Microsoft Edge for Windows 10 Mobile to get background downloading in later release

When it comes to mobile browsing, there are some who want no limits, including the background downloading of files. Although for many this option is of minimal concern, for others it is a highly requested feature. Therefore, questions about what Microsoft next-gen browser – Microsoft Edge – will and will not support is of vital interest.

Back in April, the Microsoft Edge team (known previously as Project Spartan), answered that background downloading was "not currently planned" for Windows 10 Mobile, but they were interested in feedback on the matter.

Today, that answer appears to have shifted to background downloading is in the works. However, you should not expect this feature immediately.

Microsoft Edge Program Manager Ade Bateman answered the question on Twitter, noting:

"We're working on it but we're not sure when it will be ready. Probably won't be in the first release."

Much like browser extensions it sounds like background downloading is in the cards, but it will not be out with the initial release (whenever that is). Of course, the bigger news here is that the feature is a 'go' making the actual release date a moot point.

Like many aspects of the new OS, Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 make the Edge browser just an app. As a result, users should expect Microsoft to update the browser directly through the Store on a frequent basis when new features or revisions are made. This ability contrasts with the current system of needing a full OS update to improve the browser, and it should make Microsoft much more nimble in the browser wars going forward.

The latest Insider release of Windows 10 Mobile (build 10136) saw the addition of a new area where users could see their download history. Presumably, this section could be expanded upon for background downloads as well.

Will you use background downloading on Windows Phone? Let us know in comments.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Mayur P., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

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.

