Skip to main content

Folders finally coming to Windows Phone through Nokia’s Lumia Black update

Earlier today we covered some details on the Nokia’s Lumia Black update that is beginning to rollout in China and other countries around the globe. We now have more details on new features within Lumia Black and the availability of the rollout. Information ahoy!

The Lumia Black firmware already comes on devices like the Lumia 1520, but now it’s rolling out for the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 925 smartphones. Other devices will get the update in the coming weeks. Nokia has a support page (opens in new tab) on their site where you can check on the status for both the Amber and Lumia Black updates depending on your region and carrier.

What’s new in the Lumia Black update? There’s a couple of new features and improvements in imaging. Look forward to things like:

  • App Folder
  • Nokia Glance Screen 2.0
  • Bluetooth LE
  • Nokia Refocus
  • Nokia Beamer
  • Nokia Storyteller
  • Nokia Camera


The biggest surprise is the addition of folders into Windows Phone. App folders will allow users to group similar apps and settings into one folder as a tile on your Start screen. A mod from Nokia Conversations replied in the comments of the corresponding blog post announcing the rollout and said that “we’ll bring more details on that in a future post” when answering how app folders will work. This is a heavily requested feature among many Windows Phone users and those running Lumia Black will be able to take advantage of it.

Samsung previously delivered Folders to their Windows Phone users via an app, and we imagine this will be the case here. So stay tuned.

Glance 2.0 and more

The second version of Nokia’s Glance Screen improves upon the core functionality and feature set from when it initially launched. The version in Lumia Black allows you to see notifications from your favorite apps like Twitter, Facebook, or WhatsApp. All devices with Lumia Black will also have Bluetooth Low Energy enabled (BT4.0). This allows for devices like heart rate monitors or fitness trackers to keep a stable connection and not drain the battery for either device.

There are a handful of apps from Nokia that require Lumia Black to work. Apps like Storyteller, Beamer, and Refocus will be available to those with Lumia Black. There are certain limitations for what some of those apps can do on some hardware. For example, Nokia Refocus will only work with devices that have at least 1GB of RAM. Of course Nokia Camera now works from the Lumia 520 to Lumia 1520, but it really sings on higher end hardware.

In terms of imaging, Lumia Black improves image quality (especially in the Lumia 1020) with a new set of algorithms. Images should look more natural with reduced noise in low-light situations.

When do you get the update? Soon. Like we said, it’s rolling out right now to the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 925 globally. Check your specific carrier on this support page (opens in new tab).

Source: Nokia Conversations, Lumia Black availability (opens in new tab)  

