Windows Phone 8.1 ‘Preview for Developers' now available

Can you believe that it hasn’t even been two full weeks since Microsoft finally took the wraps off Windows Phone 8.1 at its BUILD conference? For users keen to get their hands on the company’s substantially upgraded OS, the twelve days that have passed since then must have seemed like a lifetime.

But those most eager to get their paws on the update need wait no longer. The timeline that we exclusively revealed last week has played out just as expected, and today, Microsoft announced that Windows Phone 8.1 is now available to download and install for all users registered on its Preview for Developers program.


It's finally here!

If you’re already signed up to the program, you can check for the update on your handset by navigating to Settings > Phone Update, and then tapping on the ‘check for updates’ button (which, no doubt, many of you have been doing for several hours/days/weeks already). The installation process beyond that point is the same as any other update.

If, however, you have not signed up to the Preview program, don’t panic – it’s super-easy to register, and it’ll only take a couple of minutes.

 

About the Windows Phone Preview for Developers

Having been announced back in October, the Preview program actually has its roots in an announcement made almost two years ago at the Windows Phone 8 unveiling, at which Microsoft promised to make OS updates available early to “registered enthusiasts”.

 
The Preview program has its roots in an announcement made in June 2012

It took the company until late last year to finally make good on that promise with the Preview for Developers, but despite its nomenclature, the program is open to anyone who wants to sign up – not just established devs.

The Preview allows users to get their hands on the latest Windows Phone OS version – but not the latest OEM- or carrier-specific firmware. Once you download and install the OS update, your handset will continue to function with your existing firmware until new drivers and enhancements are made available for your device later.

 
Installing the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview? Firmware not included

Nokia, for example, makes extensive firmware customizations to its devices; its last release, with Windows Phone 8 Update 3, was known as 'Lumia Black'. The Black firmware will work quite happily with Windows Phone 8.1 until Nokia releases its latest ‘Lumia Cyan’ firmware in the weeks ahead.

However, if you’re concerned that this whole ‘preview’ thing sounds like you’re installing potentially buggy pre-release software on your device, don’t worry. This isn’t a beta release; the OS you’ll be installing on your device is the same final build that Microsoft is seeding to its Windows Phone partners. This is the real deal – you’re just getting it a bit sooner than most users.

There are a couple of important caveats, however. First, this is a one-way trip; you can update your device to Windows Phone 8.1, but there’s no facility to ‘uninstall’ that update and go back to WP8. For most users, of course, that won’t be an issue.

Second, Microsoft has made it clear that, if you do choose to install the Preview, you may invalidate the warranty on your device. But since this release is no different from the OS update that will eventually be pushed out to every other device (well, with the exception of T-Mobile’s Nokia Lumia 810), the chances of anything going wrong are pretty slim. Still, you have been warned.  

T-Mobile’s disappointing decision to abandon support for its Lumia 810 – which is barely 18 months old – highlights the usefulness of the Preview program to an audience wider than the developer community alone. While T-Mo no longer wishes to support the device, owners of the Lumia 810 – and indeed of any other Windows Phone that may suddenly find itself unsupported by a carrier – will still be able to get access to the latest OS updates via the Preview program.

 

Enrolling in the Windows Phone Preview

Existing Windows Phone developers, registered through the Dev Center, are already enrolled in the Preview program. If you’ve created and launched an app for the platform before, all you need to do is download the Preview for Developers app from the Windows Phone Store.

But even if you don’t know a single thing about how to develop an app, you can still enroll in the Preview program, completely free of charge. Simply visit the Windows Phone App Studio and register with your Microsoft Account details. Once that’s done, download the Preview for Developers app from the Store.

Once installed, open the app, sign in with the same Microsoft Account credentials and tick the ‘Enable Preview for Developers’ box.

That’s all there is to it – you’ll now be able to download Windows Phone 8.1 Preview! Be sure to let us know how you get on in the comments below or via Twitter @NeowinFeed

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So if something were to go wrong updating this (though you say it is the same as final build going to carriers) can I factory restore and be okay? I am by far no expert on any of this ;) but since its not a beta and whatnot I figured I was alright.

i am currently installing 8.1 for my lumia 520 every installation process occur smoothly but after that my phone become off and it is just showing nokia and kind of dead and i also remove battery and insert it again but still same thing happening
pls help me what to do?

I want to know that i m user of windows phone who has only microsoft id so can i acces to windows phone studio app ?? And can i become app developer and is there some charge for creating id of dev centre ??