256 Comments
  • YES YES YES.
  • The whole article is good except your last question you asked to the readers Daniel. It's so childish. Will we use?! Of course we will. Who doesn't want background downloading?
  • I couldn't care less about it. So, no, not childish. Also, lighten up. My guess is this: In developed economies, this is not a big deal since many of us have tablets, laptops and desktop PCs. Why do I need to download a file on my phone when I can bust out my X1 Carbon with LTE? (And as mentioned below, faster internet speeds all affect the need for this feature). This is a bigger deal in emerging markets where such luxuries are not as common, making the phone their primary computing device ergo people "really need" this feature. That's fine, but it is not correct to assume that everyone cares about this addition. This is pretty much reflected here in comments.
  • Well..wouldn't you just like to start a download, continue whatever activity you were doing and see the download completed next time you look at your phone again?
  • That's kind of the whole point. What on Earth would you be wanting to download onto your phone from a website anyway? I mean, I'm glad we will have feature parity -- I know that's important from a marketing standpoint, but I just don't see myself ever using it. Any file of any material size that I want on my phone is going to come via an app, like podcasts or the app store.
  • Well if you use your phone for music (if you download music illegally) you can just download albums straight from a website.
    Some people like to download videos on their phones as well (Illegally downloading movies). Stuff like that. But, yeah, that's just some people.
  • E.g. Downloading a bigger PDF file or files to study.
    Over the cellular network this download could take some time, especially if you're in a train.
  • For me, music. I do album pledges a lot and get digital downloads of said albums. It's easier if I can download it direct to my phone without having to sit there with the browser open the whole time.
  • Exactly. Emerging economy or not... +Daniel Rubino... I switch away from Windows Phone for the lack of multitasking; one of the biggest issues for me was that: Downloading / uploading in the background. I wanted to share images with friends, and I selected 10 pictures to upload via an app. I clicked upload, it canceled / paused the upload every time the screen turned off... Let alone changing screens!   If their phone is going to be their main means of internet, then OF COURSE they'd care! I'm mostly in front of a PC during the day and always have access, and this is an important feature for me......
  • Uhh..I want to start a video download and then out the phone away in my pocket or move to a different app rather than keep Edge in the forefront? That's hardly a trivial feature and Android at least has had that feature for years. That was one if the things I really missed when I switched.
  • "That's hardly a trivial feature "
    No one is calling it trivial, just not something universally needed or desired.
  • Universally even a smart phone is not needed nor desired but feature rich is always better. There's a possibility that anybody in any part of the world at some point would want to able to download in the background and at the point if it is not there it would be a bit annoying. Arguing blue is better than green is stupid but for some blue IS better.
  • Agreed.
  • Because of the Universal capability of these apps background operations should be built in as a normal function of W10 in general.
  • Could it end up being the case that once one uses it a few times, its absence would be sorely missed, sort of like the back button after having come from iOS? That's about how I envision sentiment about it developing.
  • Just that anyone who has used an Android device and then does start downloading something on WP, only to realize that the download stops as soon as it loses focus, will likely get annoyed at the absence of this basic functionality. Why are you downplaying this? This is just another of the unnecessary oversights that causes people to say Android is better and does more. The absence is annoying, just like the absence of a pivot on the W10M hamburger menu is annoying. I see you downplaying that problem also, even though that and all the related moving things to the top and upper left admittedly received the most negative feedback.
  • Most people don't download a video from a browser. They usually stream it now. If they do download it, it is usually from an app that sells videos. People who pirate movies still download from a browser.
  • People who pirate movies download them from torrents. Overall I think they should add the feature but download only the files we choose so it won't slow it down
  • I have all the devices you mentioned but I still want background downloading. Being able to use another device is beside the point. I've noticed you always downplay the unavailability of a feature on windows phone with, "I and the developed world don't need it". Quite silly.
  • No, quite opinion, not silly. These are all opinions, nothing more, nothing less. Arguing about it is like saying blue is better than green. I've noticed you always downplay people's opinions by calling them "silly" (and using 'quite' before it does not change the tone). And yes, I do believe this is a bigger deal in emerging markets for the reasons I stated and the one noted below (slower internet speeds, making the download take longer).
  • What do you classify as an emerging market?
  • I agree. Background downloading in the browser is not something I've ever missed either. However, a more generalized solution to this background downloading problem, like a centralized download manager that is used by all apps (not just Edge) is something I've seen people call for over and over again in our forums, and I've since been convinced that's absolutely necessary (people downloading their four dozen podcasts they've subscribed to, in preperation for their morning commute, is the most typical example). That would be a very sought after feature! I don't get why MS is making this specific to Edge rather than a general OS concept. W10M's big brother has supported something like this ever since W7 and then improved upon it in W8: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/08/23/improving-our-file-management-basics-copy-move-rename-and-delete.aspx It's a mystery to me why MS can't bring this down to the smartphone, which would likely be a view that is accessible via the action centre which lists: all files which are queued for downloading icon of the app which queud the file their size ETA status (paused, failed, etc) This would be so much cleaner and more consistent than every app doing that for themselves, or in WP's case, more likely not supporting background downloading at all. :-( *sigh*
  • I totally agree with that comment
  • Agreed ! I am from an emerging market and have my phone as the only device , so yes its hell of a requirement for me and most of the indians but you just cant deny the fact the above sammyD97 mentioned....and its not only you ...we all windows phone users sound like this and we try to explain why we don't need it . Why cant we just have it all and leave the users decide what to use and what to not..for eg: What on earth is a podcast? I've never used it ( and don't seem to be using it in. Near future) but doesn't means we don't need them because we can find alternatives.... We just want them because not having them is not an option. Just like background downloads....just because you don't care .....
  • Actually! Its not only about developed or developing or under developed economies.... Its all about the size of file being downloaded and internet speed.... So people facing low speed connectivity issues or those downloading a large enough file while they have only their phone/s in hand.... Background downloading is really helpful.... What you are saying if true then there is no need of continuum in phones as everybody would have a tab laptop along with his/her smartphone on the go......
