Here is why the Lumia 1020 (and likely other phones) are not getting Windows 10 Mobile

Lumia 1020 back
Lumia 1020 back (Image credit: Windows Central)

Yesterday, Microsoft finally began the process of rolling out Windows 10 Mobile in an official capacity for older Windows Phone 8.1 devices. In many ways, the Windows 10 Mobile era has now started.

Despite 18 phone models (see the full list here) being eligible for the upgrade there are plenty of older Lumias not getting the update too including any phone with 512 MB of RAM. Compared to Android Microsoft is another league (don't take my word, see what Hildenbrand thinks about the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade process at Android Central).

One of those phones not getting the update is the Nokia Lumia 1020, which was released in the summer of 2013. However, the reason for the Lumia 1020 not getting the update is unrelated to it being a nearly three-year-old phone. Instead, it is about stability, performance, and user feedback. Microsoft's Gabriel Aul responded to a user about the decision:

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Lesson learned? Microsoft's feedback app for the Insider program is not a feel good tool to make everyone think Microsoft is listening. Instead, the company is using the data to make real decisions such as not pushing official Lumia 1020 Windows 10 upgrades. Phones that had bad performance with the Insider program and low recommendations get cut. Instead, Microsoft is prioritizing a quality experience.

There is little reason to think the same criteria were not applied to other older Lumias as well.

In other words, if you don't like some of the choices or directions Microsoft is making here you can lay the "blame" at your fellow Windows Phone users who evidently gave very honest feedback about the Insider experience.

