Windows Phone 8.1

Action Center in Windows Phone 8.1 will allow an app to display 20 notifications

At this rate we might not have much surprises left for Build 2014 next month in San Francisco. We’ve learned a lot about the big picture for the future of Windows Phone ever since the beta Windows Phone 8.1 SDK was leaked. Since then it’s been a steady stream of information about the upcoming update.

Earlier this week we finally got out first look at Cortana in action on video. Earlier today some more Windows Phone 8.1 information made its way onto the web. Today we’re learning a bit more about the Action Center in Windows Phone 8.1.

As you’ll recall, Action Center is going to be the upcoming notification center in Windows Phone 8.1. A few weeks ago we saw a video of an early build of the Action Center.

The Action Center will be a place where users can access and toggle 4 quick actions. You can customize which actions are shown. For example, you can put internet tethering, Wi-Fi, airplane mode and Bluetooth there to quickly turn them on and off. But you’ll mostly be loving the Action Center for all the notifications from apps that go there.

Action Center is the central location for all surface missed notifications. Thankfully apps can also intelligently manage notifications. Developers and users can control whether or not notifications are added silently, updated or deleted.

But we already knew all that. Here’s some new info about the Action Center Management APIs for developers and features for consumers like you.

Consumer features

  • 20 Notifications per app
  • Persistent notifications for 7 days (or shorter)
  • Users can “chase” (tap) a notification
  • Users can remove a notification
  • Users can remove a group of notifications
  • Users can remove all notifications
  • Action Center is only available on phones

Action Center Management APIs

  • Manage app notifications
  • Developers can remove one or many notifications
  • Developers can tag and group notifications
  • Developers can replace a notification with a new one
  • Developers can set an expiration on notifications
  • Developers can send “Ghost Toast” notifications

Action Center and Cortana are the two biggest changes coming in Windows Phone 8.1. There are of course a ton of little changes that will all add up to huge update. But if we’re looking at two headline defining features it’s going to Cortana and the Action Center.

It’s great to see Microsoft take ideas from the notification center on Android and iOS, but make them a little bit better. For example, “Ghost Toast” notifications might not seem like much, but they’re definitely a differentiating factor.

An app can send you a notification without turning your display on or alerting you if it’s not that important. An example of that would be an update about gaining a new follower or friend request on a social network. It’s something you can attend to later and don’t need to divert your attention towards right away. It’ll still show up in the Action Center, but only when you purposefully go there.

We’re very much looking forward to Build 2014 next month. Windows Phone 8.1 is going to be a big deal around here and we’re excited to see it in action. What features are you most looking forward to?

Get the scoop on all the features we know about in Windows Phone 8.1

Source: @AngelWRZ, @AngelWRZ


Reader comments

Action Center in Windows Phone 8.1 will allow an app to display 20 notifications



Can someone plz explain me this,if WP8.1 will be officially announced at BUILD conference on 2 April,will we also be able to get the update on the SAME day through dev preview??

He didn't say much at all, didn't even refer to it as 8.1, didn't give a date and didn't give any details. It was a brief mention of a future update.
That's where I've been, where were you?

It's just a reminder to the developers that Windows 8.x doesn't have an action center as of now. Obviously this will change as the OSs move closer together.

@ iitianshenky Probably that it won't be available on tablets. I believe the notification center is available on Android tablets and phones.

Ha! When you're here you're never *just* talking about WP. Everything has to be directly compared to whatever is considered to be a "feature" on other OS's.

Well, in the outside world, nobody knows for sure. And people who know are not allowed to tell us. But some rumors say that it will be available on the same day, others say in the same week.

I'd like to know what are the advantages and disadvantages of having dev preview. Can anybody tell me please?

Well, you get the software early if you are on a dev preview. But, your phone warranty gets void and also you cannot revert back to the previous software build.

Does your warranty become unvoided after the official release of whatever dev preview you have? I had the gdr3 dev preview before vodafone released it but made a claim on my warranty and got my phone fixed last week

If you reflash an older ROM on the phone with Nokia Care Suite or the retail updater they have basically no way of knowing. Wasn't an issue for me when I sent my 928 back

Basically yes.  Think of it more as the dev preview version isn't supported, so during that period they can deny you support, but once you update to the newer official build/ROM it's fully supported again as they really can't tell you were using the preview before.

