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Lumia Cyan and what it brings to Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia 930

Our exhaustive list of what is new in the Lumia Cyan update

Lumia Cyan is the firmware half of the Windows Phone 8.1 for Nokia Lumia phones. Although many of you are using the Preview for Developers release of Microsoft's latest OS, most of you do not have yet the necessary Lumia Cyan firmware to optimize the experience. As a result, some key features are locked or not visible.

Now, with the release of the Lumia 930 we can finally get a good look at what Lumia Cyan adds to the equation. I have been going through the new flagship and comparing to other non-Cyan devices to figure out what is new. Here's what I found.


As I noted yesterday in our unboxing and walkthrough video, the Lumia 930 ships with build 12397 of the Windows Phone 8.1-operating system. For those keeping track, build 12397 is the same version as the current Preview for Developers, which, of course, means that what you have is not a beta release. The only difference is the Lumia Cyan firmware, which is tailored specifically for each model of Windows Phone. Firmware is super important as anyone who has updated a PC knows as it can allow certain drivers to work, optimize performance and enable certain functions.

From what I have noticed, these are some of the important and unique things that Lumia Cyan can enable. Note that not all of these functions are available on all Lumias, as some are dependant on more recent hardware like the quad-core Snapdragon 800. Many of these are already known, but there are a few new items too.

  • Double tap to wake – Most Lumias already have this function, but the Lumia Icon on Verizon does not. It looks like Nokia figured out a way to enable it with the Cyan firmware as the Lumia 930 has this ability. There is still no Glance though due to lack of display memory.
  • Equalizer now works through the speaker – The graphic equalizer found under Settings > Audio on non-Cyan devices is limited to just headphone usage. Nokia has finally expanded this to the phone's speaker too, letting users have fine-grained control over music. Update: the EQ does not work through Bluetooth devices.
  • Dolby Headphone is now Dolby Virtual Surround – Also under Audio is Dolby Virtual Surround which is explained as "Surround sound enhancement for headphones enabled only for 5.1 audio". Functionally, the two may be the same, but it does add some new features like…
  • Dolby dialog enhancer – "Improves the dialog clarity for movies," which is pretty self-explanatory
  • Record audio for videos in Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 – On the Lumia 930 (and possibly Lumia 1520, Lumia Icon) users can optionally choose to record audio for videos with Dolby's new 5.1 technology. Dolby Digital on the Lumia 930 represents the first time achieving this in a smartphone, and it should prove to be impressive
  • Brightness Profile – Users can set the default average brightness for their phone. Unlike the Lumia 630, which has controls for all three levels (low, medium and high), the Lumia 930 has a single slider. My guess is this sets the median, default brightness
  • Color Profile – With Lumia Cyan there are now three presets (Standard, Vivid and Cool) in addition to Advanced, which lets the user modify three settings, including color temperature, tint, and color saturation via sliders
  • Motion data – Part of SensorCore, Motion data lets users enable or disable the collection of movement information for apps like Bing Health & Fitness or Active Fitness, which can act as a pedometer to count steps. Motion data is only available for the Lumia 630, Lumia 635, Lumia 930, Lumia Icon, Lumia 1520 and devices with the modern Snapdragon chipsets
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE – Some Windows Phones had Bluetooth 4.0 LE enabled with Update 3 last year, but the Preview for Developers disabled it due to changes made by Microsoft to the stack. Lumia Cyan re-enables this feature for things like Nokia Treasure Tag or smartwatches. Official apps for smartwatches and other connected devices are coming later this summer once Cyan achieves a larger rollout.
  • Living Images – Also announced earlier, Nokia's Living Images briefly records a second or two before the photo gets taken. When viewing the image through Nokia Camera or StoryTeller, users can see the image animated, giving life to the memory
  • USB Settings – Currently hidden on devices with Preview for Developers, the USB settings are finally enabled with Lumia Cyan, bringing two options for users including "Ask me before using USB data connection" and "Notify me when I connect to a slower charger."
  • Miracast support – Found under Settings > Project my screen, certain Lumias are getting full support to wirelessly stream content, or mirror the phone's display on Miracast devices such as PCs and TVs. You can watch my demonstration of this on the Lumia 630
  • New Camera algorithms – For the Lumia Icon, Lumia 1520 and Lumia 930, its 20 MP PureView camera is improved. Changes include "much better low-light performance," "better colors," continuous auto-focus, better video quality and improved RAW quality. Continous autofocus works by autofocusing the image when the camera launches (and assuming the user does not use tap to focus). If the user steps back or forward, the camera continually adjusts without the need to manual refocus saving time and removing one extra step.

