribe to the command it sends. The command can be raise by a gesture instead. Hence the ability to remap the back button on custom ROMs.

I know that. What's important is a consistent and predictable user interface, not a dozen different ways to perform the back gesture. Custom ROMs are for bit fiddling geeks, not the general consumer.

Leopard Seal said,
I'm calling BS on this one. Removing the back button and the event it generates would break a ton of applications.

I have developed my own WP app before and MS is VERY serious about having a very specific user experience across all apps. Having the back button behave the same way in (nearly) all apps is something they take pride in. With that said I agree. I don't believe this rumor at all.

Leopard Seal said,
I'm calling BS on this one. Removing the back button and the event it generates would break a ton of applications.

Not to mention negatively impact usability...

Shadrack said,

Microsoft's solution: Make a new exclusive API for Windows Phone 8.1 and make new applications built with that API not compatible with previous versions of Windows Phone. Then make all hardware that currently has a back button incompatible with Windows Phone 8.1. That was their solution for 7.8 -> 8.0 anyway....

Updates have been guaranteed...

M_Lyons10 said,

Updates have been guaranteed...

You base that on what? MS has been less than consistent about Windows Mobile/Phone updates going back to to its conception. Every time they leave early adopters in the dark they swear up and down and promise that they won't ever do that again. Please...

M_Lyons10 said,

Updates have been guaranteed...


Not sure that "updates" are necessarily included in " supported"... Also there are other limitation to "support" itself like hardware capabilities, regions, carriers. Said that I do not believe that actual devices, like 920, 925 etc., will not be upgradeable to 8.1 but I have been wrong before so......

Pff nothing wrong with the back button, although I wish I could swipe down to close apps instead of back>back>back>back>etc and fix the search button to be contextual instead of accidentally opening Bing all the time.

Steven Parker said,
Pff nothing wrong with the back button, although I wish I could swipe down to close apps instead of back>back>back>back>etc and fix the search button to be contextual instead of accidentally opening Bing all the time.

Man was I disappointed to find out that the app switcher didn't function as a way to close background apps. Seems like a no brainer to me!

Xenosion said,

Man was I disappointed to find out that the app switcher didn't function as a way to close background apps. Seems like a no brainer to me!

App switcher is just for show off. You can just hit Windows button and choose the app from the main menu.

Xenosion said,

Man was I disappointed to find out that the app switcher didn't function as a way to close background apps. Seems like a no brainer to me!

It will with GDR3, you'll be able to hit a X in the corner and close them that way. As far as 8.1 goes and taking away the back button, if true then that means that they very well could make it so they close just like they do in Windows 8/8.1 and let you drag from the top or just have you close them from the task switcher.

Still, you go to the task switcher by holding down the back button, so without it how will we get to the task switcher?

Same here. I just want it to work the same way as Windows 8 does on a tablet. I kind of stutter sometimes when I start using my phone because the charms aren't there!

Steven Parker said,
Pff nothing wrong with the back button, although I wish I could swipe down to close apps instead of back>back>back>back>etc and fix the search button to be contextual instead of accidentally opening Bing all the time.

After using Windows 8 on a touch interface, I keep swiping apps down to close them even on my phone.

Riva said,

After using Windows 8 on a touch interface, I keep swiping apps down to close them even on my phone.

I have no idea why this simple function wasn't implemented into WP. The overall lack of gestures in WP is disappointing. Whereas in Android/iOS, you may swipe down to refresh information in an app, on WP, you have to click through menus to do the same. Whereas in Android you swipe left or right to move between tabs in the browser, in WP, you have to click through menus just to pull up the tabs view.

AWilliams87 said,

I have no idea why this simple function wasn't implemented into WP. The overall lack of gestures in WP is disappointing. Whereas in Android/iOS, you may swipe down to refresh information in an app, on WP, you have to click through menus to do the same. Wherea in in Android you swipe left or right to move between tabs in the browser, in WP, you have to click through menus just to pull up the tabs view.

Most apps do in fact update when swiping down. If some don't I imagine it's shoddy developers.

Riva said,

After using Windows 8 on a touch interface, I keep swiping apps down to close them even on my phone.

Lol I even do that sometimes on my non-touchscreen monitor!!

micro said,
Have fun using charms on a 4" screen.

Why would it be hard to use charms on a 4" screen? They'd change the UI for them to better fit a phone and the smaller screen I'm sure.

Steven Parker said,
Pff nothing wrong with the back button, although I wish I could swipe down to close apps instead of back>back>back>back>etc and fix the search button to be contextual instead of accidentally opening Bing all the time.

Agreed. Everyone I know uses the back button WAY too much for them to get rid of it... lol

Xenosion said,

Most apps do in fact update when swiping down. If some don't I imagine it's shoddy developers.

The four bing apps don't, unfortunately.

Steven Parker said,
Pff nothing wrong with the back button, although I wish I could swipe down to close apps instead of back>back>back>back>etc and fix the search button to be contextual instead of accidentally opening Bing all the time.

You do realize that this doesn't actually do anything, right? When a app is not active, it's in a suspended state. There is no true multi-tasking on Windows Phone. So, hitting the back button just makes you look ignorant and moronic, rather than just hitting the home button once.

Izzmo said,

You do realize that this doesn't actually do anything, right? When a app is not active, it's in a suspended state. There is no true multi-tasking on Windows Phone. So, hitting the back button just makes you look ignorant and moronic, rather than just hitting the home button once.

I believe he's talking about closing the app altogether. In WP8, you close apps by opening it, then pressing back. Simply pressing home suspends it, like you said, but he's looking to remove it from active memory. He's doing so repeatedly to close all of the dormant apps in the background.

I personally don't see the point of it, but others do.

perhaps they will cop the appswitch button from android, or whatever button replaces the back button still has press-hold for appswitching but activates the notification centre? Not sure.

I'm having fun with my Lumia 1020, all apps I need (bar youtube) are there, or have competitive 3rd party versions.

Steven Parker said,
Pff nothing wrong with the back button, although I wish I could swipe down to close apps instead of back>back>back>back>etc and fix the search button to be contextual instead of accidentally opening Bing all the time.

I agree completely they should adopt the windows 8 modern app close method. I find it really annoying to have to "back out" of an application as it takes forever and is just very clunky. It reminds me of how windows CE did it back on the early 2000s