Should three-year-old phones be expected to get Windows 10 Mobile? There is room for debate there, but hopefully, it is now clear that Microsoft is not arbitrarily picking phones, and, at least, some of their decisions about this matter are based on real telemetry and user feedback.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Daniel, if I want to send something in for windows central to review how do I?
  • You can try
  • Well I would just say 3 year life cycle is gud enough .!!! My 720 is a great device and end of win10 road is sad .! Humbly saying On my personal front I just wanted an upgrade to a better midranger ( something like rumoured 850 as per some leaks on phonecovers and tempered glass and leaked screenshots ) jumping to a 950 ain't possible for me ( budget constraints ) and 650 ain't a worthy update in terms of camera and processor ( 720 really has a good camera ) that's y being left out is a matter of concern ! Another company even doesn't have any midranger for win10 in India :|
  • Your 720 isn't eligible for Insider? If it is, then why don't you have Windows 10 on it? The same 10586 builds (including the official one) are available on Insider, so you lost nothing. Where is the problem? Also, any phone that runs Windows 10 insider will recieve builds so untill official Redstone, your device is still supported.
  • It's not stable in l720
  • yes, true
  • Can you tell wheather win10 insider is working fine on Lumia 625?
  • I'm trying my colleague's Lumia 625 to be upgraded to Win10 Mobile using Insider preview. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Runs on a 635 quite well, at least with 10586 Posted from the Window Central App on a Fierce XL
  • On my 625 , It runs , but I get freezes like, once a day , and l have to restart my phone every now and then. Also the experience is not so fluid as win phone 8.1
  • Well, on my l625 the cellular data isn't working:(
  •   Hello, I have updated my wife's Lumia 625 to windows 10 mobile a insiders fast ring ! The only prolem I had was the camera, it did not start but after a soft reset everything works fine  ! I've version 10586.64 running now on my lumia 920 and on my wifes lumia 625 !!
  • 164 is stable on a 1020, other than the camera OIS. It wasn't good before that build, but once that build came out it was finally good enough, then they pull it? They quit on us one step before the finish line. It was even fast and has better battery life than 8.1 .
  • I agree with your assessment. .164 is a good build on 1020. I also think the 1020 needs some additional unique criteria for evaluation. First is 2GB RAM and the unique camera that still has no equivalent. I think all users would have liked to see another 20% performance optimization for Snapdragon S4 gen devices but .164 is very usable on 1020, especially as a backup "photo" optimized device. Even the new 950 series don't have the image stabilization and camera performance of 1020. The most glaring ?WTF? on the list is the Lumia Icon. It is a 3rd gen flagship identical to 930 but radio'd for VZW. Not only is it a Quad Core Snapdragon 800, in light of the snafu between VZW and MS with 950 series it leaves no VZW Windows 10 Mobile device. Obviously we would all like to see Phone 8.X go away ASAP, but also would like to see retention of user base in transition. For those stranded low end 2nd & 3rd gen devices there should be a loyalty incentive trade up program and new 550, 640 series, 650, 950 series should be steeply discounted for trade up. Ultimately MS spends much more to continue support for 8.x than a discounting new models to reward customers. Also they gain nothing in regards to increasing #UWP user base. Without an incentive, users stranded on 8.X will either angrily abandon the ecosystem for iOS or Android, or sit on 8.X until an iOS or Android incentive come along. Either way MS gains nothing, and loses user sentiment, and expends resources to support the 8.X dead end. It is simple give users a short term positive incentive to transition to Windows 10 Mobile, OneCore, and UWP. Gain user esteem, satisfaction, and positive sentiment.
  • I have done countless factory resets because of issues. Yes it usually fixes the issue and yes I like the experience of win 10, especially on a fresh install, but I find issues come back.
    This is a bad blow for me because a couple of times I lost in app purchases because I reset and I have given up now I just made an in app purchase on one of my games assuming that soon my 1020 would get win 10 and be supported and now it isn't.
    I have two issues now that email won't even open after the updates on the store and a fast ring update. Also I don't know what force decides whether quiet hours works automatically or not even after two fast ring updates.
    I am also guilty of giving negative feedback many times because my email, calendar and contacts stopped syncing with 'attention required' for nearly 12 months but worked on laptop and galaxy s6 then for no reason it started working again.
    Just as a last point I am not a converted android fan boy. I don't see what is SO superior about it. Everything about it feels really untidy. I'm fact the cleanest interface you can download is actually a Microsoft one. I just feel now that Microsoft's change in tactics means there will never be a successor to 1020 that will have us ex Nokia fan boys and fan girls foaming at the mouth with that wow factor. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I concur wit this backWithNokia.  However, since this is the 3rd time I've been burned by Microsoft (previous phones have all indicated the Microsoft would provide and upgrade path).  So I'm done with them.  At least with Apple you have the option -- keep what you have or uprade with a possible diminished performance, mich like Google Lexus (Samsung rarely provides updates).  Microsoft determines what is to go ahead not the consumer. At the least they should have provided a credit for a new Windows Mobile phone.  But nope, who would want to keep customers anyway?  Sheesh, even Apple offers that for their customers to encourage them to upgrade.
