GDR3 Update 3 Windows Phone 8

Hands on video tour of Windows Phone 8 Update 3

Earlier today, Microsoft surprised the Windows Phone community by not only announcing all the new features in GDR3, but by announcing the Developer Preview Program. That just announced program allows developers and enthusiasts to download the latest operating system updates from Microsoft. In fact it was just a few hours after those announcements that the Preview for Developers app went live allowing everyone to download GDR3, which Microsoft is calling Update 3. Let’s check it out those features in Update 3 for Windows Phone 8. 

First off, if you’ve been following the leaks and rumors from the past few months around GDR3 you should know this wasn’t going to be a monumental update. You’re going to need to wait for Windows Phone 8.1 (a.k.a. Blue) if you want to have your socks knocked off. Instead, GDR3 was an incremental update, one that’s giving your current handsets some much welcomed features while at the same time preparing for the next wave of Windows Phone devices – those in the 5 and 6-inch range. Let’s first check out the features we get today on our current handsets.

Goodnight App

GDR3 Bluetooth Tones

Windows Phone has had multi-tasking since the Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” update. By holding the back button you can see your most recent running apps. It worked reasonably well, but closing apps was a bit of a pain. You’d need to hit your back button a bunch of times to close out any running apps, not the best but it worked. Update 3 for Windows Phone introduces a few changes to that card view. First you’ve got the app icon next to the name beneath the card of the running app. Second, we’ve got a giant ‘X’ in the top right hand corner of the app. Tap that and you’ll close the app out. Simple and it works great.

While Windows Phone manages memory efficiently throughout the system, some of the more OCD among us like having the ability to close an app manually. It’s here and while others would have liked a gesture based solution like on iOS or WebOS, this is what we’re working with. As far as we know, this is how closing apps will work on any near future versions of Windows Phone, no gestures in sight. Honestly? Its fine and we’re digging the ability. Apparent you are too, it’s the most voted feature in our poll from earlier.

Ringtone for you, ringtone for her, custom ringtones for everyone!

Update 3 finally brings a feature users have been requesting for nearly three years now on Windows Phone – the ability to set customs tones for text, IM, voicemail, email, and reminders. GDR3 does that with aplomb and gives you the ability to set custom tones per contact. Just edit a contacts info and you can select your different tones for when they call or text you. For everything else, head into the ringtone and sounds section in settings and twiddle with what tones you want for your various notifications.

It’s a feature everyone’s been wanting and we’re glad to see it here. For example, you can bet mother-in-laws will be set to the tune of The Imperial March

Phone storage overhaul

GDR3 Phone Storage

The clouds parted, trumpets sounded, and the Windows Phone nation shouted together in happiness. Our Other Storage woes might just be a thing of the past. Update 3 brings improved storage management to Windows Phone. Check the video out above to see the process in action. The gist is that the phone storage section your settings has been overhauled. You’ll see a new graphical interface for how your storage is being utilized. Our favorite feature is scrolling down to the “temporary files” section, tapping it, and deleting all those files. Temporary files can accumulate on your phone over time and if you’re running out of space you can head there to quickly nuke them.

Don’t move

You’re lying in bed, browsing Twitter and click a link to a story you want to read. It opens in IE but the browser moves sideways. Wouldn’t it be nice if Windows Phone had an orientation lock to keep things from moving all over the place? It’s finally here, but it can be better.

Orientation lock is buried in the settings on your phone with Update 3. We would have preferred a faster way to lock or unlock our orientation. For example, placing an icon that you can toggle on and off in the volume controls would have been a nice touch. But at least it’s finally here. Hopefully they’ll listen to more of our feedback and improve functionality of this feature we’ve all been waiting for.

