Mainstream support for Windows Phone 8.1 ends tomorrow

Lumia 930
Lumia 930 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Heads up to those still hanging onto a Windows Phone 8.1 device: mainstream support for the platform is set to end tomorrow, July 11.

The support end date comes just over three years since the launch of Windows Phone 8.1 to the public. At its launch, Microsoft promised 36 months of updates, stating (opens in new tab) (via Neowin):

Microsoft will make updates available for the Operating System, including security updates, for a minimum of 36 months after the lifecycle start date. These updates will be incremental, with each update built on the update that preceded it. Customers need to install each update in order to remain supported.

The most recent update to the platform was the GDR2 update, which landed in the spring of 2015. Since then, Windows Phone 8.1 hasn't seen any further major releases, with Microsoft having shifted focus to Windows 10 Mobile with its release alongside the Lumia 950, 950 XL and 550 in fall of 2015.

If you're still using a Windows Phone 8.1 handset, you may want to consider upgrading to Windows 10 Mobile if you own a compatible handset. Unfortunately, this is still a bit of a manual process, requiring users to download the upgrade advisor app and initiate the upgrade process themselves. Keep in mind that, further compounding things, the latest Creators Update Mobile release is only supported on a relatively limited subset of devices.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Good riddance. Too bad 70% of WP users are still stuck, unknowingly or not, on WP8.1.
  • What do you mean "Good riddance"? WP8.1 is awesome. Smooth, efficient, reliable.
  • All I know is that 930 looks so nice.
  • I have it. Yes the limited edition. Nokia feels good in hands and that glass curves slightly at edges like no other phone...
  • I have used WP 8.1 on 930 and I haven't seen anything quite like it - blazingly fast and buttery smooth.
  • It was awesome and smooth and efficient. But W10M is so much more capable, pretty and modern. Too bad W10M is so buggy though.
  • Buggy...and aspiring to become what Android already is, and has been for years now. Thanks but no thanks.
  • It's not so bad being "stuck" on WP8.1 when W10Meh is your only upgrade option.
  • Queue up Charlie Heston saying "...From my cold, dead hands!" Gonna keep rocking Windows Phone 8.1 on Lumia 1520 for as long as possible until Microsoft gives us a worthy successor. Greatest mobile operating system of all time (in my opinion). Just lacking the beautiful panoramic photo hub from 8.0.
  • I also really liked 8.1 on my L1520, but I could no longer stand all the constant freeze & crash that I was having with Internet Explorer. I much prefer Edge now that they'ver really worked the bugs out of it.
  • at this point, Microsoft could really send out a notification to at least get people upgraded to Windows 10 Mobile build 14393 or lower.
  • Microsoft gave you a more than worthy successor. They sell them right in their own stores.
  • You haven't been to a physical Microsoft Store recently, have you...
  • I have. The GS8 is right on display in the front of the store.
  • Uh, no thanks.
  • My GS8+ is the best Windows Phone I've ever had. All my Microsoft apps plus everything else running Square Home 2 skin. Simply awesome. And Oculus Gear VR.
  • That's nice.
    Hard pass.
  • And my iPhone is the best Google phone I have ever had. It runs all my iOS apps, the majority of Google apps and the Microsoft apps as well.
  • You mean lag machine?!
  • You don't have any idea what "worthy" is.
  • I know what worthy is'nt 10 moible. 
  • @Steve Adams The comment system here sucks. My comment was directed @bleached who said "Microsoft gave you a more than worthy successor..." I don't know what the "Reply" button does here.
  • ha ha.  Awesome.  It really does suck,  as well as windows mobile at this point.  It's a shame.  I wanted to have one system to use...but windows 10 mobile destroyed that hope.  Moved on to iphone,  and it's a much nicer system.  Hell,  it works better with windows 10 than windows 10 mobile does.  Thats terrible to say.  BUT it's the TRUTH!   The only thing I wish apple would do is release a version of imessage for windows store.  That would seal the deal for me...Itunes and imessage on the windows store.   
  • Hey Steve, can you detail what works better about iphone with windows 10 than windows 10 mobile with windows 10? I am genuinely curious what all you have noticed. My 950XL gets along great with my Surface Pro 3, but maybe there is something that I missed since I do not really do much with my iPhone?