  • I agree, I am already dissappointed with MS. I am Lumia 822 user since last 2 years and was excited of getting Win10 upgrade on it, but sadly MS has diff plans. And if MS can go by user feed back so should I as an end user and 99% of ppl around me suggested me to buy android device & now even I am going with the stats..
  • Same here.
  • Yeah I agree with you but I had no problems with my camera lumia 1020 I think should get the official windows 10
  • I'm running the Fast ring on my 1020.
    The only issue is the video wrinkling when I scroll which would be a video issue.
    but that's it. but I'm all set I have my 950 which is fantastic device, I thought my 1020 was the cats meow no it's now my 950. WOW is all I can say. Posted using the Win Central for Win 10
    posted from my Thermaltake level 10 GT Desktop.
  • Yes it has quite stability issues screen freezes .!!, and resetting again and again becomes a headache .!!,and app launch is quite slow .!! I
  • Thanks.
  • Wait, are you referring to L625, or L720.
  • Hey any suggestions .!!! :P well m talking of 720 !
  • I have a 925 and on the preview for insider fast ring but I cant get the latest build for insiders, I am on .107
  • Just switch to slow ring, and you will get update to 164.
  • same to me sir .  i cant ypdate my lumia 925 to windows 10 ... windows insider allways say  " no build"
  • It's gonna take ages until I get it onto my Lumia 920 :( The update would solve a couple of issues that matter to me.
  • Not everybody buys phone 1st day. For somebody it's 1 year cycle
  • buying a 2 year old phone isnt a good choice either
  • Precisely.  The more important question is why do people think WP10 is so much better than 8.1?  Personally I just don't see it.  Some people must feel they are doing some important work because they are part of the insider program or whatever.  Microsoft should be able to produce a product that just works without the need to have guinea pigs.  What's even more laughable these same said "insiders" give their feedback and when their phone doesn't make the list they complain after telling Microsoft this software sucks on my phone.  Oh well.
  • You realize there were and are many, many people on Windows Insider, right? And with that they see many, many problems with many, many models of phone and then have to, with that information, see what is worth their time? If 3% of the Insider crowd is on a 1020, and a high percentage of those people - say 20% - 30% - are having show stopping problems this late in the process, they may have to move on without it?
  • "many many models"? Seriously? Only crApple have less device fragmentation than Windows. Imagine how "many many" phones are using Android. That low fragmentation should be able to produce OS that will work decently on all of them. I mean look at 4s. It got ios 8 upgrade. Phone introduced in 2011 is getting relatively new itteration of OS. And I am not saying ios is great, I hate it as much as I hate crApple, but you have to give them props for that...
  • We're disappointed because we expected Microsoft to use the feedback to make the experience better, not to exclude us.
  • I can't speak for Microsoft but I'm sure they would rather users be disappointed than frustrated and peeved that WP10 can't work properly on their device. What it tells me is that they couldn't get the WP10 update to operate up to par so there was no need to add those missing phones.
  • If it is release at one perticulare date does not mean it is available exactly at the same date in every corner of the world. I purchased l925 about 15 months ago as it was not available before that even though it was released much before. So for me its still just one and hald year old. As such it has not completed 3 years of life as per MS's release date (June 2013).
  • i am in the exact same position as you, but now i'm going for xiaomi mi5, will get to play with windows 10 occasionally as a bonus. so there's that.
  • We need to do better. don't you realize how much more upgrade a iPhone can get?
  • Here, in Canada, the choice is pretty slim.  The 950's (too expensive, 950 is $850 with tax, and too much phone for my needs) the 550 (crap) the 640xl (too big) and 650 coming, along with a couple of Blu's.  The 650 would be OK, in many ways, but it is missing some features that I like.  And there are not supposed to be any more Lumias this year.
  • Don't buy low end windows phone like me, later you will repent. Or you can sell it or exchange if it has a value. My opinion.
  • oh wait think 1 GB phones now getting windows 10 will be getting coming updates in next 2 3 years.. Sooner these device will also get old and they will not support future updates. Yes . same going to happen with the devices in future that are getting Win10 for now. just lost my faith with Microsoft Mobile..
  • You should not put your faith in man made things, no one is perfect and you will simply be disappointed for arbitrary reasons. Have faith in the infinite, let it be ideas or hope or wisdom but never things. They will ALL go away... Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10 on my Lumia 950! Step off, haters! U-U
  • Ditto.  I'm going to Apple, their upgrade story is much better and has sttod the test of time.  Let the consumer decide if they want to upgrade the OS to a new version or get a new handset.
  • I think the 640 is a perfectly acceptable windows phone.  I still use my 1520 everyday, but if it happens to break one day, I will be glad to have the 640.  It's every bit as fast in most programs, and has great battery life and a somewhat decent camera.
  • That's very true. Windows Phone is more or less dead in Canada. I don't believe any of the carriers have any on offer. Rogers certainly doesn't. I had a 1020 and even tried Win 10 Mobile on it. It wasn't a good experience, in fact, the later builds really sucked.. My advice to you would be to get an LG G4. Great camera and very snappy. Latest Android version as well. I switched to it, and am very happy I did.
