Windows Phone 8 GDR3

What’s coming next - Microsoft officially announces Windows Phone 8 GDR3 OS update

Windows Phone 8 GDR3 to be delivered in the coming weeks, bringing many new features to current and future hardware

This morning at 8 AM ET, Microsoft officially pulled the veil off of the highly anticipated General Distribution Release 3 (GDR3), the third and final OS update for Windows Phone 8 before next year’s 8.1 overhaul. This comes just days after AT&T in the US began to push out GDR2 for current Lumia 820 and 920 users and the nearly complete worldwide launch of that second update.

Microsoft updates their mobile OS through a series of updates, called GDRs, which are akin to the Service Packs of Windows desktop from years ago. In addition to full OS updates, GDRs are meant to add fixes to the OS for bugs, bring new features to current users and enable new hardware options for their hardware partners.

Windows Phone 8 GDR3

Windows Phone 8 GDR3 8.0.10512, expected to begin delivery to current devices in the coming weeks, will bring many new features to current and future Windows Phones, including:

  • Support for 1080p display for new devices like the Lumia 1520
  • Support for new processors including Qualcomm’s Snapdragon MSM8974 quad-core CPU
  • Close apps by tapping on the X on top right in multitasking view. The icon of the app appears below.
  • Custom tones for text or IM, voicemail, email and reminders
  • Better storage management: New storage settings make it easier to free up space on your phone and manage temporary files. A new category view shows what's taking up space at a glance.
  • Screen Rotation lock: When auto-rotate screen is off, your screen will stay in the current orientation when you rotate your phone.
  • Driving Mode: Turns of all notifications except texts and phone calls when you're driving. You can also turn calls and texts off completely or set Driving Mode to text and automatic reply like "Hey, I am driving right now. I'll reply you later." Driving Mode can start automatically when your phone connects to a Bluetooth device.
  • Connect to Wi-Fi in OOBE when switching on your new phone for the first time or after you your reset your phone, so you can restore your data even before connecting to a cellular network.

Microsoft detailed the new OS update on their official Windows Phone blog, noting that a lot of the new features were driven by user requests.


Back in late 2012 and early 2013, GDR1 (also known as ‘Portico’) was released. That update brought new texting features, improved Wi-Fi and messaging improvements. Starting later in the summer, Microsoft and their OEM partners delivered GDR2, an update that included fixes for Xbox Music, ‘Other Storage’ and more.

In addition to the OS updates, Microsoft’s partners also deliver accompanying firmware updates that allow the OEM to further customize the OS and improve hardware support. Nokia has prominently lead these updates with their colorfully named firmware including ‘Amber’ (GDR2) and ‘Bittersweet shimmer’ (GDR3). Nokia’s firmware has enabled new features such as Glance screen, call + SMS blocking, flip to silence, double tap to awake, new camera options and more.

Microsoft expects GDR3 to launch in the “coming weeks” and to continue delivery in the coming months.

Windows Phone 8 GDR3

Updates today for developers

Microsoft is also announcing a developer preview program, whereby they can get early access to these updates, including GDR3. To qualify, you will need to meet one of these criterion:

  1. Your phone is “developer-unlocked”
  2. You’re a registered Windows Phone Store developer OR
  3. You’re a registered Windows Phone App Studio developer

Microsoft will give further details on their developer blog later today.

Source: Windows Phone Blog


Reader comments

What’s coming next - Microsoft officially announces Windows Phone 8 GDR3 OS update



Yeah if you have a carrier phone you might have the update by Xmas. Purchase outright it will be a week before 8.1!!

Just pay the $19 developer fee and get early access. I paid it during the summer to publish some apps and now I am rewarded!! :D

Well.. Interactive way--> MSFT program for beginner developers

Better way (but "boring")--> Books about C#

Do developer unlocked phones get all features? Particularly, do you bypass carrier updates like ATT where they stripped out Data Sense?

But if you update early, won't you lose Nokia-specific updates like amber? So no glance screen? (Only if you have a Nokia, of course).

You won't lose amber silly! Amber is in the device firmware, not the OS and the OS and firmware are completely separate.

This is actually a pretty clever way for Microsoft to not only get the update to developers ahead of time, but to give enthusiasts a relatively safe/simple/cheap (and "official") way to bypass carriers that drag their feet rolling out the updates.

The att Nokia Lumia 920 was the first to get the GDR1 update, and a quick fix came immediately after.. But, nobody gives att credit for that... Instead we just complain, complain, complain, complain......

It's because they took this long to REMOVE a feature we could have used, which is Nokia's "Data Sense."  And the "myAT&T" app is not the same thing.  They did this so that their customers would go over their limit.  But if I'm wrong, and they removed that for some other reason, let me know.