Driving mode, the most underrated feature in Update 3

GDR3 Driving Mode

Let’s first talk about Driving mode before I tell you why I think it’s usefulness is underrated. What’s Driving Mode? Check the video out above to see it in action, but basically you can have your phone ignore incoming calls and texts while you’re driving. While in Driving Mode, your phone can, as an option, sent pre-made messages to those trying to contact you. We’re big fans of NOT using our smartphones while driving, but we’re human and slip up from time to time. By using Driving Mode we’ll be less tempted to use our phones while operating a thousand pound death trap. It’s pretty slick how it works too. Driving Mode is enabled anytime it connects to a pre-selected Bluetooth device, like your car’s audio system.

But the functionality of Driving Mode goes beyond just keeping you safe while driving. I think it can also be useful in niche situations where you want to use your phone for things like music, but don’t want to be distracted by incoming messages or calls.

Maybe you’re studying for a huge exam or getting swoll in the gym, Driving Mode can be used to keep you focused on your goals. Maybe the Windows Phone team should consider not just driving mode, but different profiles you can select for your phone based on location, connections to certain devices, or any other situation you manually put your phone. That idea has some potential.

Various Update 3 knickknacks

GDR3 New Status Icons
New status icons layout in GDR3

Those things listed above are the main features of GDR3/Update 3 that we’re most stoked about, but there are other various things in the update that are useful. For example, you can now connect to Wi-Fi in the out-of-box-experience when you’re first setting up your phone. This is useful if you don’t have a SIM card in, but want to immediately get started with signing into your Microsoft Account on a new phone.

Update 3 also makes Windows Phone easier to use for those having a hard time hearing, seeing, and using Windows Phone. Various controls in the ease of access section of the settings have been improved for those needing them.

Internet sharing picks up some new features. You can now pair your Windows Phone with Update 3 to a Windows 8.1 device over Bluetooth, after that just select the network name and you’re connected. Easy as pie. We tried it out and love it on our Lumia 925 and Surface Pro, both running the latest software from Microsoft.

GDR3 for today and tomorrow

Abu Dhabi Nokia

GDR3 works on all Windows Phone 8 devices available right now and is important for enabling the next big change in hardware for Windows Phone. None of the handsets have it yet, but GDR3 enables support for 1080p displays. That’s Full HD and a resolution that’s expected to come to rumored devices like the Lumia 1520 and 929/1320. We’ll probably be seeing those next week in Abu Dhabi, but in the meantime GDR3 is what’s going to make those possible. Those large displays with 1080p will have the ability to display up to 6 Live tiles in a row, assuming you’re using the smallest Live tile.

Those new devices are going to need some new processing power, which is what GDR3 is also enabling. Windows Phone devices have always been powered by some type of silicon from Qualcomm in the Snapdragon family of Systems on a chip (Soc). The latest and greatest will be supported on Windows Phone because of GDR3. The Snapdragon 800 processor can currently be found on phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and LG G2, but starting next week we’ll probably be seeing it inside the Lumia 1520. Specifically the MSM8974 model number, which is a quad-core processor. Bonkers.

That’s the future, one we’ll seeing next week in Abu Dhabi. We’ll be live from the Middle East to bring you the latest and greatest from Nokia and Microsoft.

That’s your look at Update 3 for Windows Phone 8. Sound off with your impressions below!

Have more questions? Need answers? Check out our dedicated forums on this topic!


Reader comments

Hands on video tour of Windows Phone 8 Update 3


For Nokia Ringtone maker: no DRM mp3 allowed. Except call ringtone, try for 5 seconds trim mp3, even usual ringtone length is allowed. Make the genre as [ringtone] for device to recognise if not using Nokia Ringtone Maker.


These things are not updates....,these are the part of OS and should have been there from the beginning..., i fear if MS would one day say you had enough updates and no more updates to old WP8'S when the real updates come.

I don't get any new ease of access settings on my 925 UK. All i get is text size, screen magnifier and contrast, nothing else.

I can't believe no one mentioned this yet... But what the hell happened to separate volume controls!!! The simplest yet most essential thing! I appreciate what Microsoft is doing but they introduce driving mode and they don't put separate volume controls? So frustrating!

I love the way they have said "these files make your phone work. you don't want to delete them. Trust us." :) when you head into system option in phone storage.

