Preview for Developers

Video: Microsoft’s Preview for Developers and updating to Windows Phone 8 Update 3

We go hands on with the 'Preview for Developers' app and show you what it's like to update to Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (build 10512)

This morning, Microsoft not only announced Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (aka GDR3) but they also announced a Preview for Developers program whereby devs can get early access to the latest OS builds by download an app (and being a registered developer). How fast can you get GDR3? Well you can do it right now. In fact, we updated our Nokia Lumia 925.

Want to see how it all works? Watch our video tour of the process to see what will happen.

The whole process takes no longer than a standard OS over-the-air update, that is about 20 minutes. The only difference here is there is no firmware to install so it’s actually faster. One of the more interesting things we noticed was the “grinding gear” portion now has a status meter to alleviate any concerns that it is stuck.

The process was overall very smooth and we have no complaints.

Want to know what’s in GDR3 and to see those new features? Stay tuned as we’re going through the OS update, build 10512, right now.

GDR3 new Grinding Gears

Do you have questions about the Preview for Developers Program? Head into our forums where others can help you out.


Reader comments

Video: Microsoft’s Preview for Developers and updating to Windows Phone 8 Update 3



If i update to this update it says it will void my warrenty but when the full GDR3 comes will i be able to get my warrenty again?

No, but in theory if you uninstalled the app they'd never know, just so long as the Preview Program doesn't brick your device.

Hopefully Microsoft will continue to release OS update previews to devs like that, so if you want to get 8.1 early you would keep the app installed (or just install it again when they actually release the update to devs)

Hey Dan, quick question. I presume this program will allow for an early download of WP 8.1. Would that be an accurate assumption or is it limited to incremental updates such as GDR's and omits larger upgrades such as 8.1? Your thoughts?

Or you can 'manually' downgrade back to GDR2 - that's if you have a Lumia phone :)
Tried and tested.

Check the Windows Phone 8 Forums. Unfortunately I could'nt even post the link here - (What gives???)

Yeah, I rather have it by ios and android where you swipe instead of pressing a button, but its better than keep pressing the back button.

Especially since Windows 8 already has swiping... But, I'll take what we can get. Definetly better than spamming the Back button, that's for sure.

It actually has no performance or memory benefit (the apps are already closed) but I guess it's nice to have it there so people can close the apps they 'think' are still open.

It's amazing people cling to this false nonsense because they don't understand the phone can be used differently.
Some of us like the ease of hitting the back button and cycling between a small number of apps.
Seriously, not rocket science.

Which is what I'm agreeing with. It's good to have the option for people who want to remove the apps from their list. But it's also upsetting to see people who obsess over it because they think they're going to get to get battery life or better performance if they do so.

Sometimes you open apps with important information or stuff you don't want your significant other to see but it can still be accessed by hitting the back button.  The old way you had to keep hitting the back button in order for it to be completely closed.  With the new way it's easier to close those apps you left opened with sensative material.

Ugly and annoying? Same x we have been used to since WP7. But hey, I get it, you need something to complain about...

This is how it will work in the future...

Back Button and Search Button are going away, leaving only a single Windows Button. (Just Like iPhone)
Single press takes you to the start screen.
Double press takes you to the App Switcher
From Home Screen, swipe to the right is now Bing (Universal Search just like windows 8.1)


Having your thumb to reach the X is not intuitive or convenient. Just a quick swipe down would've made the perfect sense. Wait until you use the phablet. There is no way your thumb would reach up there in the corner. Not sure if its a patent issue but both Android and iOS have that feature. Now if the would only fix the music player and controls. Sucks having to use the volume toggle to get the player. Alot of work still needs to be done!

I updated my 1020. If you're really concerned about the warranty, then maybe not. I do pay for the mobile insurance every month, and I'm fairly cautious but I took the plunge. I like the ability to close the apps in the multitask area. I thought this update also included the ability to attach docs. I must have misread something somewhere. Disappointed not to see that. I like the storage display. Overall pleased with the update. I'd say go for it.