Early updates, bypass OEM & carrier
May void your warranty, possible not stable (although GDR3 was perfectly stable on my phone)

I had once read somewhere that the warranty would stay fine if you reset your phone. Is it true ?
I really don't wanna spoil my warranty but i do want the dev preview too :-P

I'd like to see evidence that anyone was actually denied a warranty for having an official dev preview. I just don't think it's that likely to be a problem. Perhaps if it could be proven the preview was what broke the phone. 

Software flashes don't even void car warranties.

Software flashes don't have anything to do with a car working or not; thus, they won't void a car's warranty. However, software is essential on a phone and, if hardware is OK, it is basically what makes it work. So I don't think your comparison is a good one.

If you want proof, it is enough to say that before signing in the Developers Preview program, there's a disclaimer from Nokia warning you that you will void your warranty. Need anything else than the very manufacturer of your phone telling you it will void your warranty if you install the preview?

I just don't know if it has ever been used to deny anyone.  I had a warraty approved on a Lumia 920 with another carrier's firmware flashed to the phone.  I even told the service desk guys.  They just said it gets wiped anyway. 

Lol imagine how i am feeling. After drooling at the features that's been uncovered everyday its more than likely that i ll miss it. I am expecting a call from work anytime. The place where i am going doesn't have internet connectivity and i ll have to stay there for the next 4 months. MS please make an exception in my case and send a link to download via email.

There were some who said, that because of Live Tiles, the now named "Action Center" was not necessary.   I see it as very necessary and Windows Phone is maturing nicely.

Truth be told though, if developers used live tiles correctly it isn't very necessary. What is and has been necessary is a way to get to those lost toast notifications.

I agree live tiles are a good solution.  I think the only place they fail and the hole the Action Center fills is the lost toast notifications of apps you don't have pinned to your start screen.  Or in cases where you have more than one notification and the live tile shows a single message.

What happened WPC?? This information came out yesterday. Tomorrow you guys are going to talk about how Sony lied about Killzone running 1080p natively. This info is 2 days old.

Well unlike a few sites we know *Cough Cough* WPC always verifies info before posting, this is a good thing to do since your users won't constantly be getting wrong info and thus degrading their trust on your site...

I was under the impression that WPC put more effort into confirming stories as opposed to running to the nearest keyboard and regurgitating what other sites are putting up.

Maybe I'm wrong...?

I am exited to and can't wait for april 2nd. 1 thing I miss though. I would like to be able to decide myself how many background tasks I have open. 15 is just not enough in my case and I hate to pick which one to close

Yup its like u can see a fruit on the tree u know how it would taste and and what's its mass but still cant reach and grab it...such shame...much upset....not wow

Windows Phone and Windows RT (and also Windows, becouse Windows RT and Windows and the Xbox OS are substantially the same, there are only some difference in some API, and in the interface) is already merged!
Specially with the release of WP8.1

It's already available on W8.1... in desktp mode.

Lower right hand corner, click on that little wavy flag icon. *BAM* 'Action Center'!



Not really, I can think of one example where this can be useful. Say you have a app for discount vouchers or sales offers, which generates offer notification but offer will expire midnight. What is the point of having this notification next day morning still in action centre when it is no longer useful.

I have notifications delay ona android mostly followed by android and then Windows phone. Mostly our watsapp notfications are better than othr operating systems. Now it will be ahead of both as we get a clean notifactions centre

Lol, get a better Android phone. The only good androids are flagships. Anything else is worse than a Lumia 520.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Yeah,Chinese WP user suffered from QQ and WeChat notification delay,and its one of the most concerns of Chinese WP user,

No it isn't. My Surface RT is still rocking! It beats my girlfriends iPad by a mile everyday. And I wonder if W8.1 update 1 will add some speed improvements to the Original Surface RT, because Microsoft stated that memory usage will be significately less with this Update. And when Windows RT is merged with Windows Phone, the platform truly will be ahead of the game. Apple and Google didn't bring revolutionary innovation to their platforms recently, whereas Microsoft is the innovator of the last years. Exciting times!