Aw. Has some bugs while using LINE messengger after updating to GDR3. Try it, you'll hardly to see what you text in portrait, but it fixed in landscape.
And 1, wifi, bluetooth, and location icon at status bar, is moving to left. And location icon is moving to right. Try it.
#sorry for my bad english

Nice little update but... Couldn't they finally add separate volume controls? This is simple yet essential. I rarely used the volume buttons on my previous phones and need to adjust the volume 100 times a day with wp8, this is absurd. How can one think it OK to decrease/increase the ringer volume just because you're listening to a music with your headphones?

For me, the feature that I was eagerly looking for was the ability to attach Office documents while replying to emails. How can an email client not have this functionality.
How can WP8 be right for business without this basic feature.

WP OS not provide all support for all windows phone.They develop updates that they are missing and it take long time to develop that updates but we look there are not fully update all function in one OS they make different updates in different OS. if we see
1)wp 7 -they solve live tiles problem
2) wp 8- they added some new function dual core processors and latest added function
3)WP blue -what they missing in developing that add and nothing different than any OS or no new features.
they 2-3 features and said that new updates and no new updates come.
then apps developers confused about apps support about old WP OS and they don't develops apps for old device.

I would love to see AT&T and Nokia do a trade-in offer of my old older phones to be credited to buying the L1520. Also, instead of being called a "phablet", I prefer to call it a "handphone" now that it's bigger than the L920.

Will ATT be able to block internet sharing here or do we finally have a functional solution for tethering???

At least I can say that I had it with Spain keyboard method and worked fine I restored my phone a couple of days ago and yesterday installed gdr3 today I installed Spain keyboard again cause I wiped my 920 clean and it doesn't work..

Do i need to register for the free app studio on the website or will it register when i go through the app (preview for developer) and than its still free right?

so whqat happened to the notification center i thought that was coming with this update?
also i like that we can close apps now but i would of though that the way windows 8 does it would of fit better. io7 does it that way so why has ms done it this way?

WP8 still doesn't have true multitasking. You can't load or run apps simultaneously, they pause each time you switch. This was my main disappointment with WP8 since they made such a big deal of it using the same kernel as Windows 8

Thing is, part of the reason why WP runs as smoothly as it does is because of tombstone-ing. Old Windows Mobile ran apps simultaneously and it slows your phone down. Same on Android.

yes, it has true multitasking, but limited to file transfers.
Do you really want to drain the battery in 5 hours by running useless code?

WARNING: There is a new feature added in the ease of access settings, 'mobile accessibility' which will read out anything on your screen if enabled. Don't enable this with a lock screen password, you may have to reset your device to get back in - has a lot of glitches.

Still no automatic quiet time for most notifications. Driving mode sounds interesting, i think it should be expanded to incorporate a quiet time as well.
I also think, in keeping with the windows 8 theme, rather than having an (X) in the corner to close apps, should have allowed swipe down option as well. Just shows that these unintuitive ideas haven't even penetrated microsoft though.

Some info on the forums but wanted an official analysis and comparison of any battery life improvements (or the opposite) after GDR3 update. Would be great, thanks.

Ease of access features shown on the video were on the previous version, not sure but I think they been there from gdr2. I can recall I have them before installing gdr3

Will I be able to update to bittersweet the normal way(from update phone settings page) after doing gdr3 developer preview update? I mean, this thing(developers preview app) might be working such that it changes update mirros to special mirrors for developers preview releases where the phone probes to check updates, in that case it wont get OEM firmware updates? may be? just guessing.

Unable to mobilize?
anyone else find it amusing that articles from Windows Phone Central do not display on Windows Phone? Funny.

Can someone confirm ring + vibrate works correctly with this update?  They need to work simultaneously.  
vibrate(3 times)>>>ring>>>vibrate>>>ring            Who came up with this idea? stupid

I like it that way.
It offers a silent warning that a call is coming in before ringing.
Very convenient for me, and not "stupid" at all.