Data Sense is something from MS not Nokia.
Data Sense which exists on the phone is only 1/2 of the product. The other half of the product exists on the carrier's network which is supposed to provide data compression and data tracking so that you get more of a real-time knowledge of how much data you are using. My understanding is (and I could well be wrong here) that ATT is planning to support Data Sense at some point (presumably because it means less traffic on their network), but they would need to update a lot of things on their network to make it work. Updating the network takes time and is expensive... and to be honest WP is still far too small of a platform to make such changes for. So while it may well be coming... it is not a priority.
I think that the same could be said about the GDR2 release for non 1020 devices. During that same time frame iOS7 was being tested for implementation. Apple users kind of outnumber MS users (at least for now!), so the priority went to Apple development to get that working correctly on the network for launch day, while GDR2 for existing devices was put on the back burner.
Annoying? Sure. But at the same time it is understandable. If you want better support, they you just have to get more people to buy into the platform you like. Also, I am much happier to have it a month late but without a patch compared to getting it on time but buggy. The GDR2 update went smooth as butter without any major issues as far as I can tell on my device.

There will be news next week about how delivery of updates is changing!

When asked if the Nokia Lumia 520 will be getting GDR3, he said “there’s going to be some good news there” and when pressed as to the solution such as custom ROMs if the carrier does not deliver he replied “we don’t have as big of a thing around those lines. But that’s not going to be an issue going forward. So, we’ll talk about that next week. But that won’t be a problem.”

Great looking update! Sadly, I have ATT. I'm sure I won't be seeing this until 2014. Can't wait for my contract to be done with so I can tell ATT to screw while I switch to Verizon/T-Mobile.

Take it easy I read an article this morning that Microsoft is gonna deliver updates for wp8 and at least for me that means screw you carriers.

because ATT blocks key OS features like data sense and is always the last to release any OS updates if at all, they haven't even release WP7.8 for Samsung Focus something Rodgers in canada did right away.
In other words stay as far away from ATT if you want good WP support.

Other us carriers aren't much better. Tmobile never released 7.8 on any of its windows phones (HTC radar and Nokia 710) at least att gave it to the Lumia 900.

Verizon never had any 7.5 phones so they don't really have a track record to compare, but id guess its no better.

I think this is a bit disingenuous towards att. Their 920 updates have been pretty prompt if you exclude GDR2. And frankly, when they jumped in with both feet for GDR1 they got screwed by connection bugs in the update, forcing another update a few weeks later to make phones usable again. So I can see shy they were a bit gun shy this time.
And I think data sense is really the only missing feature... And it's missing on some other carriers too.
I do agree that they took way too long with GDR2, but I think the rest is overreaching a bit.

I agree.  Why would they want to rush to patch a phone they already sold to you last year.  it's not THEIR update!   Microsoft should deliver (and support) these updates themselves.  Fortunately, it seems with GDR3 they are starting to get that message and maybe will start doing that for the general user soon as well like Apple does.  
By the way I am on ATT and I feel everyones pain on that last update, but its hard to get mad at AT&T

What other features, besides data sense, has att blocked? You make it sound like they block all lot of features all the time..

Dave its very possible that Verizon has a exclusivity period on data sense right now which is why AT&T cannot add it. That could end in another month or two. AT&T does have the better selection of phones from which to pick. Like someone else said, all carriers tend to pick and choose which update is important to them.

Dont think so, my memory, they get it exclusive for at most q1 2013 and it would come to other carriers. 
ATT decided to strip this probably because they suck. 

it most probably means that it's gonna be available on new devices out of the box.. while other devices would get it in the coming months..

Downloaded, and running fine on my L928. Not much to be excited for, arientation lock w/e, no new glance features, but the multiapp view window with x's on open apps is the best and only thing nice about it. Nokias new software is what I'm actually waiting for. Otherwise I guess I can close open apps better now, woot woot.

Speaking of sounds, what about separate volume controls for ringtone and media? That is the main feature I'm waiting for.

Hope Nokia releases this update early.....
One of the most important feature that i still find missing is being able to copy files downloaded to any other mobile.
This is one of the basic feature not implemented yet.

I understand your concern. Honestly, Verizon will sometimes just a like a prissy ass about these situations.

no it isn't.. it probably just means that these new phones we're already waiting for are going to come with it out of the box.. while the rest of the lot is going to get it in the coming months..

