New Lumias via Denim support downloading OS updates to memory card

When it comes to updating the operating system, the Windows Phone experience leans towards the positive when compared to the competition. Apple's iPhone notoriously need a huge heaping of space due to backups and Android, like all things, can vary from device to device.

However, one area that is of concern is Windows Phones with low internal memory. Even though some phones have a micro SD card for expansion, they can prove to be problematic for OS updates if there is not enough internal space. One minor fix in build 14219 of Windows Phone 8.1.1 aka Lumia Denim is the ability to install those updates using the expansion card.

The news comes through Microsoft's support channels, which note the addition:

"Lumia software update OS version 8.10.14219.341 (formerly Denim), or above enables support for downloading phone software updates to an SD memory card. The supported devices list includes: Lumia 530/530 Dual SIM, 630/630 Dual SIM, 635, 636, 638, 730 Dual SIM, 735 and 830. The feature will be available for possible software updates coming after 8.10.14219.341."

Nonetheless, there are exceptions to the rule, including some of the older Lumia phones:

"Other Lumia models with a SD memory card slot, such as Lumia 520, 525, 620, 625, 720, 820, 1320 and 1520, do not support downloading updates to memory card."

It is unfortunate that the Lumia 520 and Lumia 525 do not support this function, but newer phones like the Lumia 530 are a higher priority. The reason for this is although the Lumia 520 "only" has 8 GB of internal memory the Lumia 530 drops that down to a very low 4 GB making micro SD card support for OS updates more crucial.

It is not immediately clear why there is a distinction in hardware support for this feature, though presumably it has something to do with the OS and firmware for those devices. Going forward, new Lumia phones will likely all support this ability, which is long overdue.

We should note that this does not mean the OS is installed on a micro SD card, just the temporary installation files to update the OS in internal memory.

The Lumia 535 is noticeably absent from Microsoft's list, though we are assuming it is an oversight, and it joins the x3x series of devices in supporting this feature.

Have you had to uninstall some games or music in order to do an OS update on your Windows Phone? Let us know.

Source: Microsoft; Thanks, C. Kotesh, 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.