But how much Windows Phone can be merged with Windows (there is no sense to cite Windows RT and not Windows) more than it is now?
Specially with Windows Phone 8.1 the differences are only in the interface (and a very little portion of APIs, less than how many there are now with WP8) and the Windows interface on tablet is much better then the WP interface, but is harder to use them on a smartphone.
So the point is not to merge WP and Windows RT (that sentence doesn't make sense), but if Microsoft will extend (in the next release of WinRT framework, that is not Windows RT) this API to Windows

I wholeheartedly hope it will include everything. I'm irritated by everyone's focus on sharing photos, as if the entire world feeds on shared photos, ffs!

There will be a universal file picker. So every file format will be allowed including files which is not supported on wp.

Why do you say that? I just want to be able to upload my resume to sites, since people look at you funny these days if you walk in with one on paper. I use my PC as a cable box and that's about it, unless I really need to do something like AutoCAD or PhotoShop for computing is so much simpler, and with the cloud, even more so.

funny story, since they were reportedly working on that since WP 7 Mango, jaxbot once pointed out that there is a page that opens on file selection, but it always was empty and they never finished their work ^^

Skype is too "a lot of things" to be honest with you. It really just needs to be built in so we can lose this app now.

The performance of Skype on my 8X is quite bad tbh. "Loading..." and "Resuming..." screens everytime I open the app from closed, or when it's tombstoned.

+925 but MOST OF ALL... I'd like a non-optional API to start apps where we left off even from the start screen. Behaviour Similar to that on Android and iPhone would be nice. Only Facebook, Instagram beta, and few others use this. It would help on action center too. When I touch a toast notification for my news feed I expect to be taken to that portion, not into the general news feed after clearing the "world notification icon" in Facebook, then having to re-touch it, then being taken to the new notification for picture, comment, etc. I know things need to change because Microsoft builds this APP!

Exactly what I want. Actually it is there but looks unpolished. For Example, Official twitter app'a notification will take u to that notified event if app is closed. But If it's open in background, it will take u to where u r previously left, then u have to manually go to notified tweet/event. I don't know this is twitter's bug or due to some restrictions on Windows Phone 8.

Everytime I see this I ask the same question and never get an answer... Why does WP need a file manager?

Ugh. Dat skinned tiles. I really hope it's something more in the line of a subtle background rather than affecting tiles.

No going to happen. Remember you swipe from the top to display The Action Center. You have to sacrifice simplicity for functionality sometimes.

If I remember correctly, you have to swipe further (like 1/2 or 3/4 length of the screen) to bring up the notification center. Otherwise, it will bring up the status bar.

Ughhhhhh lack of actionable notifcations is super disapointing, especailly considering it's called "Action Centre". They would have been super efficent/useful, and a one-up on iOS. WP is great but it's little disapointments like these that make MS tiresome at times. 

Just because it's not in the SDK doesn't mean it's there.  I'm sure there are actionable settings and they just didn't mention it since Action Centre is pretty self-explanitory.

I'd like to see press volume button show quick setting and long press home button show notification center

Swipe left is a horrible idea. Think about it. Almost all windows phone apps use left and right swipes for navigation. It would only work from the home screen which is pointless.

Cause press volume button is easier for one hand use,no matter how big the screen is,and long press home button is easier for one hand use too,we don't need to trying hard to move our hands to reach the top of the screen to pull down especially for phones like Lumia 1520

You mean swipe from the left edge of the screen show notification center?I don't think that would be a good experience if the screen size is big,cause you thumb isn't easy to reach the left edge of the screen,how can you thumb easy to reach the left edge when you use a Lumia 1520 ?or even a Lumia icon or even a 925 with your right hand?

Being able to reach all points of the screen with my thumb is one of the major reasons that I don't like huge phones and why I got the 822. So, I'll be fine.
When you get a phone with a 5" or 6" screen, then you're basically giving up on single hand use for a lot of things.