Thanks Elderjlward.
I'm not that worried about Warranty , I got like a couple of months left .
I wan't sure about weither I update & hope for the best or wait for HTC ... looks like I'm gonna update it tonight :)

Just found document attachments. You need to go to the doc long press share pick your email account and it opens a new email with the attachment. I was hoping for replying to a email and add a attachment from the email. But then again this most likely isnt the final version.

Hi RyanAMG:
I think that's how it's always worked. I don't think that part is new. I could be wrong. I'm used to sending a doc from WITHIN the doc. The method of the long press on the doc "icon", as you've isn't something I've practiced before however( I don't think). Is that really new?:-) If so it is a plus and thanks. As you noted I was expecting the ability to do like old Window Mobile days and attach a document from an email. Hope we get that functionality. Thanks again. Every ounce of progress is progress.:-)

Hey I just checked my wifes 920, GDR2 and you CAN send an email the way you described via a long press. My 1020 of course also had GDR2 before I upgraded to GDR3 thus morning. So guess GDR3 didn't bring this to the table. Guess we're still waiting for some document attachment enhancements.:-)

I think everyone who wnats updates will be able to do them, the masses don't care anyway...

Oh yes they do, the amount of times someone has complained to me about not having an x to close an app is huge. And they are non geeks by the way.

Do you really think that pushing the back button endlessly to close your apps is even remotely user friendly or sensible. Especially when an x is so easy in comparison, smartass.

I love the new plain-worded descriptions. Makes windows phone seem so friendly. Example : under the phone storage for system storage it says "these files make your phone work. You don't want to delete them. Trust us"

Same here, it's a nice push towards simplicity. Instead of using confusing tech-y language, it's worded so that even the most basic of users can understand. It decreases confusion, but also makes your phone seem... Friendlier. It's just a casual acquaintance trying to help you out, and not this confusing and imposing piece of tech.

Yeah, Windows Phone has always been good at that. Like the subtitle for 'backup' in the settings menu: 'save stuff to the cloud'.

The Medley in Abbey Road plays a lot smoother than before, so if that's gapless playback, I'll take it!!! 

As much as I want to do this I'll just wait. Can't wait to see what you guys find that wasn't detailed by MS.

GDR3 fixed my live tiles. I've been living without them for almost a year now. I just hope they keep working.

Did you change the phones in this video? Your live tiles were differently laid out after the update right, Daniel?

No. You're confusing things. Preview for Developers app was waaay at the bottom. I didn't start it at the top. Same phone.

I'm going to wait and see when it will come ota from att. I still have a warranty for a month. After that I give up on them.

The disclaimer screen says it MAY VOID warranty... I see it as a good enough reason to check out the update besides if you take it to an ATT store/device center (if you are on ATT) I doubt they will notice... My 2 cents :)

I did it on my ATT 920 and have had no problems.  I was a little bit nervous because this is my work phone, but everything went smooth.

Daniel or anyone,
just to be sure, u didn't get stuck at spinning cog while updating yours? cuz i don't want to lose all my apps and end up wasting my time setting up my phone from a scratch. all the previous updates had me stuck there and ended up reflashing my phone and lost everything.

I lost nothing in the update, but it can often take quite some time for the actual update. Mine took about an hour.

I really really want to update my L920...God knows I've been waiting for custom sms/alarm tones since my L800 days.
However, I would just wish Nokia would clarify their stand on the warranty.
Will they consider the warranty void if I join in this? If they're to be taken over and destroyed by Microsoft, it doesn't really make much sense to declare the warranties void. Still, I will restrain myself from updating until I hear an official word from Nokia. After that, I'll do it (or not). My warranty only ends January 2015 and I'm not jeopardizing that.

My understanding of this is if the phone bricks as a result of going through the process then you will not be covered under warranty. Once you've followed all the steps required and successfully updated to GDR3 then you can simply remove the app and then nobody needs to know so your warranty will remain intact

So since I have an unlocked Lumia 920 bought off eBay this sounds like a no brainer for me. Plus I have a SquareTrade warranty for my phone. Let's do this!

From vid, first thing i noticed was the new layout for signal icons. The BT icon was very close to WiFi one. Man im tempted to grab this.....