  • For one.   The Microsoft apps are better on iphone,  than on windows 10 mobile.  So thats a huge issue.  I take photos on my iphone,  they show isntantly on my dell computer via onedrive.  Using the 950xl There is at least 30-40mins before they show.   Like I said,  the only downside comparing the 6s to the 950xl is imessage is not windows 10 available.   That small downside,  is worth the many positives of the iphone compared to the 950xl.    
  • Wait... I thought the 1520 supported Windows 10 Mobile? At least the first version (I don't remember if it supported the Anniversay update).
  • Well I got an update from MS on my 1520 last Monday and they update my phone to 15063.414. 
  • you can get update for anniversary or creators update by moving to release preview ring :)
  • But, Microsoft not included in the list, 1520 for creature update
  • it post in the feedback hub unsupported device can get it by moving to and stay in release preview ring 4/26/17
  • I don't think my 950XL even got the creature update :) Now creators update yes, but wonder what was in the creature update? LOL Anyways, you are correct creators was not available for 1520, but it does support Windows 10 which has not ended support yet. So if you are on 8.1 on 1520 would suggest moving to the highest possible release of Windows 10 that was supported on the 1520.
  • Yes, 1520 supporting anniversary update. But stuck before creature update.
  • Have to move to release preview ring to get 15063.
  • Tip of the day... Buy up cheap replacement digitizers off ebay now!!
  • Tha last statement is not true. E.g. 640 didn't ship with Windows 10 but is supported by the CU as the webpage you link to shows.  So it's just a subset of devices that are supported.  Windows 10 shipping on the phone is not a factor, it's more likely the number of devices in use.
  • Whoops, you're correct. My mistake (thanks!). I've corrected that portion of the article.
  • Now correct the model number 550 not 500.
  • It is just ridiculous that Microsoft ends support when more then 70% of WP users are on WP8.1. Microsoft really doesn't show they care about their customers this way. I did like WP8.1 much more, it was faster and had better design in my opinion.
  • How long would you like them to support 3+ year old mobile hardware & OS?
  • Until they offer something better
  • They sell Samsung phones now, pretty decent upgrade.
  • Anyone suggesting people should logically choose the "decent" Samsung has never really had any idea what Windows Phone was about.
  • Apparently that includes Microsoft then.
  • Microsoft follows its own financial goals and those goals no longer align with the goals of WP users. So logically for Microsoft is different than logically for WP users.
    It's rather obvious, don't you think?
  • Yes, it's very obvious they don't care what we think.
  • The Samsung devices, running Android, are not an upgrade to Windows Phone/Mobile.  They are a proselytization.
  • Whatever that is, I agree with you 😄
  • No, it's really not.
  • PCSoftware3 I agree with you, Microsoft should keep giving support to WP8.1 as the majority of users are still using that OS.
  • Reminds me of the days of Windows 95/98. Home users wanted to stay on those platforms because apps "just worked" on them. They wouldn't touch Windows NT or 2000 even though they were more stable and utilized contemporary hardware more effectively. Microsoft had to stop supporting the former because of the problems it had trying to support every legacy piece of hardware available. I think that they're trying not to relive history.
  • I assure you that if Windows Phone 8+ crashed 7 times a day as Windows 95 and 98 did, people would have left them a long time ago. Stuttering and crashing like that now happens on W10M.
    P.S. There is no "contemporary hardware" for W10M.
  • Pcsoftware3 at the end of the day most people keep a mobile phone for 2 years or less and then move on. Wp8.1 is now 3 years old so time for anyone still using it to move on. I jumped to android and for me i still prefer windows mobile 10 but the apps killed it for me. No it was not having Pokémon Go ect it was lack of banking/payment apps as well as lack of watch support. I had a band and band 2 loved them but wanted a smart watch 2 not much support for that on window mobile to. Ide love to see Microsoft come back with a new os but the market as it is now will be hard to break into as there is not much different from device to device. The one thing I will say though is ide love Microsoft to make a fully android phone I mean their android UI is good. Ide love their keyboard on it to gbored is ok not as good though and I only really use ms apps on it to so add fully integrated cortanna, bing maps with satnav and for me ms could make a killing with that as they would also have full watch support as well as apps to. People won't agree with me but that's my take on what Microsoft should look at doing.
