Skip to main content

Should you get the Preview for Windows Phone 8.1 Update? We tell you.

Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled the feature set for Windows Phone 8.1 Update. As it turns out, there are quite a few new additions to the OS refresh that make it worth getting, including those Live Folders, rapid charging, improvements to Internet Explorer rendering and more.

However, there are many questions about the Preview for Developers program and what it means for those enrolled, but who do not yet have their Lumia Cyan update. We are going to walk through a few scenarios of what to expect depending on your setup.

The current 'hold' on Lumia Cyan updates

The Preview for Developers program is little to no risk for users, even though technically it "may" void your warranty. Having said that, we are not aware of any instances of people breaking their phones or denied service.

There is one issue though that is affecting many people, and it has to do with BitLocker, an encryption system for those on corporate accounts. People who are on the Preview for Developers for 8.1 and who are eligible for the Lumia Cyan update, cannot get it right now. Microsoft put a 'hold' on the update for everyone due to those with BitLocker being at risk during the update. As a precaution, all are blocked. The only people who can get Lumia Cyan are those on Windows Phone 8.0.

Now, three things:

  1. Microsoft is going to fix this, but there is no ETA. It may even come in next week's update, but we do not yet know
  2. IF (and only if) Lumia Cyan is now available for your Lumia, you can alternatively backup your phone, downgrade the OS to 8.0, take the proper updates and Lumia Cyan, hard-reset, and restore your backup. It is easy but time consuming to restore.
  3. Even without Lumia Cyan, you can still move from 8.1 to 8.1 Update without doing anything; you will get Cyan eventually, as you cannot miss updates. Just have patience.

For most of you, what is above is all you need to know. For others who want more, let us break down these scenarios.

Scenario 1: You already have Lumia Cyan and Windows Phone 8.1 (Lumias only)

Turn on your phone, go to Settings, and scroll down until you see Extras + Info. Open that up and if it says 'Software release: Lumia Cyan' you are on the latest update. The Lumia 630, Lumia 635, and Lumia 930 all come with Lumia Cyan automatically.

If you are on Lumia Cyan right now and obviously Windows Phone 8.1, then you can enroll in the Preview for Developers program by downloading the app, accepting the terms, and enabling it. When Update 1 is available, you will be notified that there is an update, and you are good to go.

Bottom Line:

There are no issues with this scenario.

Scenario 2: You are on Windows Phone 8.0 or 8.1 but do not have Lumia Cyan (Lumias only)

Turn on your phone, go to Settings, and scroll down until you see Extras + Info. Open that up and if it says 'Software release: Lumia Black' you are on the older update.

You can still enroll and use the Preview for Developers program. The update process below is what happens to you next week, depending on where you are starting:

  • Windows Phone 8.0 > Windows Phone 8.1 (1400) > Windows Phone 8.1 Update (141x)
  • Windows Phone 8.1 (1400) > Windows Phone 8.1 Update (141x)

If you are on Windows Phone 8.0, your phone gets a few updates to get to Update 1. If you already enrolled in Preview for Developers and you have 8.1 (but not Lumia Cyan), you simply move to 8.1 Update.

Whenever Microsoft lifts the 'hold' on the Lumia Cyan software for those in the Preview Program, Lumia Cyan is downloaded an applied to your phone.

Bottom Line:

If Lumia Cyan is not yet available and you are on 8.1 Preview, just take Update 1 and wait until a fix comes along, you will be fine in the end.

Scenario 3: Non-Lumia phones and 8.1 Update

As of now, Samsung, HTC, Huawei, and other have not started their 8.1 rollout. As such, it is unknown if they too have the BitLocker problem. Regardless, now that Microsoft is aware of it you can bet the switch will not be thrown unless they know it is safe, so do not worry about it.

Since there is no ETA on those updates from Samsung, HTC and others, if you want Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 next week, just enroll on the Preview for Developers program, take the update and be happy.