All my work email accounts now need to get permissions again but when they connect to what looks like cut down version of IE it doesn't work as my work email opens in a second window on a PC. Will need to get a new phone if they don't fix it!

Been using it for a day now - all in all a great revision. Can't believe it only received an up of a .1. Should have been WP9 in my opinion.

Well... My keyboard layout (fr_CH) is messed up.
I mean, there's no swipe-whatever-this-one-is-called thing, but it switched from the previous qwertz (which worked fine and is the fr_CH layout I'm used too) to a qwerty layout (which... well still works fine, but is the wrong layout). In conclusion, the keyboard on my phone regressed with no improvement whatsoever. Well, that's not true, now it's suggesting emoticons, so I guess I meant no useful improvement whatsoever. I'm guessing (hoping) it's a temporary issue.

That being said, I do like the notification center (finally I can tell whatsapp to shut the **** up). I also like the new calendar where you can finally read some of the stuff (that is, if you're on the week view). I don't know about the start screen picture thing - I can't imagine what picture I could chose that would keep the tiles still readable.

I'm honestly -hating- the removal of the fb integration. Just to share a pic, I had to install the FB app(I had FB Beta, but, I guess the camera app doesn't understand it). It was then a 4 step process to upload a pic when it used to be a 2 tap, then background upload while I'm taking the next pic. I can no longer hear the difference between getting a regular fb notification and getting a message. I can no longer quickly switch between fb messaging someone and txt'ing(aka, when they get out of fb). I have to log onto the stupid app, see if they are there, then exit out of the app, get back into messaging and send a message. All the features I showed people as to how quickly and easily I could do things are now at the same disadvantage of iOS and Android. How exactly does this make my life better?

I've got an Ativ S 899T and upgraded this morning and have not had any issues with Mobile data or anything else related to the upgrade.
Check your APN, maybe something got wiped.

The only anomalies I notice is:
- a bit of a lag - it doesn't quite feel is snappy and smooth as it did before
- seem to have to press a couple of times on "End Call". Tried two calls the same thing in both calls. Didn't end the call by just tapping once.
- can't find a quick way to mute the phone - volume up/down + tap on right corner did the trick before but not anymore
- Photos medium tile often shows "black" tile and other times cycles through - kind of weird
- Not yet impressed by Cortana except text to speech has improved.
- press/hold on bluetooth quick setting doesn't go to the BT settings. Only turns on/off
- not sure why when entering a call, it doesn't switch to the buttons instead it remains in dialer keypad

I do however like the:
- notification center
- quiet hours
- Here Drive+ global license
- background in Tiles (but will probably turn it off)
- can get more tiles on the 1280x720 display of the ATIV

Features missing in my mind:
- find number by pressing dialer digits
- don't know why we can't select BT services per device - it is all or nothing

Still playing with it but a worthwhile upgrade so far.

Mugwump00 said,
Anyone with an Ativ S - I'd say DON'T DO IT!!

No mobile data currently - bit of a glitch to say the least!

Mine appears to not be transitioning back to roaming data once it's joined WiFi. I've disabled WiFi as a corrective action until I understand better.

The WP Store appears to be U/S to me, every way I try to get at it - this seems to be the case for others - ?

U/S? what acronym is that?

RE: my own comment of "Photos medium tile often shows "black" tile and other times cycles through - kind of weird"
I think I figured out why? the new camera app crashed on me a couple of times, and it seems like to took a couple of blank/black photos!!! so I guess the live tile was showing those black shot!

Mugwump00 said,
Mine appears to not be transitioning back to roaming data once it's joined WiFi. I've disabled WiFi as a corrective action until I understand better.

The WP Store appears to be U/S to me, every way I try to get at it - this seems to be the case for others - ?

how much time does it take to install in lumia 720?
1 and half hour...still installing.......restarting automatically so many times.......
is it everything ok with installation?
m being so worried...please tell me anyone

Wonder if it'll work on my Ascend W1 that has had no updates as far as I can tell since I bought the phone back last summer...

It actually did auto-update on a bunch of store apps this morning(8 on my phone) after the 8.1 update. It really is auto-update now, unlike before where it'd just give you a notice that updates were ready. I didn't know it updated anything until I went to Store, then opened up Downloads and went to History.

nope for me..opening the store give me this error: 805a01f7..a quick googling shows that store is temp unavailable..weird.