  • This article shows the exact reason why I will not get a ms phone in the near future. As they did with 7.8, now (even worse) 8.1, their upgrade/support cycle is bad. With other platforms you get apps, plus better support cycle. I never understood why people are still on WP/WM. Fool me once...
  • Remember the HTC HD2 debacle?
  • Guess the support end on de 512mb devices the 2 and 3 gb devices should be fastring worthy
  • The thing is, I highly doubt it's because people don't want to upgrade that the majority are still on 8.1, they don't know what to do to update. My sister was like that, she is used to her phone just updating itself so when I explained to her she had to get an app installed to be able to update further she thought that made no sense.
  • yeah the majority of people are left in the dark with this unnecessary process just to get the W10 update.
  • What app needs to be installed? I jumped from a WP7 to W10M device, although I do have a crappy W8.1 device for app testing (I haven't used it in years). My mum still has a Lumia 920 and I just assumed she was stuck on WP8 for good.
  • Or perhaps they have a WP8.1 phone that isn't upgradable and find it ridiculous to purchase/upgrade to a new W10 phone that is already two to three years old.  I'm happy to just hang on to my 5 year old Lumia 822 until Microsoft creates a new mobile device or until my 822 crashes and burns.
  • So, can we now say Windows Phone is officially dead? Only thing left is Windows 10 Mobile (not Windows Phone), and do you know how hard it is to find any new devices running W10M? You can't walk into a cell carrier and get one anymore.
  • This.
  • It's an antique...!
    Its value goes up every day....
  • I still see Telus selling Windows phones like the LG Lancet, Lumia 640 / 640XL. I asked them to stock the newer phones like HP Elite x3 or Alcatel IDOL 4S and they said "we are constantly listening to our customers for feedback"
  • Is that Telus' own version of Microosft's "At the right time™"?
  • Call bullshit on the telus still stocking windows phones.   I am a loyal telus user and have not seen a windows device at our store since the 830.  
  • Or....on their website for that matter.....
  • That all depends on where you live.
  • I finslly got a 950 and love it!
  • I'm going to continue using my Lumia 1020 until it won't charge anymore.  I hate my 950 and only use it to keep up with the latest developments and give Microsoft frequent feedback on how badly Windows 10 sucks.
  • I had a 1020 and did love it - But time to let it go, that thing is waaaay too damn slow. Still...Nice to see you say something positive at least (About the 1020) was starting to think you were an advanced Bot that was able to accurately parse articles to find things to moan about
  • That tis humorous.
  • I was just thinking about buying a 1020. They are going for $164 brand new here. Don't know how many are left. They have some 925 & 930 left too.
  • The 1020 was underpowered when it lauched. I can only imagine how bad it is today!
  • No worse than it was the day it was released. My 925 is stuck on 8.1 and it performs exactly the way it did when I first got it 3 & 1/2 years ago . Since i have Tmo digits, I alternate between it and my Idol 4s.
  • It's as good as it was then, shouldn't be any slower BUT times have changed and so have expectations so it feels slower if you have used something more modern
  • But it wasn't good then. The hardware was already a year old when it launched and it had to handle that giant camera sensor as if more megapixels is what phone cameras need!
  • Yeah they cheaped out by removing the dedicated processing chip for the camera. Deffo agree it was slow even for its time. Just that it's no slower now just as slow as it always was lol
  • They removed the dedicated chip because Microsoft was too lazy to implement it in the OS; If Nokia had full controll of the WP OS at its hight it would be a whole different story, Microsoft were and still are a buch of morons when it comes to mibile, and firing all the Nokia talent they bought just showed they are morons in the consumer space as well and will go by the way of the dodo soon, just like IBM before them. Those who don't learn from history are ... well you know the rest.    
  • That's the thing I like about WP's...they don't seem to slow up like the Androids. My 920 is still as smooth as the day I got it in 2012. The same with my 2013 1520, even on the latest build it's still smooth. Meanwhile, my android, is glitching and apps are starting to take long to open and I just got it in January 2017.