Hilarious! I got the update as soon as it was available. The first thing I did after the update was set my mother in laws tone to the imperial march. Great minds think alike. Lol

Hows other storage ? That part is on the storage check part of the settings not phone storage .can we now delete other storage files?

The first thing I did after update was trying to resize my titles. They could give the option to 3 columns. Beside this, my L920 seems to be faster. The X button is great to, not beautiful, but it's a great improvement.

Aren't we all just a pissy bunch. I started lusting after Windows Phone when it was introduced. Have we forgotten NoDo? The wait for Mango? The promise that Apollo would be just another upgrade?
Well, things changed. Windows Phone 8 brought lots to the table, Surface was introd. Updates to fix problems with Windows Phone 8. Hardly any features in 7.8. But we were all rabid to get these.
And now. We have had two significant (call it what you will, but GDR3 is important in laying the groundwork for the next wave of handsets to be introduced this week and next) updates just weeks apart. We also see the glimmer of hope that there will be no more waiting for carriers to deliver the goods on basic upgrades to the OS. This must have been an experiment to see how well OTA worked for this update. I am hoping that "Blue" will find its way to us in a similar fashion - unencumbered by the politics of carriers vs. new models, etc.

I don't see what's the big deal here. Everything on gdr3 and propably on wp8.1 should've been on the first build of wp8. I, atleast, am seriously thinking about changing back to android. I don't understand why the phone can't vibrate and ring at the same time, why the clock can't be visible at all times if I so chose....
From what I've been reading in the comments the multi tasking should work, when i bought my Ativ S I was under the assumption that wp8 had real multi tasking. But the apps just go to stand by or some such when not active/on the screen.
I'll give these new updates a go, but I'm not too excited. Custom ring tones...what is this 1998?

And where is the possibility to pi 6 small tiles on lumia 920? Or they will bring it with bittersweet shimmer? LOL now operation system is 2,4 Gb instead of 1.9 Gb. They've solved other folder problem;D

Love the video but it is hard to look at when the phone is tilted at an angle to the camera :/

Most useful feature was the one added and then taken away one day after the Gdr2 update...... Glance screen notifications. Unbelievable.

That's a Nokia update, and you never actually had notifications on Glance.
Supposedly it will be added with Nokia's 'bittersweet shimmer'.

I have updated a Lumia 925 - no problem - all announced functions worked afterwards.
Then I updated a colleagues Lumia 920, and guess what: Driving Mode and Rotation lock cannot be opened? Any ideas?

I'm avoiding this on my HTC 8X until the official release. The initial GDR2 update had aids and the volume and vibrate is slightly lower in loudness on my unlocked 8X vs. my friends 8X on T-Mobile. The beats audio integration is possibly another woe.

Has anyone else gone ahead and updated their 8X and what are the results?

Looking forward to trying the driving mode out on my way home today. Downloaded this last night on my 8xt when I got off the train.

Runs well and closing apps is a big deal. I found after GDR2 that the double click to close was not consistent through apps. Maybe that was just me, but there were times when I had too many open and it compromised my battery life and the phone obvkiously ran slower, though with WP8 that is not necessarily significant.
So to answer - yes, I think it is running better. Now for Nokia to drop the B. Shimmer update. Next milestone on our way to WP 8.1

Wow I love the X to close an app, I wish it was slide down the app to close, imagine doing that on a 1520 WHOA its way up there, great improvement but still not enough for me to jump on this,
Still no notification hub.. Oh well i can wait.. Overall great additions!!
Still rocking 7.8

One thing i noticed is that Deleting Temporary Files takes a real long time to complete, i have 448,62 mb temp files been waiting for more than 20 min for it to delete it.

Cool on the "other" and memory management. I want an apology though, from Microsoft for telling me for over 10 years starting back with the original Zune, that I was nuts and there was no memory management problem even though I ram into it nonstop on every single mobile Microsoft device (Zune, Zune 80, Zune HD, Windows Phone 7, and now Windows Phone 8).