Bottom Line:

If you are on 8.0 or 8.1 Preview, grab Update 1 if you want it next week. Your manufacturer or carrier can still push out the necessary firmware when they are ready. You cannot miss an update.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Definitely! Cant wait.
  • Once BETA, always BETA xD
  • Seriously, I'm sticking with preview for developers permanently, what's life without risks right :-)!
  • Well, norisk, but you do need official one for sure
  • Living on the edge I see - love that LOL! But @Theo_andravida is right, we also need Cyan for sure. But the article is very reassuring because it tell us we will get Cyan eventually when the bitlocker problem is resolved. So come on, bring out the Dev Prev Update next week! LOL!
  • I agree, I like anal sex
  • Nyaaaaan
  • xD whatever floats your boat.
  • That's what your boyfriend told me.
  • He likes getting DP all day (and I don't mean developer's preview)
  • I'm sure Lumia cyan has better camera algorithms. That's 1 reason I'd prefer cyan over dp at this time.
  • me too, but mostly because I also have a Lumia 822 in addition to my Lumia 928.  So, if something goes wrong with my 928 when i update it, it still have my 822 to fall back on (at least until i reset my 928).
  • BETA for life xD  
  • Yep. I'll stick with the developer program for the moment. It's the fastest way to receive updates
  • One week until my HTC 8S gets an OS update?!
  • I'm waiting!
  • Me too. I reset my phone last week because it was ruining slow and I lost loads of games progress including some in app purchases so I will never reset again
  • If you hard reset , you can still have app arrangement as it was before , of course if you have backed up your app and game list?
  • You should just easily be able to restore apps and IAPs, so long as you use the same Microsoft account you had before the reset. Many apps with IAPs already have a "restore purchases" button, and even if not: Just try making the same IAP again, it will be flagged as already purchased, and let you download it again for free.
  • IAP is?
  • In-App Purchase.
  • If you wait without doing the hard reset to get cyan and then the preview for 8.1 you will be happy to see that the backup system is a way better it restore everything with all your previous settings for all apps.... The backup on DP take like 12megs on Cyan iv got 96megs !!!
  • I backed up and got everything back but I lost all my game progress on a lot of games one which I have spent money on. I tried clicking on the same in app purchase but it didn't work
  • After you have installed Cyan or before ??
  • Cyan is not available for my phone yet but I have 8.1 on DP. App and settings backed up fine I just lost all my progress. Was gutted coz I never lose it when my phone updates. I lost progress for 2020 my country, harmony isle, demon defense, tiny death star, airport city and adventure town (yes I like the boring city building ones lol) I had bought credits in my country but now I have lost the progress
  • Awh ok, i was talking after Cyan and official WP 8.1 installed if you have to reset your phone for some reason you will get back nearly everything, setting apps, password, saved games...etc On DP you get only the apps you have installed and your background pictures
  • That has to do with your backup settings on 8.1. It's an OS thing, cyan has nothing to do with it.
  • I said that because the official 8.1 update is installed with Cyan update, i know that the backup thing has nothing to do with Cyan, everyone know this !!!
  • Developer Preview gives you the exact same build of 8.1 as Cyan does... Developer Preview /is/ the official version of WP8.1. OS wise: There is zero difference between someone running 8.1 from the Developer Preview and someone who got it from Cyan.
  • Actually there is a difference because the DP version update 2 OS number is 8.10.1293.890 and the official OS number is 8.10.12397.895 !!
  • Latest DP build is 8.10.124000.899, so /technically/ it's slightly newer than the build being shipped with Cyan. But it's just very tiny, very much under-the-hood optimizations and improvements. No real difference in terms of user experience, at least that are noticeable.
  • you maybe right, i just notice that the backup system is better !!! Thats all...
  • Chill out peeps. I didn't mean to start an argument. I had everything set to backup but I think that it is the app developers decision whether they program it so that the progress
  • We weren't arguing to my knowledge. I was just trying to figure out what you were getting at, because data being backed up should incur literally no change between DP and Cyan. So indeed it was likely just more app developers flipping the switch to "on" for app data backup.
  • But warranty cancelation? Gonna wait for a week i suppose..
  • The wording says "may" not that it will. It's more of a protection clause, not that they are necessarily worried. Having said that, I am not aware of anyone bricking their phones and not getting help.
