Yesterday, Microsoft sent out a mandatory update for the Insider app and at the time we speculated that it was in preparation for some Windows 10 Mobile Redstone releases.

As it turns out, it is more than that as the app now lets users un-enroll from the Insider program but all puts them back onto the production track for updates. This change is a rather big deal as previously users would have to hard-reset to get back into production mode.

Here is what it means, especially for those on the Lumia 950 or Lumia 950 XL as those phones have new firmware.

Windows Insider 1.3.233.2 Changes

With yesterday's update for the Insider app the changelog has now been refreshed too. Here is what is new with emphasis on the third bullet point:

  • Show Windows OS version instead of Phone build version in about screen
  • Fix a possible provisioning deadlock issue
  • Leave program will now attempt to provision the phone back to official production builds. When official builds catch up, the phone will receive compatible official updates again
  • Several smaller bugfixes

You are an Insider but not getting new Lumia 950 or Lumia 950 XL firmware?

One of the odd bugs of being an Insider was you could have a Lumia 950 XL and be on the latest OS version e.g. 10586.63, but not get the latest firmware that was released. To get the firmware, you would have to either hard-reset the device so that it would wipe the Insider track from the phone or use the Windows Device Recovery Tool (WDRT) to flash the firmware.

Needless to say, this could take around two hours. This time scale applies if you use the restore function on your phone to put it back to normal after you take all the updates and then re-enrolled in the Insider program. (Having said that, sometimes doing a hard reset also fixes a lot of update issues, so it's not always a bad thing).

With yesterday's update, you only have to remove yourself from the program using the app (directions below) and the phone is now put on production. This action means the phone will act like you hard reset it. Using Windows Update under Settings should let you install the new firmware with no interference (assuming it is there; the Lumia 950 on AT&T still has not had the firmware approved, for instance; but when it does, you can then use this guide to get it too).

As always, taking the new firmware or any OS updates does not wipe the phone. All your information, settings, and files will remain intact.

For now, this only applies to the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL as other Lumias do not have new firmware available. Long term, this can affect other devices should new firmware be released by Microsoft.

How to stop getting Insider builds for Windows Phone

  1. Launch the Windows Insider app

    From your Start menu launch the Windows Insider App. If you need to re-install it just use this link for the Store.

  2. Disenroll

    From the ellipsis menu near the bottom open the menu and choose Leave the program

  3. Sign in

    To confirm your account, you need to sign in again

  4. Leave Program

    On the Leave program screen select Continue to confirm

You are now disenrolled in the Windows Insider Programs for phones. You will not get any more OS updates through the Insider service, but your phone can now grab any official updates through production releases e.g. new firmware.

If you wish to change your mind at any point, just launch the Windows Insider App and re-enroll through the initial steps. This step applies after you grab the new firmware as re-enrolling in the Insider program will never remove the new firmware.

New firmware update for Lumia 950/950 XL: 01078.00027.15506.020xx

As a refresher, this is what the latest firmware for the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL brings. Many user reports confirm better battery life and, more importantly, less heating of the phone due to background processes:

  • Stability and performance improvements.
  • Improvements for SD memory card support.
  • Improvements for automatic display brightness settings.
  • Fix for a camera problem that was causing noisy images in low-light conditions for some users.
  • Fix for a 4K video problem that was causing stripes to show up while playing back recorded videos for some users.

Conclusion

This course correction by Microsoft is one that should have been there early on when the Insider program began. Granted, the disconnect between firmware and OS updates was not so discernable a few months ago before the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL even existed, making the "issue" more theoretical. Now that we have those phones and Insiders stuck with old firmware the reality of the disconnect is, well, disconcerting.

With yesterday's update, Microsoft made switching between Windows 10 Mobile for Insiders and Windows 10 Mobile production much easier with no more hard resets. This change in how the program works also means that Microsoft does not need to put the firmware on the servers for Insiders, however, they are reportedly still exploring that option too.

At least for now, Microsoft has saved users a lot of work by negating the need for a hard reset just to get any official updates.

For more information, you can head into our forums where users are sharing their experiences.

Source: Windows Central Forums; Thanks, Shaun S., and Bryant F., for the tips!