  • How do I get these app folders? I just updated to Black and cannot figure it out
  • Will probably be a forthcoming app, just like how Samsung did it.
  • Hey daniel, do you know if the lumias with developer preview of GDR3 enabled will also get the update? or is the same update?
  • All Lumias will get it. However, the "preview" isn't really a preview after all. It's the final version ;) So you only get the Black Update without GDR3 (because you already have it).
  • Thanks for help! :)
  • The requisite is not Nokia Black but GDR3, confirmed here: Source:  
  • Does the Live Tile still work in the Samsung app folder app?
  • No.
  • IMO, it shouldn't have live tiles inside folders. The folder tiles itself already small (medium sized tiles). Naturally, those inside a folder would have much smaller size compared to the folder (which is already in minimum size for live tiles. Smaller than this and you'll only get icons). So, how do we read those information (within the live tiles within folders) if it's already that small?
  • can you change your headline to say (via app). you're like being totally confusing.
  • You probably talk like that too, don't you?
  • most def!
  • I've had this update on my 1020 for some time.  There are definetely no Folders currently enabled, so it will have to come in some later form.   The other features are quite nice, but I'd trade them all for soem Folder functionality!
  • Daniel, please add the link to the app :
  • Wow, this is a surprise!  It installed on my 920 running GDR3 preview.
  • 920 GDR3 previes +1! This is AWESOME! Been a NOKIA fan for more than 10 years, they never fail me! (Not even with Symbian... I'm die hard.. haha!)
  • I hope they are still live tiles in the folder. Looking like another start screen.
  • Agreed, this article is incredibly confusing as written... I've had Black on my 1020 for weeks and there are no folders.... Seems like that should be a separate article or at least clearly stated that it is not in Black.
  • Go to store....
  • I wonder how many people are looking at your link above...It sheds alot of light on the folder questions lol. People look at the link above before you go any further down
  • Works for people who only have the amber update as well...
  • Nokia is awesome the only reason why I keep my Lumia.. MSFT needs to step up their game..
  • If we learned anything from the 360, they already are
  • How do you enable folders on the 1520?
  • When the app is released
  • The 'App Folder' app is already in the Store, just search for it 'App Folder'.
    For anyone else reading my comment, the apps you move to the folder you create, are not shown as Live Tiles, rather they show as mini icons inside the folder. To be honest with my 1520, I cannot think of any good use for this app? I mean I didn't feel there was a need for this app. Maybe somebody can point out how it can be put to good use. Additionally it's worth noting that the App Folder is a running task in the background, not sure why, but just in case I guess it's a good idea to block it, preventing some nasty battery drain surprises.
  • Ok Verizon...let's get this going!  Black awaits!
  • THIS.  Times 928!
  • This, times 822.
  • Says it's "waiting approval".
  • This X 929. Jk. I'm on T-mobile. Got ya ;)
  • THIS times ... really?? I love my 1520, but adding a "+1520" to everything I like just isn't my thing.
  • +1520
  • you just did, twice haha. Anyway it's a neat way to approve a comment, indicate hardware and show solidarity with your fellow wp users... all things considered (e.g. youtube comments) i see nothing wrong with this behavior.
  • -1520. It just shows support for the comment. No likey? Don't do it. I like showing WP some love this way.
  • the + *number* comments work as a facebook LIKE. 
  • Finished updating my Lumia 1020 (Philippines). Toying around the new/enhanced features :)
  • Woohoo! Meron na sa Pinas na update. Nakalagay kasi sa Globe wala pa. Although unlocked yung sa akin. Going to update mine as soon as I get home. Hope the images will look better with the new algorithms.
  • Just checked, mine's not picking up the update. I have the GDR3 preview though. Bought it from MemoXpress.
  • Still no update? Unlocked 1020 with GDR3 preview installed.
  • No luck. 
  • Neat
  • So is there any reason why I can't already see this App folder stuff on my 'Black" Lumia 1020? no one is reporting about that?
  • Yeah, it is a bit misleading, at least for me. The way the post reads implies that Black automatically includes folders. I've had Black on my 1520 since launch. No folders yet. It seems it is a system "app" (that isn't available yet) that is only enabled with Black.
    That's how I understand it, at least.
  • I was able to install the app on my Lumia 920 running Amber with GDR3 preview from one of the above links.  You should try also - it's not an unreleased system app.
  • That's ugly. And not useful, at least for me. I enjoy looking at all the tiles on my screen.
  • That's the joy of it being a option. If you like it use it. If you don't like it don't use it. By having the option it can attract more users.
  • As I said, they are not useful. FOR ME.
  • The bigger the tiles, the better they look I always say :)
  • I agree.
  • I do too but grouping like apps and settings could save space. It would cool if the folder was a live tile and they showed updates from the apps.
  • Has anyone at Nokia clarified how the App Folders are accessed? I've had Black on my 1020 for weeks now and as far as I can tell, I don't have this feature.