Found my first problem. Most sites I go to in the browser on my phone I prefer to have in Desktop mode. When I try to go to m.facebook.com(because it works soooo much better than the full page on a phone), it comes up and tells me it downloaded an XML file and if I want to open it. Before the update, m.facebook.com pulled up fine. When I switch to Mobile in IE settings, going to m.facebook.com brings up the horrible "just like the app" version. The whole point of me using desktop mode is that FB used very little data and it was easy to navigate with "See more stories" buttons. Using IE11 on Windows 8.1 Update 1 still shows my preferred view, why would IE11 on WP8.1 barf?

NXTwoThou said,
And battery! I have a 920 and holy crap, it's down to 65% now. Was 100% at 2 1/2 hours ago!

Really? I'm still rocking 92% after about 2 hours. You should be able to use the battery sense app to find out what's hogging it all.

"Settings" is the biggest draw. I'm charging it back to 100% and then going to shut it down for awhile. It's warm to the touch, which used to be the sign that the 920 was killing the battery(which got better after multiple firmware updates). Hope this isn't a sign of things until Nokia comes out with Lumia Cyan. :(

I have my older 920 too(cracked screen). Went ahead and started it up and did all the updates, did the exact same thing(Had 100% battery at start of updates, down to 70% when finished). Letting it charge back up to 100% and going to do the reboot on it too. I would rather not loose all my friggin history and game settings. I can test on my "backup" phone if they still have battery problems after rebooting(I did a hard reset on the backup phone before doing the updates, only thing it got installed was my login info and developer preview app)

the new 8.1 update will allow you to backup your game and app settings and everything in app isolated storage to onedrive. you can also backup your start screen layout,settings,favorites,sms,photos,videos . go to settings->backup, turn all backups on,then hit backup now.

edit:just read that it only backs up isolated storage from participating apps. I don't know if this means it backs up everything unless an app specifies not to, or if the app has to explicitly enable it.

NXTwoThou said,
And battery! I have a 920 and holy crap, it's down to 65% now. Was 100% at 2 1/2 hours ago!

Probably because it's downloading and installing a bunch of app updates in the background.

NXTwoThou said,
Might have been it. I charged it to 100% and rebooted it about an hour ago. As of this moment, still sitting at 100%. *whew*


You can slo see what apps are using how much of the battery now. That's the last thing I missed. This update took care of everything I missed.

It's still showing Settings as the biggest one. Seems odd to me. Also found another annoyance, when you hit the lock button, even though the screen goes black, it takes about 4 seconds before it makes the lock tone. If you don't wait for that lock tone, if you accidentally hit the search button, Cortana pops up. Did this about 5 times putting my phone back in my holder until I figured out what was up. Lock button is no longer instant..just because screen is black, doesn't mean anything.

NXTwoThou said,
It's still showing Settings as the biggest one. Seems odd to me. Also found another annoyance, when you hit the lock button, even though the screen goes black, it takes about 4 seconds before it makes the lock tone. If you don't wait for that lock tone, if you accidentally hit the search button, Cortana pops up. Did this about 5 times putting my phone back in my holder until I figured out what was up. Lock button is no longer instant..just because screen is black, doesn't mean anything.

That would explain something that has been happening to me for a long time now, well before any of the recent updates. I never noticed because I usually have my phone on vibrate or quiet enough I don't hear the click, but then I'd get the search thing as if I held the start button or whatever it was.

NXTwoThou said,
It's still showing Settings as the biggest one. Seems odd to me. Also found another annoyance, when you hit the lock button, even though the screen goes black, it takes about 4 seconds before it makes the lock tone. If you don't wait for that lock tone, if you accidentally hit the search button, Cortana pops up. Did this about 5 times putting my phone back in my holder until I figured out what was up. Lock button is no longer instant..just because screen is black, doesn't mean anything.

Mine is somewhere between 1 and 2 seconds from click and blanked screen to the actual lock sounds. I had to literally try with some finger acrobatics to hit the search button in that time frame, basically hitting it just as I let go of the lock button.

Do you have something faster than a 920? I'm curious how long it takes on the slowest WP8.1 compatible model.

I'm used to hitting the lock button with my middle finger and grasping the whole phone from the front while setting it in my belt holster. This action makes my pinky right on the search button. Pre 8.1, never had an issue. Just takes longer to actually lock once the screen turns black now. I'm sure I'll get used to it in a day or two but I'd consider it a bug if the screen is black yet the buttons are still active.