  • True.
  • Yes, you're right on some account. Here in India, we don't get blazing fast internet speed everywhere so we tend to stay till download completes then exit.
  • It's okay to be bully headed sometimes but you were little cocky there, and your comment shows that you look down upon people from emerging market. I just have one thing to say "Get well soon bro"..
  • I don't agree with his comment. But where exactly does he "look down" on developing economies? He said in the developing economies people are likely to have less devices per person and are facing lower speeds. How is that looking down? You should get well soon and not overdramatize something that has been said
  • Maybe just MAYBE most of us only have a phone and desktop and we would like to download stuff in the background instead of waiting to get home. Not everyone is able to have a "X1 Carbon with LTE" but whatever.
  • ^this. Yes.
  • The thing is you live in USA and you have a good downloading speed. Not all countries have that privilege so in order to download large files we want background downloading very badly on our phones.
  • "Why do I need to download a file on my phone when I can bust out my X1 Carbon with LTE?" Serious?!! Why wouldn't I download a file if my quota allows it???? Stop defending Windows Phone man.... Why a background download so difficult for MS to implement till date??? Whether the user want to use it or not, is all up to the user. Why MS must enforce it?? If the user is so dumb to busted his quota for the month, that's his fault and blame for his own foolishness! You know what makes windows phone not able to pick its market share?? Is all these lame excuses like yours.
  • With continuum, we might get to a point where less devices are necessary, and for that people would want to download stuff on their phones.
  • But due to no background downloading in apps,browsers.i cant recommend window mobile to anybody.it is must having feature in every app if MS want to succeed in india.m also very surprised by ur question.
  • I understand that this feature is not a requirement for your personal needs, however as you have already stated this feature is requested by many and it is available on other platforms. Microsoft needs to stop playing catch-up and release an OS with feature parity and then some. They need to stop releasing features in piecemeal and more importantly announce something to arrive way way later. This is beyond one persons needs or even the needs of a group. This is about being competitive and getting to a stage where everything from marketing to features is executed properly.
  • Lol on the developed economy.
  • Yes, I have a Dell Inspiron 5548 which is where I download from the Internet, but many folks where I live don't have enough money to purchase a laptop, their old PC desktops use Windows Vista or XP and delay 5 minutes to boot, thats unnaceptable but they cannot afford a new PC or a laptop, that's why they should go with a phone like the Lumia 435 on a pre-paid plan. For these people, a smartphone is a much better experience that substitutes their old PC desktop with Vista which is now abandoned since it wastes too much electricity and increases energy bills.
  • Pretty much that summarizes all, I live in an emerging market and there are 120 million people, from which 105 million have a cellphone (in average, also consider kids younger than 15 can or cannot have a cellphone depending on its parents permission).
    It is calculated that 56% of those 105 million have a smartphone. This means 46.2 million people still use feature phones (dumb phones). Microsoft still has a lot of opportunity in Mexico (where I live) to promote Windows Phone growth on these people which don't have a mobile data plan, they have prepaid plan and deposit about $US 7.00 ($MX 100 pesos) for their cell phone credit each month on convenience stores called Oxxo.
  • Yes we do!!
  • Your question to solicitation of feedback by Daniel used poor wording or was just rude. Childish? Why bother with such a comment?
  • Daniel can ask whatever they want. and I don't care about background downloading because I rarely download anything on my phone especially if it will take minutes to be a background task.
  • Thats what they said about Mein Fuhrer !!!
  • I never download any files on my phone except for maybe a pdf. So no, it's not a must have feature for a lot of people. Maybe it's time to consider there's more world beyond your own POV.
  • Like him, even you or your thoughts don't comprise of everyone's.
  • How about a game of size lets say 700mb-1gb?(don't argue, there are many) You put download and the very next moment you get some important text/whatsapp/call/whatever. What do you do?
    Background downloading is a must and necessary feature in a bloody modern era browser which boasts to beat other leading browsers. SMH.
  • As Daniel already mentioned, such downloads on WP are typically handled by dedicated apps such as the Store in the case of games you have cited. Those have supported background downloads and installation forever.
    I'm also not really into background downloads on phones, nice to have but it'll probably never get any use from me. Most 'serious' work that demands huge downloads and real multitasking is still a desktop and laptop affair for me.
  • That was an example for a very big file size. :/ As someone above suggested, background download should be an OS thing and not app to app.
  • Seriously ? Just think its actually an addition of feature required by the rest of the world other than "there's more world beyond your own POV". Since MS is selling a big chunk of its phones,which are mostly low-ends to mid-range, in emerging market too, It must take care of background downloading. Yep , we actually like to download stuff on the go . 
  • Childish? Do you realize how juvenile that sounds?
  • Huh? I thought juvenile meant childish?
  • Not childish at all. I, for one, will turn off the feature if I can. Cell data is not an unlimited resource, nor is a phone's battery, etc. Beyond that, I generally use a mobile browser in a different way than the one on my tablet and my workstation: single page with the info I wanted, then off to a totally different one for something else--IOW, the kind of browsing background loading is useless for.
  • Just bring it...
  • Rofl..... Who need the features of a smart phone??? I have a LAPTOP. I can use it for facebook, twitter, dropbox, Microsoft Office, play hd games, check my email, skype etc etc. Only thing that my LAPTOP can't do is make calls.
    Can my windows phone make calls? Oh yes!!! This is the best os ever.
    Who needs the above mentioned features on a phone!!! Duh!!! Only the unlucky, poor peoples..... who can't afford a LAPTOP.
  • You my friend , have won it all ...:)
  • Fuck you microsoft. Without background windows is a java. I regret to buy windows that have not even background support. I want this feature.
  • Java is Android.
  • Not in first realease? Then when?
  • Probably later.
  • Ok. Thank you. Hope it will available in final build.
  • Probably not if they're now working on it, I'd expect in maybe a "GDR 1" (or what ever they call it) release.
  • There will likely not be a need for 'GDR1' as Edge can be updated directly through the Store as an app update.
  • Well this is great news. Edge can get updates from store.
  • Daniel, your comments are always entertaining.
  • Agreed! I frankly look forward to them.
  • Yeah, condescending belittling of people is really entertaining, isn't it! ;)
  • @_@
  • Everybody wants this! None of the browsers available on wp supports this. Even uc cannot do this properly.
  • Have you tried enabling the background option in battery saver?