Windows Phone Help & How-to
When it comes to Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has gone a long way in fixing many pet peeves of users. One of those pertained to those with a Nokia Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520 or Lumia Icon. Those users have the ability with the Nokia Camera app to shoot ‘high resolution’ photos, taking advantage of their respective 41 MP and 20 MP cameras. But auto-backups using OneDrive would only save the lower resolution 5 MP one, leaving the high-resolution version on the device. Not good.
As many of you have noticed over the last few weeks, Windows Phone 8.1 will now save those high resolution photos. We've finally gotten around to taking a look at it ourselves, and here are our findings.
One way of freeing up space on your Windows Phone device is by deleting photos and videos stored in your camera roll. Want a quick way to delete those files? We’ll show you how. Head past the break to watch the steps on video.
We’ve had Windows Phone 8.1 for a handful of weeks, but we’re still learning new things all the time. Remember back on Windows Phone 8.0 and below how much of a pain it was to change your primary Microsoft account email? Adding an alias to your account and making it your primary required a hard reset of the phone to add it. That changes in Windows Phone 8.1. Today you can add an alias to your account and make it your primary without needing to change anything! Here’s how.
One neat and understated feature of Windows Phone 8.1 is the ability to backup apps + settings. Previously, Windows Phone could restore apps, but your Start screen was left off of the restore point in addition to passwords, browser favorites and app configurations.
Now, with Windows Phone 8.1 users can finally restore all of that when jumping to a new phone or after hard resetting. Let’s take a quick look at how it works.
A few weeks back, we reported on how the new SanDisk 128 GB micro SD card works on the Lumia 1520. Since that time, it has also been confirmed to work on the new ATIV SE from Samsung and even Nokia boasts it on their Lumia 630 page.
In other words, 128 GB cards are a ‘go’ on Windows Phone, should you be blessed with an expansion slot (cue rants for those without…now). I managed to get my hands on one of these elusive cards (they’re in high demand, short supply) and have successfully upgraded my Lumia 1520’s 64 GB to this 128 GB version.
Want to know how it went? Read on for some tips and what to expect if you choose to do the same!
Ever since Microsoft released their Remote Desktop Preview app, a few users have been experiencing an odd problem for which they may not know the cause: their Glance screen on their Lumia flips upside down. The problem is about a week old, and it has been discussed a few times in our forums, but many of you are still confounded.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of tablet devices can be seen as the perfect companion for the traveling Photographer. No longer is there a need to carry around a bulky laptop powerhouse, Wacom tablet, and never-ending power cords. With the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2’s Core i5 processors, large amounts of RAM, long battery life, and Wacom powered display – there is a new Photographer’s best friend on the market.
However, as wonderful as the Surface Pro is out of the box, we can make a few tweaks and changes to make it the absolute best for those looking to make it their Photoshop companion device. Follow our guide below as we upgrade your graphics drivers, install extra Wacom software, and turn your tablet into a device Annie Leibovitz would be proud to use.
Microsoft announced a lot of new features and opportunities for developers this month at their Build conference. One of those buzz terms was ‘universal Windows app’, which sure sounds remarkable. However, we’ve noticed some misunderstanding on exactly what that means. For instance, the impression by many is that if someone makes a Windows Phone app, developers can just hit a button to clone it for Windows and Windows RT devices. That leads to the ‘why isn’t this not a Universal app?’ question each time we mention a new release.
Microsoft is certainly on a unification kick. OneDrive, Xbox One, OneNote, mixing of Windows and Windows Phone developer registration, and expressions like ‘universal Windows app’ all suggest a merger of technology. It’s also a well-known secret that the Windows Phone OS and RT will eventually collide (starting with ‘Threshold’), leaving just two versions of ‘Windows’ for Microsoft.
Windows Phone 8.1 brings a lot in terms of raw functions to end-users, but some things are going missed. For instance, the relevancy of the Me Tile is greatly diminished since notifications were moved to the Notification Center (and the stream was detached).
But perhaps the biggest function that people miss is the ability to cross-post status updates to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. We explained the reasoning behind this in our guide on the new Social Extensibility framework in 8.1, but explanations in and of themselves don’t make people happy. And you’ve said as much.
Luckily, there is one way you can sort of get this feature back, though it’s far from perfect: Path.
You probably shouldn’t do this, but there’s a way to uninstall any OEM app on Windows Phone 8. If you follow these steps, you can uninstall apps like Glance, Storage Sense, Access Point, Display, and more. Still curious?
Head past the break to watch our how-to video.
It’s an open secret that the old Xbox Music hub is still actually buried in the Windows Phone 8.1 OS, with the new version overriding it. Users have been bringing it back via an NFC trick, which works but it’s far from convenient. Now, a developer has taken the extra step and released a free app that lets you pin a direct link to the old version on your Start screen.
The app is named Music Hub Tile, and when initially launched it will let you pin either the green Music Tile or a transparent one to your Start screen. The transparent one though will cost you 99 cents via an in-app purchase, whereas the green is free.
Last week, we showed you how to set a location-based reminder with Cortana. Did you know you could also set reminders based on people? You can tell Cortana to remind you anything when you send or receive texts, emails, or phone calls from certain people in your phone book. You should try it out!
Head past the break to watch our how-to video.
The new Word Flow keyboard in Windows Phone 8.1 has a lot going for it, but there's a subtle change in how you edit words using the caret (aka cursor for some, 'blinking vertical line' for others) that you may have missed. In Windows Phone 8.0, you had to hold-n-press to bring up the caret, but now in 8.1 you can just tap in between words. What's more, the caret now has a little circle at the bottom where you can "grab it" with your finger and move it around.
Curious about how it works? Watch our short video after the break which will compare and contrast it with Windows Phone 8.0.