No USB OTG support

There were false reports of support for USB On-The-Go (OTG) in Windows Phone 8.1, which would enable the OS to read USB thumb drives and peripherals. However, in connecting two different Micro-USB 2.0 On-The-Go (OTG) adapters along with various thumb drives this feature is not present on the Lumia 930 with full Windows Phone 8.1 and firmware.

hidden USB


In addition to the above observations there are presumably many enhancements to how the hardware interacts with the software due to Lumia Cyan firmware. For instance, Lumia Icon users with Windows Phone 8.1 without Lumia Cyan are experiencing an issue where the display does not enable on the first attempt. The Lumia 930, its sister device, obviously does not suffer from this problem. Instead, the display fades in when enabled. Technically, this is slower than the more instant LCD display on the Lumia 1520, and it is a bit odd, but it works.

Likewise when it comes to speed or lag. After spending 24 hours with the Lumia 930 I can say that Windows Phone 8.1 – and specifically launching apps – I feel slightly less lag than devices without Lumia Cyan. The difference is subtle, not in all apps and presumably has to do with optimizing the display and animations for the OS.

Overall, the enhancements Lumia Cyan brings to Windows Phone 8.1 are impressive, if not subtle. As such, users of the Preview for Developers should hold off on any final judgement until they receive the corresponding firmware. The combination of Lumia Cyan and 8.1 should address some performance issues users are suffering from in addition to any early quirks. Finally, as detailed above, there are unique functions enabled with the forthcoming update that make it worth the wait.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • It didn't bring my living images... Nokia 1520...
  • Then you don't have the Lumia Cyan update is my guess.
  • I have developers preview...
  • Hi, can you please read the opening paragraph of an article before commenting? It will make more sense that way.
  • Do you know if the EQ still squashes the sound when you try and boost frequencies?  Currently, when you drive bass, mids or treble the EQ will enhance those frequencies at the cost of others.  It's as if there's a compressor that exists which is horrible and pisses me off.  The audio on WPs as-is are already quieter than what's found on the iPhone, but adding the EQ is almost worthless and high end headphones are basically lost on WP right now.  Has any of this been remedied in the Cyan update?  8.1 doesn't seem to have adjusted it, at least not in the dev preview.
  • That has to do with how much current the amp which drives the speaker and headphone jack can handle ... which is why it compensates ... it is really not something which can be cured by software.
  • Music on my Icon using my Bose AE2 headphones sounds great even when cranked up. Maybe it has something to do with the efficiency of the speakers.
  • EQ is broken for all smartphones, not only on WP. There's a amp limitation.
  • No 60 fps recording...:-/
  • 60 fps at 1080p would cost about 3 GB per min. If you really need HD of that quality, you're going to have to get a Red cinema cam. While I appreciate the desire for the ultimate phone/camera/computer, you'd never be able to upload that 5 mins of video over wifi. Even OneDrive is limited to a 2 GB file size. Can you imagine the calls to tech support over upload issues?
  • "60 fps at 1080p would cost about 3 GB per min. If you really need HD of that quality, you're going to have to get a Red cinema cam." .....or a $249 Canon Vixia (or Panasonic or Sony, etc.)
  • 3GB per min? I'm assuming your talking uncompressed video. My Sony HD-XR520 @1080i does around 16Mbps compressed (AVCHD), and takes up around 8GB for 60 minutes of video. Thats around 130MB per minute of video. 60fps at 1080p is not unreasonable in a high-end smartphone. LG's G2, and the HTC One M8 both do 1080p @60fps. 
  • Well, 1080i =/= 1080p
  • Yes and no. Same amount of data, just a difference in how it is sent and processed.
  • That's entirely wrong. 1080i is effectively half of 1080p. 1080i in 60 fps is the same ammount of data as 1080p in 30 fps The truth is though, that 3GB per minute on 1080p with 60fps is waaaay too much. But that's what sometimes happens when the video is uncompressed. Either way, for regular recording 30fps is quite enough. Remember that the movies you watch are actually 24fps. But sure, one should get the option to record @60fps. The problem I guess is that people will believe that they have to use 60fps to get good quality but then that's not really the case and the memories on their phone will get full pretty quick.  The phones that record @ 60fps usually have worse image quality because they have to compromise, the video needs to be compressed somewhere else, even when 30 fps is ok for the human eye. Remember that most of the time you use your phone to record real life, not a computer screen to record a game.