Where do we find the details if we are developers and have unlocked developer unlocked phones, I know it says developer blog but not sure where I can find that

Can you read dumb sh** I'm asking where is the developer blog, didn't ask how to be a developer (which I am) so slow down a bit and read the post

Now the big test for ATT begins, are they again going to be a massive failure by releasing GDR3 in November/December or 2014 or are WP owners going to see GDR3 on ATT within the next 2-3 weeks?

What about the new tile columns to devices like Lumia 920. Isn't it coming for us? Is it really just for Full HD windows phones? :(

I also read somewhere (might have been on WPC) that it could also be for any WP8 device that has a screen resolution of 720x1280 or more but that would mean that the smallest tile is only going to get smaller unless they scale the whole screen up a little, to make more use of the gutters either side of the tiles.  Not sure how practical that would be on 4.x screens.

This is my biggest question as well. We have heard some "rumors" that 92* devices will recieve the additional column but no word from Microsoft themselves. I, for one, would jump at this ability. I feel like the tiles are too big on my screen and i am still wasting tons of space with the "spacers" on the edges of the screen.

You can assign one to contacts :) The official blog says "You can also assign custom ringtones to contacts for text messages, so you'll know who's texting you without even looking."

These updates are great but, the only thing I want fixed is Bluetooth settings. Just add a switch to turn on/off reading the text messages back. They had a on and off switch on wp7 but they did not bring that feature over to wp8. I love my 928 just wish they would had that feature to the Bluetooth settings.

I literally just figured out how to turn that off 2 weeks ago. I get a lot of group texts so I would get super annoyed when my Bluetooth was on in my car. Just go to settings then speech to turn it off

I remember reading somewhere that separate volume controls for ringtones and apps would also be coming with GDR3.
Any news on that?

Seems like no.
You can see the full spec list above. No reason to go guessing anymore. It's official. 

The only things that excite me on GDR3 are attaching directly to an email and a more elegant way to close an app, although I think they implemented it in a very ineloquent way (iOS does this well now in 7). But it is always good to see progress on any level. GDR2 has been great now that I got it. Can't wait to see what else is in the pipeline.

If your phone is not developer unlocked, but you are a registered developer, will your phone still be able to receive the early update?

Where is the Data Sense for all WP8 devices?
HTC's international version WP8 devices do not have that even after the GDR2 update, however it is important for EU users as data availability is not unlimited. (Once over, drop to GPRS speed and wait till next month)

If you have a Nokia look for Amber in settings extras + info. Amber came with GDR2. If you have another phone Bing the OS number to find out. 8.0.x

So basically anyone can sign up to be a developer, so anyone can get the update early. This is amazing news! Can't wait to install Update 3!

Seems like the best GDR yet; custom tones (we have been waiting since WP7 launch for this!), screen lock, driving mode, and better multi tasking screen are all changes that we will be able to really notice when we use our phones daily.

No mention of the revised start screen?  Is GDR3 or 8.1 bringing the new start screen that allows for 3 medium tiles per row?  I thought we would see this with GDR3 since the 1520 is coming soon.  I really hope this new set up is optional.

But is it optional?  Was this activated by GDR3?
I think it makes sense for 6inch phones but not everyone will like it.

Hi Daniel, you said " participate you need to meet these conditions..." but in the blog they mentioned you only need to meet one of the three conditions.

i told you everyone here about GDR3 that it will be available before Nokia's event  a montyh ago ......and i had right but nobody believed me..hahaha

Well we whinge and whinge and whinge yet in 1 year MS will have released 3 fairly major updates. i dont know if any other OS has done this, maybe they have, but I think its time we all drank a warm glass of shut the hell up.

"Getting Update 3 on your developer phone

To update your phone, you’ll need to visit the Windows Phone Preview for Developers page. This page, which will go live later today, goes through everything you need to know about the preview program."


thought the same at first but i recall a few articles that notification center wont arrive before 2014... assuming it's going to be the big overhaul we are hearing about with 8.1 unfortunately.

cant wait, ATT better be quicker this time around!  definately looking forward to all new features and bug fixes!

GDR3 sounds great, I can attach docs. Set screen rotation and all that good stuff. But damn it, the iPhone and crappy android phone can print to my wireless printer and my great windows phone can't. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

I agree!  My Surface does it. And acutally it pulled my wifi printer settings from the could when I synced it with my current Win8 account that was on my desktop.  I am thinking this will come as they start connecting Win8 to WP8 more and more.  Maybe 8.1??????  
You think they could build an app that would be able to print any files saved to the phone.  Then I could save a document and open the app to print. 

That would be up to Nokia; however, it wouldn't surprise me if Nokia was waiting on MS to announce GDR3 since they probably have Bittersweet Shimmer ready go to. Like with GDR2 and Amber, they should arrive at the same time.