Does anyone know why enabling Internet Sharing automatically disables a Wi-Fi internet connection? It'd really be nice if we could hotspot through Wi-Fi and not eat through our data plan.

I still want independent volume control. I don't want my music to be the same volume as my notifications. How driving mode was implemented before that is beyond me.

What was Daniel talking about with experimenting with new resizing options for tiles? He refers to it without explanation on the video. Did I miss a memo?

Nokia should really bring over the Situations app from Symbian. The best app ever made. I imagine with all the features they have ported over to WP from Symbian, I would hope Situations would be one of them soon.

Come on, still no notification status...!
Im getting tired of going thru my cell, trying to figured out which app made the sound for notification , and always checking viber, fb,Skype,Nokia chat, weChat, to see if someone message me :-\.
This is a must!

Great style of writing.  I love the use of examples to showcase the added benefit of a new feature.

Clearly i'm old because the term "swoll" is new to me.  It's not hard to figure out what it means but man it's obviously a new term.  Gotta revisit the urban dictionary and to keep up with my peeps.

Ok, I took the bait and chomped...updated my 822 and my wife's new 928. Awesome, even though its just a bunch of little things with a couple of biggies ( the x for closing apps gives the user a greater sense of control, so its a biggie no matter what anyone says ), its great to be able to go out and get it without waiting for the provider to deem us worthy. However, some comments have me concerned, and I'd like to see full articles here to clarify a few things. Such as the warranty does getting an update this way affect our warranties, and what worst case scenarios could we be looking at if we do update? Does MS provide a reset option if the update bricks the phone? They should, if they get a mass of bricked phones at some time in the future from this or future updates, they're looking at a full scale revolt if they don't have a backup plan for their customers.

Has anyone noticed some of the latest update features not showing up on their phone? Such as the extra Bluetooth add on and a couple others?

I had no problem with the update installation, and no error messages showed up.

I have a 920 and until now the updates have installed just fine
Any ideas?


Great stuff, but Microsoft really needs to organize all that stuff under settings. There's no reason why screen orientation should be it's own item. Why not stick it under display?

But there is no USB On The Go support :( C'mon Microsoft, Lumia 925 with 16G without MemoryCard Slot, pleaseeee, let us have some music, at least with external usb storage

The very much needed was "Screen lock rotation" ... :) finally it's here... but I think, it should be handy, like, it should be near "ringer" button when we turn up/down the volume....... :) i saw  it in a concept/video .. I think MS is concentrating on wp 8.1 .... which might include proper multitasking and many features.. :)

Now I know the article says everyone can get it now, but when I download the app and try to sign in, it says I have to be a developer.

Wow! Really impressed that MS developers have turned out incredible features in just 1 year of updates. 

Can someone confirm the status of the (not-so) live tiles update frequency in GDR3? In GDR2 and earlier, if there is no internet connection on the phone (no 3G/4G and no Wifi either), tile updates are all suspended, regardless of the fact the app does not need any internet connection to update its tile. For example the battery apps are all broken because of this: if there is internet connectivity UP on the phone, the update hapens every 30 mins, if there is no internet connection, the live tile froze indefinitely and does not update until the phone connects to the internet again. This has been confirmed in one of the MSDN forums by MS developers nearly 1 year ago when WP8 was released, but the issue still persist in GDR2. I have a bad feeling this will never ever be fixed, and will be considered as a "by design" flaw.
Anybody running already GDR3, can have a look at it?

I have some issues with my battery life :( it drains a lot faster than it did with Gddr 2 is anyone facing the same problem?

Hello guys, i've updated my L620 to GDR3 last night but dont know why my settings didn't. I have almost everything like it was before. Also, my L620 is TIM branded so Amber update came without Data Sense. I thought that with this update, Microsoft bypasses carriers and deliver a complete windows experience with all it's features. How can i update all settings from my phone? Thanks.

 is custom ring tones something new? I have different ringtones for different people in my wp7, whats the new part?