  • That's the age old truth, son. It has always been like that.
  • You didn't purchase the right android device then.
  • Ok...I'm listening. What is the right device? And what do I need to look for to make sure I don't have to deal with Android bogging down. BTW, currently I'm working with a Samsung Galaxy S7.
  • I have a Droid turbo that hasn't bogged down and it's nearly 3years years old. If you can wait a couple of months, get a Motorola z force 2 or a pixel 2.
    You picked Samsung and their software is a mess. Even the s8 stutters and has worse ram management than a $230 Motorola G5s.
  • I've thought about trying the Pixel because I don't like Touchwiz...never did. I'm leaning towards the LG G5 because of the pictures I've seen from that phone. I have never seen a Pixel So I'm going to have to search for one.
  • would not bother....its a camera with feature phone built in at this point.
  • 🤣
  • Feels like a lot longer since WP8.1 was released - Most people using WP8.1 still will be average Joe's and won't know or care that support has been dropped
  • Or maybe they really like the superior camera on the 1020 and aren't ready to pay hundreds of dollars for an inferior camera (or at best similarly capable one)?
  • Maybe some people are like that, but most are likely on cheaper devices - The 1020 had a great camera, I loved it but only if you take photos with plenty of notice and don't mind taking them with a delay. The specs apart from camera were outdated before it even released, mostly down to WP only supporting limited HW at the time.
  • Which is what Microsoft is banking on.
  • they will know that support has stopped when the Windows Store for WP8.1 doesn't work anymore and none of the apps or games will update
  • Is the Store really gonna stop working after tomorrow?
  • No.
  • "The most recent update to the platform was the GDR2 update, which landed in the spring of 2015" No, that was GDR3 in the fall of!
  • This is untrue
  • Nevermind, got confused with 8.0 GDR3, sorry. 
  • Some people mentioned it being hard to find a W10M device in retail stores. W10M in general needs an intervention. I feel like there are tons of fans who moan way too much about it, but at the same time MS employees are WAY to hostile towards people on Twitter who have fair questions. Asking when Surface Phone will come out is a dumb question to ask, moaning about a feature or insulting people is a crappy thing to do. Asking what Enterprise Features we can expect or why we should choose/recommend W10M over iOS for an enterprise environment is fair enough. You can ask any question as nicely as you want, and you will often get a response that is snarky or hostile - Ask things about PC and you are more likely to get a positive answer. There needs to be changes on both sides - MS Employees should not treat all W10M fans like lepers or respond as if the person just spat in their mothers face - And fans need to moan less, realise that they CAN move to a different device if they aren't happy and should do if that's the case. Don't ask the same questions over and over or ask dumb questions that can't be answered.
  • But the Wharton Brooks phone was THE phone for fans.   The "fans" never bought it!
  • Window 10 is terrible, very buggy and crash all of the time on my HP Elite x3. But l still stick with Windows.
  • I thought that was the case for only mid-range devices like my Lumia 650.
    But considering you've an HP Elite x3 with its glorious specs, I'm now sure that "Windows 10 mobile" needs tons of optimization to make it usable.
    And I'm still sticking with Windows too :)
  • Both mine and my wife's L650 work great. Can never understand why/how people say "it's buggy".
  • My biggest problem with Windows 10 mobile is that it's not very reliable.
    Apps and the OS itself can freeze or crash at any point.
  • I don't have problems with crashes. It not that it never happens it just doesn't do it very often. I had more crashes with Windows 8.1 on my L730 which now runs much better on Windows 10 Mobile.
  • It is buggy, with my L950xl no problem whatsoever.
  • But we all agree that the OS it's not there yet, right??
  • Yes and No. Some time it is perfect and then the next update just stuff up something.
  • Ha, try to get "all" here to agree on anything.
  • Actually if you want to be the best, you should always feel that you're not there yet :)
  • Insider or normal release?
  • I guess it made no difference. Anyway just a normal update.
  • 8.1 users are the main reason for the death of Windows Mobile. Anyone holding a 3 year old handset complaining about the platform growth should be ashamed themselves! They didn't support Windows so Windows should support them! Well done MSFT!