When is Nokia going to announce its Bittersweet Shimmer list of improvements? Do we have to wait until the Abu Dhabi event?

From what I remember, MS promised to support WP8 devices for at least 18 months.  So there is no reason the 8X and all other WP8 launch devices won't get 81.  However, that might be the last major update they get.  Knowing MS, they will continue to support it longer than that as long as they don't change anything major in the OS that would prevent this.

Two reasons why some devices wouldn't receive future updates: Carriers won't release it, or OEMs won't. If there's one thing you can count on, it's HTC dropping the ball on updates. But, here's hoping they don't. I like seeing HTC in the mix with Nokia for the WP8 crowd.

I love the update but the multitasking is so stupid! Just do it like Apple does it and call it a day Microsoft!

Can't wait, hopefully T-Mobile release it as fast as the last update. I've been dying for custom MMS tones since I updated to Windows Phone with the 710.

Apart from 1st and 2nd rest are missing features which should have been shipped with Windows phone release 2012. Where is notification center ?

I hope Nokia/Microsoft release a ~4.5" phone with a 3000mah battery and the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon MSM8974 quad-core CPU. That would be my dream device :)

Me too. Like an updated version of L1020 with the 41mp Pureview and Procam and Smartcam combined into one.

Car mode will mean no longer need those 3rd party car-dash apps.
Also, being able to set it so that Car mode can run automatically once paired w/ a bluetooth device is what I was hoping I could do with NFC tags in the first place.

can't believe it took 3 years to allow the use of wifi upon first use. So many times have I had trouble resetting my phone because the APN settings were wrong and thus I couldn't use data. Not everyone has a data plan either. Oh well.. atleast they're slowly getting there. very slowly....

Coming in a few weeks? Very good!!
Of course a few weeks means "not until next year" for AT&T customers though :/
I'd appreciate it if AT&T didn't drag their feet.

These are all really good improvements. Especially the very much missed adding custom tones to text. I've missed that feature so much :)

I could have sworn the change log used to include " a huge amount of improvements for Bluetooth compatibility" or something like that. I hope it is still there!

Instead of going to settings to turn on and off auto rotate.  Make it simpler for those that sometimes want it and sometimes dont.
What if you push on the screen while turning the phone and then it knows to hold the current rotation (not auto rotate).

BlackBerry 10 has a nice way to access this setting by swiping down from the top of the screen. I miss a lot of things from BB10

YAY GDR3!! It allows for text messaging sounds (finally!), and 1080p resolution with quad-core CPU capabilities. Ah yeeeah, Win8.1 is on its way!

Well the update is certainly welcome but this is already starting to look like a train wreck for carriers like ATT.  They've just breathed a sigh of relief on GDR2, three months late out the door, are you telling me that their WP update cadence has suddenly fallen into line and will allow for a more timely push of GDR3 so soon after?  I don't think so. 
This is just more bad publicity waiting to hit the WPC forums once again.  Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale of testing, HTC will push the update out as fast as possible as they did with GDR2 and cause problems for us lucky unbranded 8X users which needed another firmware update to partially fix.
This can only be resolved when Microsoft finally wrestle this update process out of the carriers hands somehow (not sure if they ever could from the manufacturers).  We know they (MS) have all the testing facilities to ensure a quality update for every carrier scenario, I'm sure there's a lot of overlap going on.  I wonder how the schedule is is affecting WP8.1?

I have an AT&T 8X and I received the GDR2 update last month so I don't think phone brand matters.

Well, for all we know, Att might already have been doing testing on GDR3 while they were holding out on Amber. I do feel that they will do a better job this time because of the no of complaints they got on the Amber. If they screw this up again, there might be some real consequences for them

Anyone know if custom tones will be allowed for 3rd party messaging apps like whatsapp and kik?

I'm thinking that since it has just been added into the OS that kik and other such apps would now be able to code it into the app and make use of it

I really want the option to automatically download images in email and set custom tones for different app notifications. These two alone would make my experience much better. Hoping 8.1 brings these and other goodies like notification center that is innovative and useful since anything not pinned to start screen never get seen.

Woohoo Rotation Lock , Closing Apps from Multitasking view & Custom Notifications ! Oh wait , Better Storage Management ? & all in the coming weeks !!! That's frickin awesome .

well, it only took them 2 years to let you attach anything other than a picture on an email you started composing...and they wonder where the 3% marketshare is from...

Not to be a party pooper, but... does it also let you have custom vibration patterns for different contacts? I had that on my old LG Lotus phone (which actually was a fantastic feature phone, I kinda miss it :/ ) about 5 years ago, and since I only use vibrate the custom ring tones don't do anything for me.