Windows Phone 8.1 has a few hidden USB settings

The developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 was released last week but it seems there are still some secrets that can be found while using Microsoft's latest mobile OS. One interesting feature has now been discovered that gives users two new notifications when using a device's USB port.

As first reported by WPCentral, people can use Bing or the Cortana digital assistant to find the USB settings. They can type in "USB", then swipe on the screen to 'phone" and finally tap "USB" in the Settings menu to find the two notification that can be enabled.

One of the settings gives users a heads up before using the USB port to make a data connection if it is enabled. The other setting offers an alert if a smartphone is hooked up to a slower charger than normal.

The big question is why were these two USB settings hidden in the first place and not disclosed by Microsoft ahead of time. It's possible that they were not quite ready for prime time yet and that there might still be some bugs that are associated with enabling them in the setting menu. So, while it's cool that these features are available, Windows Phone 8.1 users might want to hold off on activating them until Microsoft gives the official go ahead.

Source: WPCentral

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20 Comments

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So a few equals two? To me, a few has always been more than two. Two is a couple. But I guess it means two on here. Wow, what have I been thinking my whole life? Now I have to relearn portions. :/

Seems these settings aren't exactly hidden, but rather deactivated. They do not work on the ATIV S, so a firmware update might be necessary.

They do not appear to work for me either, using a Lumia 925. The USB also says "not connected" even when it is plugged in (either a PC or the charger).

Seketh said,
Seems these settings aren't exactly hidden, but rather deactivated. They do not work on the ATIV S, so a firmware update might be necessary.
I was thinking the exact same thing too. My guess is these settings will show up when WP8.1 RTMs and comes along with the accompanying firmware updates for every model.

Seketh said,
Seems these settings aren't exactly hidden, but rather deactivated. They do not work on the ATIV S, so a firmware update might be necessary.

Exactly what I was thinking. The power notification probably requires newer firmware or at least for the OEM to set which range of power input is normal. For the data connection though that's handled by the OS and shouldn't need firmware updates. Who knows though.

I hardly think they did not mention it on purpose. I've yet to see a really verbose change-log for WP8.1DP anyway, only lists of features in articles, no official and complete change logs from MS.

Are you being sarcastic?

This is actually pretty cool, not many devices tell you when your plugged into a slower charger. This is a very useful, there is nothing worse then plugging into a charger before bed and getting up to a half charged phone.

droidkid said,
...there is nothing worse then plugging into a charger before bed and getting up to a half charged phone.

Really? There is nothing worse? Now I'm hoping you're being sarcastic.

droidkid said,
Are you being sarcastic?

This is actually pretty cool, not many devices tell you when your plugged into a slower charger. This is a very useful, there is nothing worse then plugging into a charger before bed and getting up to a half charged phone.


Because it's so much effort to read the label.

n_K said,

Because it's so much effort to read the label.

My chargers don't have labels on them. They tell me the make, model, and the AC ratings. No where does it say high speed or low speed. Does yours? If so, can you take a photo so I can see if I'm looking in the right spot on my chargers?

droidkid said,
This is actually pretty cool, not many devices tell you when your plugged into a slower charger. This is a very useful, there is nothing worse then plugging into a charger before bed and getting up to a half charged phone.
Omgz so impressive!!

Almost all chargers will have an amp rating on them - usually measured in mAh or Ah. Anything below 500mAh (0.5Ah) is considered very slow - 500mAh to 1000mAh (1Ah) is slow-to-average, anything above 1000mAh is considered fast. For example, the Galaxy S4 charger comes with a 2000mAh charger by default (in England, anyway) so it can charge that big battery fast.

Amperage ratings are also just rated as A (rather than mAh or Ah), on occasion, but this is the exact same thing.

The higher the amperage rating, the faster your phone will get charged - just remember to make sure to use the same voltage for your charger - a higher voltage will result in a boom and smoke, not a faster charge!

mAh and Ah are measures of charge, not current. mA and A are measure of current. Big difference. It is the current that matters with a charger.

It's called the Rated output usually given in Volts/mA or Volts/Amps neither of which has anything to do with speed other than whether your phone will take 2 hrs to charge or 8 hrs

dranzer006 said,
does this means WP 8.1 will have OTG support ?

Doubt it. Not much use without a proper way to access filesystems for apps.

This is all about USB as device usage. First notification allows you to connect to a pc to charge without letting it access your data. Second one notifies when the connected charger isn't capable of providing enough power to charge (fast enough or while using the phone).