  • No Carrier in Canada does offers for Windows Phone, like Andriod or Apple, you must buy the phone.  Isn't it more in-expensive to buy a $800 phone then to sign on contract for years, phoning the carrier every other month complaining about your bill ?
  • Bell does have the 830. It doesn't show up in a search, there is no menu for Windows or Microsoft. You have to select all devices and keep scrolling down. You'll find it just after the flip phones. I upgraded my Lumia 1520 international version last night. It works great. I'll probably put my sim in it for awhile. It just seems like every time that we get an update we lose more of the stuff that made this platform great. (Mix Radio, Here Maps)
  • It's strange but same thing is happening in India. Except Amazon, none of the online shopping sites including Flipkart are selling Lumias. When you search for Lumias, the only results you get are the covers and screen guards. There is no Windows Phones in the market. Well done Microsoft.
  • After the 1020 flopped on both Rogers and Telus it was surprising that they all picked up the 830, but even then the mybell app and bell tv apps were garbage already at launch. Now they are dactivated and if u do have them still on your phone you cant watch any Bell TV. The carriers had to choose betwen blackberry and WP and they chose BB to promote over WP. Up untill last year, BB still had 20% of canadian market its now down to around 12%. WP is at 2% market share.
  • You could go for an 830, now that the price has come down, I think that would be a worthy upgrade. Sure was for my 620
  • My 830 works well with WM10 builds
  • Same here, been using W10M as a daily driver for half a year now on my 830. Upgraded the first day I bought it :D
  • get a 930/1520 they both are still champs!!!, and im sure we wil seeing more OEMs coming this way after the officail build, i didnt upgrde to 950XL as it doesnt seems right going form 1520 to 950XL, elite x3 is my target at the moment unless something better comes
  • If you like your 720, try the 735
  • My 1020 loves Windows 10. Last update fixed ALL loading screen bugs. No more random resets. Battery lasts longer. I'd only complaint about photos app which can't focus properly. But W10 experience is equal if not better than on 8.1. So reasoning about dropping 1020 is unjustified.
  • My 1020 also runs great on W10, have no complaints at all.
  • What about the hearing quality
  • also perfect no issues at all! Also installed the older lumia camera and everything seems fixed!
  • Which version of OS is it (am on 10.0.10586.164)?  I am suffering from rapid battery drain.  Giving just one third the backup I used to get on 8.1.  Also the phone seems unduly warm even on standby with the phone locked and off.   I did a hard reset (Settings -> System -> About -> Phone reset) but still facing the issue.  Any clues?   Of course I let the backup restore itself (did not do a good job and I lost all WhatsApp history! 
  • same here. long live the 1020!
  • Also use 1020 everything is fine but poor quality of hearing a call..but 8.1 hearing quality is good than w10 build
  • try a hard reset fixes this problem 9 out of 10 times.
  • I am happy with latest build on my L1020, leaving L1020 w/o W10M based on users feedback is a big blow . Users feedback is not only about performance but also about lack of compelling expected/long awaited features in W10M compared to iOS and Android. MS understood in just one aspect of it, I gave a lot of feedback and in every feedback I wanted them to increase the display time for music control slider on lock screen and provide the slider on pull down notification area like android or iOS but they never listened. This is just one example.  They just listened to 4 out 5 star for performance on the latest builds. I will keep my L1020 for the love of Nokia! I was thinking of rolling back to WP 8.1 after having learned about no 2nd wave of Lumia devices for W10M, but I will wait for a week or so to see if there is any change of MS' mind. I know SoC S4 isn't great or latest but if I am right S4 is present in Samsung galaxy S3 and it got unofficial Android Lollipop recently and doing well with less RAM too. This is the problem with MS/Nokia choosing more than 1 year old SoC, RAM type, Modem chip, WiFi chips, for any latest phones and kill the user experience/investment all of a sudden. My next Windows Phone will be only surface phone if it ever exits with state of the art tech else I will buy when Samsung makes one with latest technology available in the market at that time. This is the problem with MS decided to focus only on low-end devices market, and all of a sudden W10M needs phones with powerful and latest hardware. 90% of Windows Phone market will be left behind with WP 8.1 and vanish from market share.I would like to appreciate all "Windows Phone" fans and users to keep up their hope and survive until now and ever!  
  • Our company has been loyal customers for years to MSM during there downs & ups! . If no W10M to 1020,925,920,525 we will be changing all to iOS. It's time MS is loyal to all its customers please.
  • i reported a very important feature missing in OneNote Mobile on 27th January using the email provided above and nothing has been done till now. UNDO adn REDO functions are missing in OneNote mobile which is unforgivable.
  • What about the Lumia icon?
  • The Icon is not on the list. Here is the list of devices that can get Windows 10 Mobile Lumia 1520, 930, 640, 640XL, 730, 735, 830, 532, 535, 540, 635 1GB, 636 1GB, 638 1GB, 430, 435, BLU Win HD w510u, BLU Win HD LTE x150q, MCJ Madosma Q501  
  • The frustrating part is that the Icon is really just a Verizon 930 so is it Verizon causing the Icon to not update yet? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android