  • Hi Alessandro If you're talking about the amount of data in an uncompressed digital video signal, then, Yes, 1080i is half of 1080p. But I was referring to a compressed digital video stream, and the relevant file size produced by 1080i versus 1080p. At the same bitrate and same frame rate a compressed digital video at 1080p produces the same (or near enough to it) file size as a 1080i compressed digital video. This may seem counter-intuitive to some, but tests done at the EBU (European Broadcasting Association) have shown that 1080p/50fps (50Hz, progressive) will not require more bitrate than 1080i/25fps (50hz, interlaced) for broadcasts, but naturally it will show better picture quality on large displays. This is despite the fact that twice the number of pixels have to be coded. The similar bitrate (which translates to the same amount of data being transmitted) while producing better picture quality "is due to the higher compression efficiency and better motion tracking of progressively scanned video signals compared to interlaced scanning." (check the Wikipedia footnotes #3, #7, and #8 on "Interlaced Video) I know this may not be comparing apples with apples, but my own real world tests with the Sony HandyCam and Lumia 925 here at home appear to correlate somewhat with this. I'll use 25fps as my HandyCam is PAL (1080i/50hz) and is so limited to 25fps max. Compressed Video (AVC Format) Duration: 2 mins Width                            : 1 920 pixels
    Height                           : 1 080 pixels
    Display aspect ratio             : 16:9
    Frame rate                       : 25.000 fps
    Color space                      : YUV
    Chroma subsampling               : 4:2:0
    Bit depth                        : 8 bits Sony HandyCam HDR-XR20 (1080i @ 25fps)
    Format                           : AVC
    Format/Info                      : Advanced Video Codec
    Format profile                   : High@L4.0
    Format settings, CABAC           : Yes
    Format settings, ReFrames        : 2 frames
    Format settings, GOP             : M=2, N=13
    Overall bit rate mode            : Variable
    Overall bit rate                 : 17.3 Mbps
    Maximum Overall bit rate         : 18.0 Mbps
    Scan type                        : Interlaced 1080i (interlaced), 17.3Mbps (18.0Mbps overall), Output File Size: 248MiB Nokia Lumia 925 (1080p @ 25fps)
    Format                           : AVC
    Format/Info                      : Advanced Video Codec
    Format_Profile                   : Main@L4.0
    Format_Settings_CABAC/String     : Yes
    Format_Settings_RefFrames/String : 1 frame
    Format_Settings_GOP              : M=1, N=30
    OverallBitRate/String            : 18.5 Mbps
    ScanType/String                  : Progressive Output File Size: 266MiB 248MB for Interlaced versus 266MB for Progressive. Quality difference between the two is noticable, with my Sony producing the better perceived quality, despite being rendered from an interlaced scan. But I put that down to the lens and sensor and other stuff happening there. However, the Lumia 1080p still produces very acceptable quality. I put up a YouTube video a while ago filmed from my Lumia 925 and friends were surprised to find out it was shot phone camera. Anyhow, I think we both agree on the point being made, that 3GB per minute for 60fps is as you say, waaay too much. A one minute video at 1080p 30fps on my Lumia outputs a file of 146MiB. Doubling that for 60fps (depending on compression codec) would give 292MiB per minute of video. That said, no 60fps sample video on YouTube from a HTC One M8 has impressed me so far. Possibly because YouTube didn't play any of them back at higher than 30fps. So the benefits may be limited to in-home or on-phone viewing only. Cheers,
  • I'll have to take your word on that. It does make sense that there would be better motion tracking compared to interlaced. Fair enough!
  • Guys! Are we really talking about smatphones of high-end digicams or handycams here. I am nowhere as technically literate as you all are, but if I have a need for a really high quliaty photo or video graphy, I would not rely on my smartphone. I know that G2 (or maybe some other phones) may provide 60fps, but are your really sure of their video quality? 60fps would make sense for people who want to edit videos or run them in slow motion (or may be super slow motion). In my personal opinion no other smartphone comes anywhere close to 1020, 930 or 1520 when it comes to photo or video quality. Not just the clarity but even sound capture is the best in the later two. true, there would be some feature or the other which is missing. Competition would surely highlight only those features as they really can't compete with the relevant ones. But that should not be a showstopper for anyone serious enough. 
