Microsoft considering to add firmware to Insider program for Lumia 950, 950 XL

Beginning around two weeks ago, Microsoft started to push out a significant firmware update for the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. Being the first for this device as an over-the-air update, Microsoft is collecting telemetry on the update to ensure that there are no issues. This process is, at least, one of the reasons for the rolling nature of the update and why not all devices are currently getting it.

In the US, the unlocked dual-SIM Lumia 950 XL began getting this update on Wednesday. However, once again, there are discrepancies as not everyone sees the upgrade (including our phones). The explanation here, however, is different.

If you are on the Insider Program for phone and build 10586.36 you will not get the update, at least not yet. An option is to unregister from the program, back up the device, hard-reset and then get the update, but for most people that is not exactly a convenient option.

The reason for why some see it and others do not is Microsoft just has not put the new firmware on the Insider servers. The news comes via Jason, the Program Manager on the Windows Insider team, who acknowledged the current limitation on Twitter:

"Correct, it is not published to the Insider update server. I've posed an inquiry about this to the team…I don't expect it will be on the Insider servers this week. If you want it ASAP, reset is the way to go."

In response to an inquiry about the plans to eventually put the firmware on the Insider servers, Jason responded with "Working through the discussions." However, the outcome of those discussions is not yet known.

Although disappointing, the tweets do reveal a few interesting bits about the Windows Update process.

  1. Firmware is separate from the Insider program but grouped with non-Insider OS builds
  2. Microsoft is considering letting those on the Insider program also get firmware updates, possibly even before they officially roll out

At least, in theory, Microsoft could give Insiders firmware for their Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. Presumably, there are potential complications with such a plan as flashing firmware can be riskier than just updating the OS. Then again, for those who sign up for the Insider program risk is certainly in the cards and expected.

The bad news, however, is that if you want that new firmware for the unlocked dual-SIM Lumia 950 XL, a hard-reset is in your future. The good news, at least according to Jason's tweet, is that update should be on the Insider servers sometime soon: "I don't expect it will be on the Insider servers this week…"

To cut Microsoft a little slack here all of these programs, updates, and different build tracks are new, and they do need to proceed cautiously. Potentially "bricking" many phones is also not the desired outcome. For now, we'll have to wait until Microsoft sorts it all out. At the very least, these are still good problems for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile to have when compared to updates in the past.

As to the 01078.00027.15506 firmware update, many users in our forums are reporting a positive experience with less sudden overheating, better battery life, and improved OS performance. Finally, for those on AT&T with the Lumia 950, it does not appear to matter if you are Insider or not as that phone's update (along with some other regions for unlocked variants) is still not live anywhere. Presumably, AT&T needs to approve the update first for their Lumia 950.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, jlangner_bama1, for the tip

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.