What are the chances of WP 8.1 aka Blue being "previewed" the same way as this Update 3??? I want to try it early too :P

I got a feeling this isn't a one shot, it seems like a bit too much work for that, so hopefully we'll keep seeing it for future updates. You don't start off calling it a program if you only plan on doing it once (they can, or thats what may happen, but the sounds of it sounds more long term). 

Worked like a charm on my 925.   It's all there as advertised -- with the exception of being able to attach office docs to email.

You have always been able to attach office files to email. go to the office app long press on a device and you can share it by email from there.

I think that the sharing of Office docs was actually just sharing the link to SkyDrive. It seems now it is the actual file. It is ass-backwards, though.

Yes.  That is the way that we have been able to attach documents before, but the ability to attach straight from email was touted as one of the features as early as this morning.  That bullet point has since been edited out of the list in that story.


Don't confuse the Nokia Storage Check with the Windows Phone "Phone Storage." If you have a Lumia, you will still have the check and can see the details. While the MS setting is better, it still doesn't match the information you get with the Nokia app.

Very disappointed :( I recall your article saying 920 & 1020 would be supported, really hope it does come back or is attached to B.S.S

can I update to GDR3 (in that way) if I am stuck on GDR1 because my country is in the middle of nowhere and it's not getting me GDR2?

By the way everyone the status bar with the loading cogs is not consistant. I thought id bricked my device as it was stuck on about 5% for around 20 mins then all of a sudden started moving and got to 100% in less than 2 mins. So dont panic, just have patients.

Daniel (if you are reading this far down in the comments) did you ever have to restart your device once the update had completed? I was expecting that, but I never got a restart prompt.

Totally loving custom Text/IM sounds on my 1020! Finally!
Rotation lock!
X button to close open apps!
email attachements in Office! (?)
I'm still looking for more... anyone else?

I'm confused. I update my 1020 to GDR3 (balls'zie or stupid?), but I don't see no 3 mediums tiles or 6 small ones as claimed on a post a few weeks ago. It stated it require 1280x720 or better for this. Even mentioned the 1020.. But that's not the case. Or do I need to do something else to enable this?

also, is GDR3 going to be the so called 8.1 WP???

I believe that's only for the 1080p supported hardware. It'd be nice to have on my 1020, but I don't think it's coming...

Please start following Joe Belfiore on Twitter.  He posted a reminder to everyone that only 1080p phones or higher could take advantage of more tiles.  You'll have to buy one of the new larger phones if you want that.

Just updated on Nokia 925 for T-Mobile. Took 24 minutes from download to reboot. No problems with install. Now to add sound files to Text/IM contact. Will add the predator sound for wife's contact profile. Every time she text me I can feel my spine being pulled from my back.

Don't confuse the Microsoft update called GDR3 with Nokia's firmware/feature update called Bittersweet Shimmer. The Amber update was Nokia's bits with GDR2. By updating to GDR3 you get Microsoft's bits, but until Nokia starts rolling Bittersweet Shimmer, you'll won't be seeing any of their enhancements yet. Amber brought such things as Glance (which are rumored to be improved when Nokia rolls BSS out), so you won't lose anything from Amber. We just get to enjoy the Microsoft bits, which is fine by me.

You can attach to emails. Open up a new email, you will see the paperclip when the cursor is in the body of the message.

Can't wait for B.S.S from Nokia as gdr3 is underwhelming, was really expecting tile size change on my 1020 & 920, please don't make me buy a giant phone for this feature Nokia. :/

Is the 6 tiles across supposed to work in all resolutions?


Or only in 1080p mode?

If you followed Joe Belfiore on Twitter, you'd already know that the additional tile options are only for larger resolutions (1080 found on the larger phones).  So, yes, you will have to buy a "giant" phone in order to take advantage of that.

I remember reading on this site that 920/1020 resolutions would receive it and it was on the early builds of gdr3 and no I don't follow twitter so I guess im not as informed as you, do hope it comes eventually as I can't go any bigger than my 1020

I can't wait to have GDR3 update!

Officially in Canada November 5 from Bell Mobility, Telus Mobility and Rogers Mobility.