Windows Phone 8.1 is pretty awesome; there’s no doubt about that. Microsoft seems to have improved just about everything there is, but there will always be a few bits that are missing. One of those we even forgot ourselves: saving search results to contacts.
Case in point: you do a search in Cortana (or Bing, for non-US users) for an establishment like a diner or coffee stop. Powered by Bing, Cortana will do a great job of finding what you’re looking for in a jiffy. But let’s say you now wanted to add that find to your People Hub for future reference? Maybe you’re new in town, or you found a flower shop you really like. Evidently, you still can’t do that on Windows Phone, even with 8.1.
Liquid Daffodil, a popular developer firm who makes apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8, has released a brand new version of their ‘Add to Contacts’ app. We’ve covered this app in the past, and we’re happy to see it get a makeover and integration into 8.1.
A new USB feature for Windows Phone 8.1 has been revealed in a simple Bing search. Found in our forums by Manikanta R., the trick brings up a hidden USB menu that allows you to enable two new features, including ‘Ask me before using USB data connection’ and ‘Notify me when I connect to a slower charger’.
Indeed, we can confirm from our unsanctioned ‘early look’ at Windows Phone 8.1 using a developer device, that these USB options were there under the Settings menu. They were removed (or hidden) in the reviewer build that we received and also in the Preview release.
One of the great new additions to Windows Phone 8.1 is the ability to assign custom notification sounds for your apps. Previously, in Windows Phone 8.0 Update 3, developers could ship their own sound to be used, but only a few have taken advantage of that so far. But in 8.1, via the Notification Center, you can configure apps independently, including for alert sounds.
Melodia is a simple app, and it’s free. It’s basically a repository for ‘official’ alert melodies, which you can then play to sample and save directly to your phone. Once saved, they will appear in your custom alerts and by using the Notification Center, you can assign them to apps. Sure, you can do this on your own, but this is much easier using this app.
Driving Mode was introduced by Microsoft in Windows Phone 8.0 Update 3 a few months ago. It carries over into Windows Phone 8.1 update, and it remains one of the few truly unique features of Microsoft's platform. Heck, it even showed up on NBC Today.
The Windows Phone Driving Mode is designed to automatically start when you connect to a Bluetooth device and it can be set to ignore calls and text messages. In a nutshell, the Driving Mode removes aspects of your Windows Phone that may cause a distraction while you are cruising down the road. It can even auto-respond via text message to tell people you're driving - now that's smart!
Enjoy checking in when out and about? If so, you're likely a Foursquare user. 4th & Mayor is a premium experience wrapped up in an unofficial app. The third-party app is also ahead of the official client in terms of functionality, especially with the release of the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview. You can now integrate 4th & Mayor (Foursquare) into the Windows Phone Me tile with the new Social Extension app.
Personally I've been loving the new Notification center in Windows Phone 8.1. The other day I joked about the Windows Phone dark ages where I’d hear an alert on my phone and would have to search the various Live tiles on my Start screen for which app wanted my attention. Missing that initial toast notification meant you’d need to put in some work to find out what’s going on. The Notification center in Windows Phone 8.1 changes all that of course. Here’s a quick tip on how to prevent others from seeing your Notification center when your phone is locked. A lot of you have been asking, so here’s the solution.
There was nothing worse than accidentally exiting a game on a Windows Phone by hitting the search capacitive button. This turned gameplay into a terrible experience, especially if the game didn't pause and issues arose. It also made it difficult for players to hop back into the gaming seat and pick off where he (or she) left off. This has changed in Windows Phone 8.1.
Word Flow is the new name for the keyboard in Windows Phone 8.1. That keyboard includes a Shape writing feature where you swipe letters on the keyboard as opposed to the traditional touch-typing method. You slide your finger across the keyboard, pausing ever so slightly on the keys you want used and the software does the rest to create the words (here's our hands-on video).
While many will swear by Shape writing (it even set the World Record for typing speed), some aren’t yet sold on this new keyboard feature. WPCentral reader, PxuLL, has started this discussion over in the Forums asking if you use Shape writing.
We’ve enjoyed the ability to set custom alerts with our Windows Phone contacts for a while now and with Windows Phone 8.1, we know have the ability to extend this customization to our app notification alerts.
While custom alerts for our contacts may be old hat for some, for those new to the Windows Phone platform all you need to do is go into your contacts and choose the edit button. You will see two options to set a custom ringtone and text tone just below their name. Customizing an alert sound for an app is just as simple.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 on AT&T is an amazing phone. However, the lack of support for the Qi wireless charging standard is its biggest flag. You remember what happened. AT&T had opted to neuter the device by giving it PMA support through a wireless charging shell. PMA is the other wireless charging standard competing for acceptance. It’s also a standard that AT&T publically supports. They said it couldn’t be undone, that every Lumia 1520 from AT&T would need an accessory to wireless charge. Well, never say never when it comes to the Windows Phone community.
A few days ago we took an in-depth look at how Microsoft improved Data Sense in Windows Phone 8.1. Everyone on limited data plans should become intimately familiar with how Data Sense can help you. There are a few more ‘senses’ in Windows Phone 8.1 including Wi-Fi Sense and Storage Sense. Today we’re going to check out Wi-Fi Sense and make sure you understand everything there is to know about it.
Let’s make sense of Wi-Fi Sense!
You may not know this, but Microsoft has actually overhauled their Maps app for Windows Phone with the 8.1 release. The reason you may not be aware is due to the majority of you using Lumias. Nokia has their HERE Maps application, which prioritizes over Microsoft’s Maps. But with the Preview being available, Microsoft’s Maps app is once again back on the Apps list (if not, you can use third-party apps to re-create the shortcut).
So what’s new in Maps for 8.1? There are quite a few features, which we’ll discuss below, including how best to use them!