  • Dani... Will u plz make a full video demonstration????
  • Dan, seriously, stop being a condisending dick to your readers. If he isn't attacking you, don't attack him. They pay your bills.
  • oh muffin
  • I see his point and kind of agree with him, day in and day out, Dan and other bloggers does posts on this blog, and DAY IN AND DAY OUT people complain about something that they would of found if they spent 1 min to read the whole thing. This happens a LOT to every writer here. I can see why they get upset, even things FLAGGED still get questions like this. READ THE POST BEFORE POSTING and they wont have a problem.
  • Mofnats, before being a condescending dick in complaining about the site admin being a condescending dick, please learn to spell condescending. As per your remark, I think it's perfectly acceptable to educate people, and snark seems to be the most effective method of making people pay attention in these troubled times.
  • He is always like that... Just go through the news and watch the way he responds to people... 
  • maybe you could take a look at the stupid amount of comments that attack the authors and/or completely ignore the content in the articles.   in short; read, you lazy morons.
  • Hi daniel , is there any progress indication showing about downloading & uploading of data in status bar like android ....
  • Still can't play GIF picture
  • Then you should stop and READ the preview for developers does not INCLUDE the Cyan firmware ..
  • It worked before... It's not working now... So I'm Trying to figure out why it stopped working. Yeah I can read... I'm just looking for a solution.
  • It was a bug. Daniel (or Sam, or anybody else) wrote about this another article, but of course you didn't read it.
  • Yes if I read that then I would not have commented. I had no idea that it was a bug. Now that know, I can breath a little better... Thanks.
  • Wait for Lumia Cyan. I quote from the Store listing of Nokia Camera "Living Images and continuous autofocus are supported on Lumia 930, 1520 and Icon running the Lumia Cyan software update."
  • I didn't read about the bug but there is one way you can access your photo album and videos auto play. I just cant figure it out now! Not live images of course but that might be where the confusion comes from. Or not reading.  TR3Y
  • It happens when you are previewing from inside Nokia camera.
  • Daniel... my L625 have the Living Images, without Cyan Update... in the developers preview, you can just take photos with smart sequence, and will work the same way, but just if you see the pictures in the Nokia camera, or Nokia Storyteller roll...   Regards
  • When will it release?
  • In the future days/weeks/months, all the things you can do is just waiting, amigo
  • When we getting it Daniel. Y'all Ova do with tha 8.1
  • No slow motion video
  • Damn, living images was working on my 810, we all know I'm never going to get Cyan, aka, never getting living images back...
  • I have the 8.1 Preview for Developers. All you have to do to enable living images is download the Nokia Camera Beta app. Search it on Bing and it'll be one of the top choices.
  • This bug was patched with yesterday's update. You still need Lumia Cyan.
  • Just a question, Daniel: Are the camera algorithms improvements and Living Images only gonna work on the 1520/930/Icon or to all PureView devices (920, 925, 1020)?
  • I want to know this, too. Are the camera algorithm updates for all Lumias?
  • 1520/930/Icon all share the same camera so it makes sense that they're getting their first real update; other Lumias have already had improvements, and Nokia has not detailed any changes.
  • Oh well... Guess I have no choice but to upgrade to the 930.
  • Upgrade from what?  The camera on the 1020 is still top dog.
  • ScubaDog, do you have a 1020? I'm on my third and the metering and focus is horrible. I have take constantly change multiple shots and often the colors are off, flash or not. I have issues with subjects having something like redeye except their eyes are silver and I have to remove it with Photoshop as it isn't redeye. I also have issues where subjects will be in focus and just as I take the picture they go blurry like the focus doesn't hold. I can't read barcodes because it can't hold focus. Of course shots are painfully slow. Also, there is really bad horizontal banding at the right side in anything but perfect lighting. I  decided to upgrade to the Developer Preview and Camera Beta and still no joy. I will say when all the stars align just right it takes really good photos but videos are always meh. Just curious if you are experiencing these or is AT&T just sending me crap replacements.
  • Upgrade from my 925... I have no use for 41MP and another dual-core device. I want the latest specs, premium build quality (not that the 1020's is bad by any means) and a 20MP PureView + Zeiss optics should suffice for me.