  • I think they may release a system app that will enable folders. I have Black installed on my 1020 as well, but no folders.
  • I bet its going to be an app, similar to Samsung's folder app.
  • Shouldn't the headline say "finally comes to Nokia"?
  • Which means that it'll still be laggy.
  • Eagerly waiting for the update...
  • And for Lumia 1520?
  • There's been an app folder for atleast Samsung's WP-devices for quite a while now.
  • Guess the user demand for this option on Lumia prompted this.
  • Is this update for the lumia 920 too?
  • Check the updates according to your phone model, you area and your carrier:  
  • Yes, but later... :/
  • Loving the folders! Looks great! Now maybe a file explorer.... ;)
  • How did you access the folders feature?
  • will nokia glance screen also come in lower end Lumia devices? as we all also want notifciations on glance screen I have Lumia720
  • That's hardware limitations and not software. All 520 and 625 does not have clear black display. No idea why 720 can't have glance.
  • 720 has it
  • 720 DOES have clear black display!
  • Yeah I double checked. Sorry.
  • As far as I know, only the 520/1 will not support the Glance screen.
  • 720 Has get glance with amber Update. U must install,this as app from Nokia collection
  • i have glance on amber update but my question is Will Nokia Glance Screen 2.0 (mainly notifications) come in Lumia 720  
  • Whoot on Rogers in Canada and just got it!
  • Sam, you might wanna change that: "Nokia Camera now works from the Lumia 520 to the Lumia 1520".... Because black will not be available to us Lumia 810 users...SMH
  • Oh 810, the orphaned WP8 launch device. So glad I sold it. So remorseful I bought it at full price.
  • I already organize like tiles on my home screen. I think this is kind of useless.
  • useless = has no use
    what you mean is that you don't want it. It has PLENTY of use. I can't wait to use it.
  • I read app folders are only for China :(
  • And where did you read that?
  • Somewhere else but here...
  • Considering that image is of a device on O2 - UK with folders? I don't think they have that carrier in China.
  • That is what some of the Chinese media said, but looks like app folder is for all, but incoming call location and carrier display is still only for China.
  • What I really want is the opportunity to add folders in the album so I could organized my photos directly on the and not only through a computer
  • I'm not sure why people are so gaga about folders.
    You wouldn't even be able to see the live tiles that make Windows Phone stand out from the crowd.
    If you just have a sea of non-animated, small, icons, then it looks like every other IOS or Android phone.
  • +1520
  • For me, the ability to add folders means I can group a few apps together at the bottom of my screen. It doesn't make sense to all, but having those options is critical to moving the platform forward. I personally want to group several categorized apps together that I have to hunt for. (what are my navigation choices again...? Nokia maps, oh no it's called HERE, Waze, and CoPilot). Having them all in a folder means I get to choose. That may not be the best example since I actually do have those as live tiles, but you start to see why this may be great for others and we want as many folks liking alternatives as we can to grow the platform.
  • I bet 75% of apps don't utilize the live tile (maybe more).
  • For me I keep FB Twitter LinkedIn personal email all small tiles as I wouldn't want a client to see something on my phone that's not for them so keeping in a folder and show a counter on the folder would be perfect for me. Other things I have double wide and wouldn't make sense to put in a folder. The best thing about this as a option is if you don't like it you don't have to use it.
  • I agree. The thing that would be cool is opening a folder took you to a second live tiled screen with whatever apps you put in that folder.  You could stay organized and keep the live tile experience.
  • Will the Glance Screen notification be the same ones we've set on the lock screen?
  • Yes
  • I really hate how the writers of WPCentral write some of these articles. It's as if they don't actually know anything. Any reasonable person writing an article talking about app folders coming with the Nokia Black Update and already on the 1520 should at least note something to the effect of, "Please note: this is a feature that requires Black, but is NOT yet available. Nokia says this functionality will be unlocked in the next couple of weeks." They talk about getting the Black Update, but fail to make it obvious that Folders aren't currently available. If they knew how to use them, they should have told us how to access them. They obviously know very few details. If you find everyone asking the same question in the comments, you probably didn't do something right.
  • If all you read is headlines life will be very confusing. 
  • He has a point cause the article still says" what's new in Lumia Black Update" and the first thing is app folder.
  • I read the entire article Sam. It does nothing to anticpate the questions that you should have known would be there. Everyone is asking the same thing. Did you not ask that same question? I totally understand why people are confused. You spent a lot of time talking about this feature being enable with the Black update. I really don't want to have to read between the lines in a news article. It isn't an editorial.