  • Oh ok. I may take wp 8.1 in this week or next. Should i right then download DP and get update 1, is it recommended and safe? Or should i wait for it officially tocome out?
  • I mean, at this point just wait until it is announced and see what happens. Or you could do it now, it doesn't really matter, in the end we all end up in the same spot. Some just get their sooner than others ;)
  • Excellent article!
  • Don't forget that there is also the nokia software recovery tool that you can use if things should go wrong. it will nicely figure out the latest official software for your phone and recover it to that. A pretty painless process I underwent with a 928 that I wanted to pass onto someone without developer preview.
  • Why is it always "update" not GDR1 ? is there something we don't know ? or just naming it like that post ?
  • GDR1 is the internal name. 'Windows Phone 8.1 Update' is the public name. Note: Microsoft does not call it 'Update 1' as we do because it necessarily implies there is an 'Update 2' ;) That is a borderline announcement, so they just say 'Update' with no further promises.
  • Well, im a little confused with this and that , so ill play it safe and wait i guess.. :|
  • Kinda like Tylenol and acetaminophen
  • +1
  • :D
  • I wish it was just Windows Phone 8.1.1/8.1.2/8.1.3 it just makes more sense.
  • Actually it is, but it is called more than one ways
  • It's not.. look at the build version...
  • +822
  • I have not bricked my phone, but I will say that Nokia refused to service my phone with battery issues (which I had before 8.1) just because I was running the Dev Preview.
  • If you had issues with your battery then it was VERY dumb to not get that fixed before joining something that tells you that it might void your warranty.
  • I'm just stating my experience. I did it as I assumed the Battery Saver feature might actually help. Its not really that dumb, if I cared enough I would just use the recovery tool and get it fixed.
  • Sure, it would have been a nice plan to rty that out and if it didn't help then flash it back and ask for help. But you couldn't possibly expect them to fix the phone in less than an hour. So why even try to ask for help without even flashing it back? You story does not hold my friend.
  • True, very foolish thing to do
  • Now that we have software from Nokia to help with bricked phones, I don't feel scared living on the edge. You should link to that program as well.
  • We think alike LOL!
  • No, upgrading to WP 8.1 DP it doesn't void your warranty, cuz that is considered an official update from Microsoft. So, you are safe with that. But Daniel I have a request. We, the normal mortal users, we write so many emails asking Samsung will they support their WP8 devices like ATIV S, ATIV SE, etc... but we haven't get an answer yet, or some people get the answer but in form like "We are not aware of that ... blah blah blah". Could you guys as a respective and well know web site, ask Samsung directly will they roll out their firmware for the WP8.1 so we who are still on WP8 GDR3 to know will we get the upgrade or not? Maybe they will answer you cuz your site is well known in those circles. Thank you :)
  • Samsung, they only care about money, no appreciation in customers and on their support to help them, that is why microsoft is the future
  • Since you are not providing any evidence on that, i can only assume that u are a troll talking out of his a$$.
  • Yeah, definitely, especially when they admitted to a faulty batch of S4 batteries and provided new, free batteries to anyone afflicted over the counter, no need to send your phone away. Such money whores they are.
  • My Lumia 720 (BRAZIL) got broke and I sent it to Nokia Care, they told that warranty fix was under Nokia approval (because screen was completely cracked) and I tought that they would deny it because it was running 8.1 DP, but they approved and they are now fixing it (they're even putting a new glass screen for free!) \o/
  • Well ok, lucky you! :3
  • Even I got my phone fixed here. On warranty even though I was on dp !!
  • Well I think they wont really get too deep in your software, cuz yours was a hardware issue.
  • I sent my 8.1 do in for warranty repair, no problem.
  • DP?
  • Double penetration.
  • I had the preview update before 8.1 on my 521 when I traded it to tmobile for the 925. Nothing was said.
  • I have preview for developers and my warranty wasn't cancelled ;)
  • Why microsoft mentioning it then for start when it does not cancel warranty :(
  • They. Said "may"
  • Thanks for that
  • I don't know about others, but i definitely will
  • You know what is stupid about the hold. As WPCentral reported and as logic would dictate, the people who would actually have bit locker and be affected are a minority. So, the majority are being held back, because of the few. This would be ok and understandable if Nokia didn't have their recovery tool. Microsoft actually suggests to use this tool. So, why not let everyone who didn't have bit locker (which is the vast majority) get the update and let IT departments deal with this issue by turning off updates as a group policy or something like that? Either everyone on Preview needs to use the recovery tool to get on Update 1, or a handful who have bit locker do to fix a bricked phone.