Then aka Blue update WP8.1 in February 2014.

WP8.1 will overtake iOS7.1 Q3 2014 @10% market share! Windows Phone becomes #2

Except the x icon the close the applications, I didn't see any new feature!!!! How to attach an office document on emails?

You do it from within the office document. When you choose the "Share" option you will be able to select one of your email accounts as the method. A new email will open up, showing you that it's attached, and you can finish up the email and send it.

If RT can run on arm then the natural choice would be to combine all platforms,thereby one update and one ecosystem.

I pushed the boat out and even paid for Dev Center, never know I might try and write an app. Still my Lumia 920 now plays nicely with my car's Bluetooth. My Lumia 800 didn't either but my N8 always has.

Please update either here in the comments or on the forum how it went. I, too, have an ATIV S Neo and wanna see how it works for others.

Works flawlessly. It took longer to update than reported though. About 30 min total. It also seems to fix the camera bugs I've been having as well as give a means to remove temporary files.

Links are available in these articles, press get started on the Ms page then install the preview app and check for updates, good luck

After I click to accept the Terms and Conditions I get a "Can't connect" message telling me that they weren't able to validate my account. I did all the things! It says to check my data connection (home wi-fi) or try again later. Anyone else having this problem? Hopeful it's just a busy server thing (fingers crossed).

Turns out my home wifi must be terrible for this sort of thing. I turned it off and went with LTE and I got through! BTW, Verizon 822.

Installed in about 15 mins went well. Nothing really all that new and exciting i was expecting to see the new tile layout as it was confirmed that the 920 would get it but its not present at all

Odd I read somewhere this was confirmed will have to look that up again wasn't on wpc though think it was techno buffalo.

No.  You lose nothing.  You gain the functionality of GDR3.  Amber is a Nokia-specific, just as Bittersweet Shimmer is.  BSS is set to roll over the next few months, and adds Nokia-specific functionality on top of GDR3.  So, enjoy GDR3 and Amber for how.  When BSS rolls, you'll get even more Windows Phone goodness.

When are they gonna fix the other storage crap with gdr2 in stayed between 2 GB and 1.3 GB now gdr3 its on 1.2 GB.

ok, and it's free right to sign up for the 'developer thing', don't wanna hear afterwards that it's a fee you have to pay

I cant confirm that it is free i have a developers acount. But alot of these guys seem to be able to sign up for a free acount COULD SOMEONE CONFIRM THIS???

I can confirm. It is free. Signed up and a minute later after launching the app I was downloading the update.

Any updates about the other storage problem with GDR3 would be greatly appreciated. Curious Verizon HTC 8X user here with GDR2 which didn't fix it for me...

There's a free version available from Microsoft but unless u plan on making apps you don't need it but if you're like me and are doing Microsoft certifications u can get a full version free

I am freakn' loving GRD3! I just loaded it on my 920 and it works like a charm. I was a Web OS and Palm user for 6 years and this is awesome. This OS needs some really great promotion. I just hope Microsoft meets that challenge. It's way ahead of Google and Apple! David

I used webOS and I miss it. I miss the way webOS show the multitasking applications and how to swipe them to close them.
The "x" is nice but swipe is better. They could enable both. :)

Microsoft need to improve the OS. Tile updates and notifications is basic stuff that do not work well.

I like my L920 WP8. But I cannot do any promotion until Microsoft fix the tile and notification. How do you want me to explain the issue to my friend? They use iPhone and Android they complain a lot about their phone. It's a good time for WP8 promotion...but now, If they know about tile and notification they will never switch to WP8.


I did not appreciate the elegance of webOS multitasking and notifications until I have seen how poorly everyone has (finally) implemented it on other platforms.
And maybe it's just me, but it really bugs me that the "X" is not present on the task, until it gains focus. It takes a second to fade that "X" in, and it doesn't look right.  I am used to seeing task windows with their "X" present all the time!

And speaking of fading, I am one of those people that likes all the animation and fading in and out of windows and menus....until a week later when I just want speed.  I would like an option like Windows where you can choose to turn off some of the eye candy to increase responsiveness.