  • Sam I commend you on your patience, the surge of unhealthy b*tchiness on the part of some WPC posters these past few months is insane.
  • The headline AND article content completely misrepresent the situation.  Naturally people are going to call you out on it.  And your response is an insult?  Unbelievable.
  • Not to mention that this is the same guy that made the bogus claims that the update to the 925 was coming - still waiting for mine. Pretty shoody if you ask me.
  • Agreed, this is bullshit.
  • TLDR
  • Chill man. They did their stuff right. They make an effort to bring quality and trustworthy news on a daily basis. They can't spoonfeed you. They write articles not only headlines. Read everything properly. Smile. Be on your way.
  • I love WPCentral. But don't put an article title talking about folders and then not even have the word folder in the first paragraph. It is basic journalism 101. Oh, now it makes sense...
  • I love WPCentral but in this particular case the complaint is completely warranted. I read the whole article and was still completely confused why it seemed to be saying that folders are included with Black.
  • Why is there no info on the folders? I updated to black and gdr 3 on my at&t 1020 a couple of weeks ago but haven't seen any option to create a folder. Does anyone have any info on this?
  • Fucking thank you. Has been driving me nuts
  • I see the 920 Black update is waiting for approval on Rogers. Hopefully it won't be a long wait.
  • Yup, I saw that too. Can't wait for these updates. Updates on Lumia phones are exciting. :D
  • Might be a n00b question, but is Nokia 520 going to receive this update, too?
  • Yes it is. not a noob question. You care to question and clarify. That's a good thing.
  • Nooooo. I hate folders. They have always sucked on computers, but were there because old habit.
    Now, with touch technology and much more advanced ways of organizing based on tags, search, and grouping (as in Windows 8.1), they are completely unnecessary, and enabling developers and users to have them again is a step backwards. Argh.
  • No one forces you to use folders. I fail to see how giving more options to the user is a step backwards.
  • It's not about more options, it's about moving away from the core promise (or premise) of WP. The live tiles were not meant to be hidden behind folders. And I'm afraid that if this becomes the default way to do things, the already tepid support for live tiles will, due to laziness on both developers and users part, be even less appealing. But yes, we don't have to use it. I just hope few people do.
  • Bout dang time. Looking forward to the camera options and ability to close apps. Lumia 920
  • God.. Why'd I pick the X8 .-.
  • Cuz it looks a little too sexy? Has amazing music output on headphones and feels amazing to hold?
    Don't regret what is awesome man :)
  • I really think WPC should change the title of this article cause its not bundled with the black update maybe you need the black update when it comes out but its not bundled.
  • Not sure if I need groupes that way they look on screenshots though I have alot of tiles of different sizes on my start screen all grouped with sense, but I'm happy with those who needs them.
  • Loving Black/Update3 simply bcoz i recovered over 2GB of memory on my 1020. Next to test beamer. Tried it a few weeks ago on 1520 and loved it.
  • Well what about other WP maker? Huawei,htc,etc? will they also get that folders app?
  • No this is a nokia OEM update. Other OEMs could always imitate and follow
  • I can't see App Folders on the 1520. Anyone know?
  • 920 aka the old man at the club.
  • Arghh it says it's available for my phone and network but my phone says up to date, i'm not patient enough!
  • 920
  • My response from Nokia Care on Twitter: Nokia Care US ‏@NokiaCareUS 9s @JonHolso We're unable to comment on future releases. We'll post from here when we have more info. to share. ^GS
  • Are folders coming to the original Focus?
  • ...I hope to God you are kidding...
  • Will this let me run android apps? Hehe.
  • :P
  • Everytime I see someone alter the start screen, particularly to fit more tiles, I want to scream, "leave Britney alone!!!" in agony and despair (but about live tiles, of course).
  • Honestly I am more worried about the camera than the app folder. I am looking forward to have a natural color of pictures taken by Nokia Camera on my Lumia 920. The pictures I am having on my phone are yellowish, blurred and noisy.
  • I've been trying to be ever so patient in waiting for the Black update, but wanted to cry when I saw that my phone is one of only 3 in the entire world that will not get the update. Poor L810... T_T
  • RIP 810
  • Its been a great phone for me, but I started to get suspicious when T-Mobile never sold the Cyan charging shell. Then it all went downhill with the EOL death sentence. I held onto the hope that Nokia would still come through with updates at least until it hit 2 years...
  • They did sell the charging shells in select stores in black and cyan. Nokia teased images of red and grey, which never came out in stores IIRC, but you could find one or two on eBay. That phone is tough as nails, though.
  • Apparently we 810 users are not alone. Five phones won't get updated, showing "Not Available" in the availability pages:
    810 - T-Mobile (North America-USA)
    520 - 3 Italy (Europe-Italy)
    720 - Wind (Europe-Italy)