IKR, people can't have it all. That's the sacrifice you make when you but a phone with >5" display. Especially with the 1520, one handed use anywhere in the OS would already be a struggle for most.

Doesnt make sense. You'll still have to use your phone with 2 hands on such a big screen, no matter what. Swiping from the top is good enough.

On a more serious note, I'm a little worried about all these improvements. I shouldn't be, probably, because Windows Phone is highly optimized but I can already feel gears and springs of 512 MB RAM devices straining to keep everything running smoothly. I mean, this is a huge step forward. Cortana, Action Center, new IE... Keep in mind that lower RAM devices usually have a slower CPU in tow, too. Hopefully, I'm just being oversceptical.

Marque is a good option to read ur great. I want to have a feature like interactive notifications where we can quickly reply to watsapp msgs without opening the app. While tappong the notications we can get an option to reply. Then a qwerty keyboard will appear to let us do the chat or reply we need too.

I don't mind a few extra seconds my Lumia 620 takes to complete certain tasks, and games on 3,8" screens aren't that much of a pleasure anyways but I will feel screwed if Windows Phone 9 or even 8.x (x>1) fails to be compatible with 512mb devices. And yes, I know the cure for it - get a high end phone. And I will, as soon as current economy in Croatia provides me with a job opening, any job. :)

8.1 is compatible, you may or may not have all the features though.
As for WP9... the whole idea is complete conjecture... a mention of 8.5 on the other hand has been reported.

Compatible it is, but that doesn't equal "smooth" which leads to not having all features, but I am 100% positive Microsoft optimized it perfectly so no worries. Besides, we shall see soon enough. As for future updates, of course it's conjecture, hence the "if". :)

Yeah, but at this point talking about WP9 is like talking about WP20.1. And if you want to talk semantics, you specifically said "fails to be compatible".

My apologies, English is not my native tongue and it was a long time ago since I took my last exam about the semantics of if clauses :) You know what I meant, though. I was just expressing my unsupported concerns about future updates for my particular low-to-mid-range device. And since this is Nokia we are talking about, the device itself will probably outlive us both, so of course I wonder whether or not it will receive Windows Phone 100. :)

Hey Krist....u have a point, however...please understand...OS update is free, the firm who's making the OS has to earn from their hardware only.....and eventually from App store somehow!
So its not uncanny that they are designing their OS keeping ur phone in mind!!

Concentrate on ur job hunt...remember u gotta buy a high end device....who knows u might like iPhone 13 better!

I know everyone is still tripping on Cortana, but I'm really the most excited about the Enterprise Pack and Action Center.
I'm starting a new job soon, and if I don't get things like VPN support soon... I'll have to use an iPhone for work. Trust me, I don't want to do that.

I know its coming, but I start my new job next week. So I'm worried that I won't be able to hold out long enough to wait on April 2nd.
And if I have to get an iPhone, it will be provided by the company. I damn sure won't be buying it.
Frankly, I'm not sure yet if they support BYOD. So I may be forced into carrying two phones.

But all the apps in windows phone has problems to push notifications ,so action center is not useful they are planning to display the AC while i am playing a game or movie....will it pause the multimedia....or keep it on if i wanna take a peek on my notifications??
For sure its gonna kill my multimedia if its not pull-down!

Whats the purpose of this? srsly. No one needs this. WP is for Phones not tablets. We need useful Features not gimmicks.

Every area I can use my phone in landscape mode I do. Saying that I wish I could landscape everything on my 920. Its esp useful with the keyboard.

Any clue about customization options in 8.1 ? The ability to make own tile accent colors for example ?

I have a question.... With this action center will be useless the live tiles or the "me" tile I guess? Am I wrong?

Live tiles are more than just notifications.
The me tile however, I don't know. With the rumor of it dropping Facebook integration, I don't know if it will still support other social sites like Twitter or how the Me tile/app is used.

From the me tile you can see all the social notifications and answer from there to friends. For this reason I ask. If we will see the notifications from action center there is no point to use live tiles or the me tile. Anyway, we will see when will come the update. Thank you

The general polulation knows nothing about WP8.1.  My wife and daughters don't live on tech sites so they will be surprised.