  • Well since it worked for most devices with the beta app before it was patched yesterday and without cyan, how it is a bug and why they want cyan is a little difficult to understand..
  • Go to Nokia camera beta, settings, use default that will do the trick.
  • How do you turn off living images?
  • So we are gonna have the cyan update and it's gonna be fast on our phones then after two weeks we are gonna have the PFD release of GDR 1 and gonna lag our phones again.......So we are gonna have the cyan update and it's gonna be fast on our phones then after two weeks we are gonna have the PFD release of GDR 1 and gonna lag our phones again.......
  • Use Nokia camera beta, it works.....
  • You need to download Nokia Camera Beta from SysApp Pusher to get Living Images.
  • Just return all your setting back to the default settings in Microkia Camera,, then it will work... After that you can adjust settings until your hearts content, and LI will still work...
  • omg dude lol
  • Hey Daniel any chance you could take some sample photos with Lumia 930 and Icon for comparison?
  • How's the battery life in comparison to the icon?
  • Hi daniel , is there any progress indication showing about downloading & uploading of data in status bar like android ....
  • I'm on developer preview. What's super odd is that today my phone got an update, and in succession it went through 4 developer preview builds and almost immediately restarted again to apply the Lumia Cyan update. All this happened today and it is awesome, the performance has significantly improved and the wifi/network usage notifiers are highly appreciated. I've gotten a subset of the Cyan features on my Lumia 920. I think this is a sign that Nokia and Microsoft has sort of moved on the Lumia 920. This is a bit disappointing because we don't have an upgrade alternative for AT&T currently. I am hopeful that September 30th will reveal a Lumia 931 that runs on AT&T's LTE band? Perhaps a 1021? Probably nothing will happen.  At this point i'll take a Gionee or a Xioami, anyone who can provide an update to my aging 920.
  • You have Cyan?
  • I assume no, as the 1520 Cyan update has not gone out AFAIK. Probably just someone who didn't read the opening sentence of the article :/
  • I read it and understood it well...
  • No you didn't.
  • No, you did not. You have the Preview for Developers aka the OS update. You do not have Lumia Cyan, the firmware. This article is about the latter and what it enables. Since you do not have Lumia Cyan, you do not have Living Images. It is really that simple.
  • It's not that simple... I had it. When I updated the camera it stopped. I know exactly what I had and how my phone was performing...
  • You/we weren't supposed to have it but we did, sweet! It was made clear many many times that it was built for Cyan, the firmware update. I hope it comes soon as I very much enjoyed it as well. But we never should have had it.
  • Oh now I see...
  • You are talking about the "hack" within Nokia camera that enabled living images...That's not cyan
  • Didn't take you long to figure it out cdb033 did it, lol
  • Hi daniel,what abt camera trouble in lumia 720,pics quality got poor ,do u think this could get solved in cyan update ,plz help
  • What's there to help.. You'll know when it comes out! No?!
  • Unfortunately I have 8.1 update including Cyan on my NL 925 (Finland official software) but living images are not working. Another thing is several functions implemented into 8.1 and Cyan for N930 is not designed for older devices. I was surprised when battery drain was higher than on Black and PFD 8.1 third update. Installation I did was clear and everything was adjusted and updated manually without using backup. I am sorry for my English.
  • You're not understanding the difference between operating system and firmware
  • If you read the title and understood it and have the Nokua Lumia 1520, then I must ask if you are on AT&T?  As far as AT&T is concerned, they haven't rolled out Cyan so please share how you received this firmware update in advance of the rest of us, thanks!
  • I'm not saying I had the cyan update. I stated that I had the developers preview. I also stated that my living images were working until I updated it. That's all I'm saying. I know perfectly well the difference between and OS update and a firmware update. I'm just trying to figure out why it stopped working after the update. It's no big deal... Thanks though.
  • Ordered the 930 today and should be coming next week, yeah! Happy!!
  • What he so clumsy is trying to say is that Nokia Camera Beta did display live images on 8.1 dev preview, until latest update that is (
  • His comment didn't seem that clumsy to me. People on this site refuse to read.
  • Some people on the site are not able to read and understand what they are reading.
  • This happen when Microsoft update Nokia camera app