  • I only purchase high-end phones and Microsoft hasn't released one in almost that long. The one they did release (950) wasn't available on my carrier (or most others for that matter) so I'm supposed to buy a phone that is inferior to my current phone with an inferior camera, just so Microsoft gets the hint that I want a new flagship?  I don't think that would have worked as well as you imply.  So I'll continue to use my 3+ year old phone until there is a viable upgrade path.
  • I had T-Mobile and I got my 950 Unlocked from MSFT. I sold my 930 on eBay and made it happen. Either way, I'm mostly accusing those on ATT (Lumia 950) and recent T-Mobile (Alcatel) that did NOT upgrade when they can. Also those overseas where they are all cash buyers. US Verizon and Sprint customers make up a small share of the global platform.
  • so true. And Microsoft didn't even bother selling the new Lumia devices 1 year after USA got them.
  • Not their mistake if they weren't allowed to upgrade
  • Such a childish view of products and markets.
    NEWS FLASH: Products are made for people. People are not obliged to use a product. You know why? Because people are the ones who PAY for the product. When you pay for a phone, you've already done what you had to do. When the next one supposedly comes out and it sucks @$$, you are not obliged to suffer through it so "the platform can grow". The product simply should not suck. The maker of the product is to blame. Already too many people bought the crappy W10M devices just to "support" the platform. That was a mistake. I can't believe such a simple concept is lost on people.
  • No...Microsoft is FULLY to blame for the shitstorm that is windows 10 mobile.  over promise under deliver has now come back to bite them in the backside.   
  • No, W10M, crappy hardware and MS' incompetence are what killed the platform. Put down the crack pipe.
  • lol are you serious??? sorry pal but I won't throw my money on a new product, just to support the platform, if that product is a shitbag full of bugs, a mediocre crap! like windows 10 mobile was and still is. Honestly, I do not know what kind of incompetents built that OS...
  • Most 8.1 users are probably completely unaware of Windows 10 Mobile or that they can upgrade. It shows Microsoft's commitment to mobile.
  • This might be the official date but MS stop supporting or caring about 8.1 years ago.
  • I'll be keeping my Lumia 1520 on 8.1. It's the best OS for that device.
  • The last good effort by Microsoft in mobile.... 8.1.
    10 is god awful
  • I was hoping MS gives us little update to edit custom keyboard dictionary (I think I read not too long ago it came or coming to WM10), but it never came and will not
  • We've been orphans and kicked to the streets for years already as far as MS is concern. Good luck to those on Verizon in regards to upgrading to 10
  • It's a shame!  Some of the best devices were created with 8.1.  Long live Metro design and feel!
  • Over the weekend I had a guy come to my house to quote on some work...he was carrying a Lumia Icon. I haven't seen one of those in about a year. I was asking him about his phone and he was genuinely enthusiastic. This guy was a regular, everyday user. He had no idea about the problems Microsoft has had in the mobile market. He was totally happy with his phone. Man that Icon was a good looking phone. I was too embarrassed to pull out my Lumia 950 and show it off. It looks like crap compared to the icon. All I could think was..."this guy loves his phone because he genuinely has no idea about the app gap or lack of hardware or dwindling market share. He just loves his phone." I wish I was him
  • Yeah, MS did a bad design job with the 950ies ☹
  • r.i.p. she was a good girl, she had a boyfriend that really cared about her he was a wild child but at least he cared, her new boyfriend only cares about the opportunity she presents and have been seen courting other girls if fact he spends more time with one of the i-lena, you would think they were a couple, if he was to bake a cake he'd bake it for i-lena before his own girl. Such a shame.I've seen it before,  guy meets girl, guy mistreats girl, girls lets herself go and everyone hates on girl when it was the guy's fault, and now she sick and fading away, and the guy could care less such a shame. 
  • I think that in reality, MSFT, stopped supporting WP8.1 a while ago.  I contacted MSFT about a few problems quite a while ago and MSFT basically said (paraphrase): Yea, we know about the bugs and fixed them in WM10, but won't in WP8.1, so upgrade.  (They ignored that they renigged on their promises that all WP8 could upgrade.)