    720T - CMCC (Asia Pacific-China)
    925T - CMCC (Asia Pacific-China)
  • Hope it expands outwards instant of opening an app. It's unlikely but who knows?
  • custom ringtones for notifications , messages , emails and alarm ??
  • Amber
  • Really wanted the black update but nothing for t-mobile Lumia 810. I guess I will wait for the new phones with 8.1
  • I was able to install the folders app from the Samsung store onto my Nokia 920. I used the proxy trick to install it.
  • Sure is nice to be able to create a photo folder, maps, etc. Hope the 920 gets this soon though im pretty much sure I'm gonna have to change region again to get the update sometime before Christmas in Portugal.
  • For Portugal the Nokia update page says "coming soon".
  • Just saw that. Since my 920 is the unlocked version I might be surprised with an early update. Fingers crossed.
  • Nothing in Australia yet...
  • I like WP but can we all just admit this is a reflection of the failure of leadership of Joe Belifore and Terry Myerson? The fact nokia and samsung are listenging and have to work around horrible bakdoor solutions to give windows phone, a struggling platform, a feature which everybody else has had for years reflects poorly on the leadership of these two men. I recall nokia fixed the MSFT storage bug with an app that would at least clean the temp files. MSFT solution was to essentially reset your phone. this level of commitment to their customers is to be praised nokia. and this level of sheer indiference towards their biggest fans is to be a shame on you microsoft. Why these two windows phone leaders are running the show, and even IE is beyond me. I get it that Steven Sinfosky's epic failures set the ground for this group to take over...but MSFT essentially replaced the bully with the flunkies. And windows phone blue may as well be called windows phone threshold because that's when it will be out...if ever.
  • Oh take a chill pill and relax. What are the leadership failures of Joe Belfiore and Terry Myerson that you alluding too? It can't be easy developing a mobile operating system and come up against the criticsm from the outside world (including ones from yourself) and still honor some of the requests us users make an a daily basis. As with any operating system development, mobile or otherwise, some features are not a priority or more work is needed. Take the very first iPhone as a prime example it didn't launch with 3G while every other mobile platform had it for years, it simply needed more work and refinement. Of course if you think you can do a better job at leading the Windows Phone development team, i'm sure Microsoft would love to hear from you and listem to your words of wisdom on how to better lead the development team. These guys after all have years of tried and tested experience, what do you have? There were no failures from Steven Sinfosky's development team, Windows 7 is testimony to this. Windows 8 wasn't perfect but what operating system is?
  • when google released android, years behind iOS, they didn't make the same excuses you're making for the WP team. And given the task wasn't any easier, yet google delivered where MSFT hasn't, one has to wonder why microsoft should get a pass at all. WP has been in the market since 2011, and failed to catch up. You can make excuses for it but the fact remains: 2013 saw no significant movement in the WP front development, just as android and iOS did. They are facing just as hard a task, yet somehow, only WP seems to be stuck in the mud. And yes, the blame goes to the leadership. who else? and if you think Sinfosky's team didn't fail, whre is he at now? gone. all of his men except Julie Larson have left, and she was pretty much removed from windows development. Take it as you will but when the poeple most directly repsonsible for windows 8 are all working elsewhere, it says something about it NOT being remotely a success. nothing says broken more than when your OEMs fix your basic OS flaws for you because you're not listening to customers. This isn't the type of enhancment you see on android, which is often just bloat to differenciate because the OS is so complete. This is is more like plugging basic holes WP has ignored. Consider this, the WP calendar has not changed since 2001 and it still cannot display week view. And month view is so small you can't read it, or see your colored calendar appts there. Open the iOS calendar and see how much better it is and how much it has evolved. but who'd want a calendar on their phone right? The list goes on. I've owned a WP since day one. every iteration and every release. even created apps for it. And yet what I see from the WP dev team is nothing more than just inability to ship, unwillingness to listen, and failure to address even basic essential functionality the competition mastered, and double mastered what it seems like an eternety ago. so get down your horse and face reality. things aren't going well since if they were, nokia and samsung wouldn't be desperately trying to "fix" windows phone for microsoft.
  • Is this update available in India??
  • For 925 yes. 920 & 820 coming soon. Rest shall follow soon.
  • I thought the att 1020 already got black as I have it. No app folders though.
  • I have a 928, does this give me gdr3?? I came from an 8x and not being able to close apps or have customs ring tones is killing me....
  • Cool
  • Woo! Available for my 925 in New Zealand. Downloading now.
  • NZ-based 1020 with O2 firmware - done :)