  • Technically no one has to use the recovery tool, as people could just wait. It is unfortunate about the minority blocking the majority thing, but AFAIK there is no way to selectively block based on BitLocker enrollment alone. All the Preview program does is tell the phone's OS "Look here at this URL, not the regular one for an update".
  • But since the phones are set to work on company policies once paired with a corporate account, IT departments could just disable updates, could they not?
  • Probably, and you would think so. Microsoft is just being precautions.
  • I think this is a reaction to their target audience. Microsoft caters to corporate environments and wants to keep those businesses that use WP happy. They need that market badly to succeed in the US.
  • And I know we don't have to use it, but it's just seems knee-jerk that, since there is a solution for any phone that does get bricked to be un-bricked, it was stopped in the first place. Or at least resumed by now, even with the issue persisting (which could be patched later).
    I know it's not a huge deal, but it is a tad frustrating when there are fixes and a brick doesn't mean the end of the world.
  • Seems like the installer itself could detect BitLocker and refuse to continue. But there must be a technical reason why it doesn't, like the need to roll out a third update that everyone would have to download.
  • Yup, probably something like that! #awesomeupdate3on2015?!
  • Daniel, I need your help. I have a different problem! When I got Amber OTA I updated to gdr3 with DP then to 8.1 with DP too! Now when I go to "extras + info" it says "Amber". The black update is now available for my phone but when I check for updates it say is already up to date with Amber! Now, my volume buttons stopped working and I think it's cause this whole mess! Please what should I do! Help me! Thank you anyway!!!
  • Maybe it will work when you update to Cyan? Otherwise you might have to use the Nokia software to roll back to 8.0 which should give you black (hopefully).
  • Yeah, I'll try! Thank you Alesandro!
  • Extras+info might need updating; that could fix it to say Lumia black.
  • Thats why i never use DP
  • I had the same issue, tried to return it to 8.0, didn't work. I sent it to my carrier so they could solve it, they returned it to me running Lumia Black. It was, however, back on 8.0, but after an hour I had it on 8.1. They had no trouble with the phone running Preview for Developers or being Developer Unlocked and did it all for free, even if they said they'd charge me about 3.500 Chilean pesos (like 7 dollars). Good luck!
  • I think the bitlocker issue is a bigger one. Everything was perfect on my htc 8x until I had to activate it because of my corporate email policy and then suddenly wp8.1 update build 12400 bricked my phone. It was very strange though the update went without issues but after the first restart I got a blue screen error. I could not find a solution so far and it seems I have to go to the service center.
  • You forgot to say, "Excluding the Lumia 810"
  • +810 We don't even get Black; ours are (forever) stuck on Amber.
  • Nokia/Microsoft/TMobile needs to take responsibility and have a trade in offer or something similar for the inconveniences caused to 810 users.
  • Waiting eagerly
  • Has there been any news on the Lumia 920 getting cyan on att yet?
  • If there was news we'd share.
  • Just want sure with all the news lately if I had just managed to overlook it. Hahah. Anyway, thanks for all you guys do! Locked out of cyan anyway with dp, so its the waiting game for me! :)
  • I hope lumias 520 get it this week! Cant there anything be done to push the update? You from your position sam?
  • I was on the phone a few days ago with an AT&T support rep who said 920 is slated to get the update this month (August).
  • I don't understand why this is so hard to understand. But thanks for posting this anyways
  • Well, there are a lot of exceptions and misunderstandings. I even found it hard to write this for the 'everyday' man.
  • I have read everything on this and still can't figure out what the hell is going on.  So I'm just going to sit back and enjoy my DP and wait for the big official rollout of Update (aka Update 1, not Update 2).
  • Some users with BitLocker on their Lumias got their phones bricked by the 8.1+Cyan update. Because of this, Microsoft decided that until they solve the issue, people whose phones can get the Cyan update but are enrolled on the Preview for Developers program won't get Cyan. So, they have recommended people who want Cyan right now and whose carriers have already released this firmware update to downgrade to 8.0 before they get Cyan. But you can s