I have already read enough and tried to register but it is just getting complex as i have pay some price in order to register for a developer account, though i have managed to use my Developer Account registration code still it is asking for my Credit Card details, but my CC details are not working. Is there anyway to get the developer account.

Thanks

i just put in my hotmail info in there and its reg me straight without any price..and install the developer studio app onto my lumia and tick the enable preview. i dont know anything to be paid. sorry bro.

I updated the first one on my Lumia 925 and it was still in 8.0 and now I'm install the second one but don't know what version this will be. Didn't know if anyone has this.

Mine did first update, then it prompted me to get on WiFi, when I did, it just sits at around 5%, progress bar been stuck for a half hour, damn, guess I'll just wait it out for a while...

Almost Done...

..and it will be worth the wait.
Migrating your data (step 3 of 19).

Holy sheet. Both funny and wow at the number of steps for this update..

Cool side note. During the install section the wireless icon has moved over beside the cellular icon and my battery icon has moved inwards about 3 battery widths.

There is an initial update that may need to be done first (mine did), then it will allow you to download WP8.1. I'm at preparing to install 37% as I type this. Wish me luck! I'm like a kid in a candy store who is so excited I'm about to wet my diaper! lol

30 minute install time. Awesome. 10 minutes in.

Things you won't get with this: Live lock screen themes, Cortana (outside of the US), custom SMS apps and a couple of other bits and pieces.

Things you will get: Boners.. All of them..

articuno1au said,
Things you will get: Boners.. All of them..

if you have one for 4 or more hours please seek immediate medical attention.

articuno1au said,
30 minute install time. Awesome. 10 minutes in.

Things you won't get with this: Live lock screen themes, Cortana (outside of the US), custom SMS apps and a couple of other bits and pieces.

Things you will get: Boners.. All of them..


I thought the new custom lock screens where part of 8.1?

HawkMan said,


I thought the new custom lock screens where part of 8.1?


Aren't the new lock screens developed by Rudy? If I remember correctly this is what Belfiore stated at the Build...

The new custom lock screens are there though, I noticed since the Facebook app actually supports them and offers two custom view, one that's like standard and one that's got several pictures at the top and a blue notification area at the bottom.

Nuno Relvao said,
Gonna install it now on my LUMIA 520 lets see how this goes with the basic model.

Would like to hear how it does. The information I have seen 'in labs' is that it is noticeably faster and gets more features on 512mb devices.

I have 520 as well.
very good update, added the missing piece of the puzzle.
more room for apps on the start screen, notification center and the cortana are the main features, much needed ones.
finally i can suggest this OS for people with no regrets.

still little bit behind android and iOS but in the smaller things.
one thing that still really bothers me is not a phone issue, but the Bing.
it's still not good enough.

How did you update? Fresh install or regular update. Mine is prompting that it has not enough memory. It just doesn't go further with the update process. It downloads but stops after about 68% in preparing for installation mode. Very annoying! Would a fresh install (start from scratch) do the magic here?

Well, I'm not sure, mine was an update, not fresh install.
maybe you have too much media (photos or music) on the device.
try to remove some (copy it to your HDD) and retry the update.
the update itself takes about 45min.

Steven P. said,
An update to install an update? :|

That doesn't strike me as anything new for large updates. At the very least they do that with Xbox all the time.

Enron said,
Yo dawg I heard you like updates so I put an update in your update so you can update while you update.

LOOLOL!! Beat me to it!

Depends on user. If you have lots of emails and internet history it will take more time. Once I reset the phone and then updated, it went so fast. But resetting deletes apps and data on phone.

erfanullah said,
Depends on user. If you have lots of emails and internet history it will take more time. Once I reset the phone and then updated, it went so fast. But resetting deletes apps and data on phone.

Yes data makes a big difference, but it is price worth paying when you can have 55,000 emails instantly searchable and available on the phone. ;)

ditto - so far so good although it looks like it's going to take some time based on the progress bar. it's only 7:27 here so no rush - :)

Yup, its migrating data at the moment (and taking its time) so I assume some file system tweaks and moving stuff about, ready for slapping 8.1 on the device (its a 1020 btw).

duddit2 said,
Yup, its migrating data at the moment (and taking its time) so I assume some file system tweaks and moving stuff about, ready for slapping 8.1 on the device (its a 1020 btw).

My data migration took around 45 minutes over WiFi. After that the phone will reboot and you have to manually check for updates.... and 8.1 will be available.