  • I bought the 640 XL (AT&T) since it was supposed to be the first one to be able to handle Windows 10. They NEVER rolled out and official update...just the "do this at your own risk" option. If I can still force a Win10 update, please link me to the instructions. Like others, I am still waiting for a solid new device. I am continually frustrated by the lack of apps for things like workshops and college campuses (little, local stuff). I love the UI, but may be forced to hold my nose and buy something else soon. Truly Microsoft doesn't see any value in this segment of their ecosystem.
  • That's a huge bummer.... :((((((((((((((((((( I thought just a couple days ago about going back to 8.1. Parlty because i know my sensors on my 640 wouldn't fail to be detected.
  • Support for 36 months is complete lie from Microsoft, they never even released GDR2 update for the Lumia 1080. That will leave a black mark on Microsoft forever in my book. Not even gonna go into the whole Win10 mobile update lies.    
  • Windows 10 Mobile is pretty much dead as well
  • So, for developers creating new mobile apps now and wanting to support Windows, should they either a) target their minimum system requirements at Windows Phone 8.1 because this incarnation of the OS still easily has the largest group of users amongst Microsoft mobile platforms, despite the pending termination of mainstream support; or b) target the minimum system requirements at Windows 10 Mobile because, for now at least, Microsoft is still officially supporting it even though it has a relatively small share of overall Microsoft mobile platform users?  Curious. Please, no waste-of-space "Windows Mobile is dead" comments.  
  • Windows 10 is supper fast on my unlocked Alcatel Idol 4S. Got it for $279 on Amazon with VR goggles. Works on ATT. Very good spec'd phone. Windows 10 isn't dead. Its thriving. You just have to find a good third party phone.
  • When you "have to find a good third party phone", the OS is not "thriving".
    Which other OS would you say that about? Do you just have to find a good 3rd party phone running Android? Or the best phones are already there for you to grab?
  • Windows 7 had the people hub, that was simply the best contact management app ever made, they dropped it by 8.1 but introduced Cortana and she actually worked, now even on a hp elite x3 she may or may not respond to you, Here maps and Here Jobs where truly amazing apps also gone. Microsoft Health was amazing, the tracking with sensor core on a Lumia 1520 paired with a MS Band was outstanding, now all that is gone. Yes windows 10 on my phone does let me use my phone like a laptop and I guess that is what I will have to do, but the idea of using the phone the way Microsoft first started off with windows phone 7 is almost totally gone. And I still don't know why I stick around.
  • WTF
  • And here I am with my htc one m8, still on vanilla Windows 10 mobile. How many more bullets to Microsoft's own foot before they have to sever it?
  • I just got a G8. I was using a Samsung Ativ which I really liked. Sadly MS doesn't support their products. Zune, mobile, I'm worried about xbox. I prefer the MS platform and products, but they make it hard for me to support them.
  • Friday last week, I finally took the plunge and jumped ship to a Galaxy S8+. I really do miss my 950XL, I've been with windows phone since the launch of WP7, (Omnia, Ativ, Lumia 920, 1520, 640XL and a 950XL). It's an amazing OS that just doesn't have the support it deserves (rightly or wrongly). With MS being quiet on what the future holds and app support really dropping off a cliff, I was lured into the Android world. I have all my MS apps on my S8+, it's still a sea of icons and I really really miss the live tiles, but app support is immense and the few apps I had on my 950XL are vastly improved on Android (Barclays Banking being one example). Android isn't perfect, whereas on the 950XL I had a single account linked to everything MS (onedrive, backups, pics, music etc) I was extremely confused about the S8+ asking me to sign into google AND samsung accounts, with split stores and sync options...the simplicity of a Windows Phone is sorely missed. Plus, I'm 3 days into using the new phone and it's already corrupted a Micro SD card...apparently it's a common issue with Samsung phones. Still, I will miss Windows Mobile, it's a fast, efficient and simple to use OS that could have been a worthy 3rd option if MS had not left it to die. As Andrew L states - I too prefer the MS platform and services but I can consume those on other products, with sometimes improved results!
  • :))) upgrading to windows 10 mobile? more like downgrading to that mediocre crap!
  • best phone OS.  hope my device keeps running it strong for a long time