Skype and the constant syncing problem on Windows Phone 8

Ever since Windows Phone 8 came out people have rightly wanted Skype. And so they got it, albeit a preview edition which in our vernacular reads ‘beta’ and beta it is.

Previously we’ve passed on a few tips for people who have had battery issues and we can absolutely confirm one of them now: Skype. No, it doesn’t occur often in fact this was our first time with the problem ever since Skype hit the Store a few weeks ago.

The issue started when we were updating some contact info and then we force synced our Microsoft Account under Settings (hold down the account, hit Sync). Only problem was, it wouldn’t stop ...ever.

Of course we have many phones here at Windows Phone Central HQ, many tied to the same MS account and none of them, even when forced synced, were having the same problem. We tried disabling data (Airplane Mode) or toggling WiFi to no avail—as soon as data returned, the endless sync also came back.

Soft resetting with a combo of the above also did not do anything. We would have just deleted our Microsoft Account and tried again but alas, you can’t delete the master account on the phone, nor can you cancel the sync. At this point, we were considering a hard reset and with the WP8 app and settings backup (which did sync fine) we weren’t too upset with the idea, though obviously we shouldn’t have to do that.

You son of a...

Finally we remembered all the Skype reports people have sent us and we figured we’d give it a go: tap to uninstall and reboot the phone and voila, problem was 100% fixed. Force syncing our Microsoft Account worked perfectly and we were happy again. We're not confident that it was the force sync that caused the Skype issue just that it was our situation when it occurred. We have no idea what induces this, if anything at all.

Point being? Microsoft—you should really look to fixing this because we know that quite a few people are experiencing this problem and they’ll never pin it to Skype. What’s worse, a lot of you won’t even notice the constant failed syncing except for the warm phone and depleting battery.

So take this as a warning, if you’re battery life is dropping and you’re having some sync issues, check under Settings à Accounts and peep what’s going on behind the curtain. If your syncing won’t stop and you have Skype installed, try uninstalling that bad boy and soft resetting.

Remember, Skype for Windows Phone 8 is still in beta, so these things will happen.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, 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 for some reason, watches. 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.

  • Of course a beta is going to cause problems, that's why it's beta. I coulda told you that one.
  • My question(s) would be, at this point, why is it still beta, and why are they having so many problems?
  • It's still in beta because Skype considers Windows Phone a low priority. They're having so many issues because they released the beta before it was ready due to so many users complaining. It's also possibly an issue with the team being semi-unfamiliar with the SDK and the APIs. It's possible, but extremely unlikely that they're having issues with programming.
  • @Round and Round...the point. You missed it. This wasn't an article defining what a beta is, it was detailing a specific problem that many folks may experience a quick fix for it.
  • I'm super happy with my Lumia 920 and I got it cuz I'm a big fan no other reason,but wp8 still lacking a lot of things real talk ,so many apps missing ,the wifi problem, the reloading apps issue,and the live tiles updating man is been a long time lets get does things fix.
  • The reloading apps issue is because the apps probably aren't even updated for mango.
  • +1
  • Actually, you missed it largely because it is a poorly worded and poorly titled article.  Yes, it is a beta and yes betas have problems at times.  Your headline does not say Skype beta and although you pay lip service to it in the text, you also do make the comment that Microsoft "should look into this."  It is a beta - bring it to their attention so that it can be addressed in the release version.  You could also try using more accurate titles for supposed articles such as "Fixing sync problem wiith Skype beta" but that would sound less dramatic.
  • Your advice...I'm ignoring all of it just like the rest of your comments on this site.
  • Good call... stephen_az that was truly horrible advice
  • Thanks @stephen_az. He's probably going to turn off comments now.
  • If I were to be Microsoft we would have all the main apps , bro is so ease I call the dam developer ,of the most popular apps and be like how much y want to build the app a million 2 , 3 they can spend 100 million and get us all the apps
  • Not that easy. There is a reason you don't see some apps like instagram. Its not because ms isn't trying to get them.
  • Yep. Some developers have a disdain for anything Microsoft; like I have disdain for Apple products. I haven't - I won't touch an iPad unless I'm forced to: I haven't so far.
  • True but for 1 million I bet u will .
  • I will touch the iPad not buy it. Now give me my millions :-P
  • That's true!!!!!!!!
  • Happy beta testing ... Call me sour grapes, since I don't have wp8 yet.
  • Now on to the Nokia Maps problem. But seriously, when I initially set up my Comcast account, it was syncing forever and heating up the battery. I just let it sit plugged in and it finished. I'm not sure what took so long to pull down all of the messages and/or headers.
  • Had the same problem w/ Comcast orginally, but it still happens, even after I uninstalled Skype per articles instructions.
  • WP7 version will not allow login via MSA, will this be fixed/updated?
  • Thanks for reporting this!
    PS - "walla"? "Voila", surely?
  • I've noticed people saying this a lot lately, kind of getting annoying. Maybe it's just the French in me...
    On a side note, yes, I'm pretty sure they mean "Voila" instead of "walla".
  • These days often from Arabic "Wala!", which can mean something like "Wow!".
  • I use Skype with my Skype account on the phone and don't have that issue. Didn't want the built-in Messenger app and Skype to show me the same notifications so that's why I didn't login with my Microsoft account.
    Having a HTC 8X just for info.
  • Same thing I use my Skype account on Lumia 920
  • My Skype live tile and message notification is not working at all. Even after re-installing it :( I'm happy how WP8 has turned out so far, no real problems as far as I'm concerned. However, there are a few glaring issues Microsoft needs to work out. Take the Xbox Music app, it doesn't take the playlist from the Zune program. I now have to rework all those playlists by making them manually from the phone. That is to sort 500+ songs again. I actually turned off the music "Cloud" option because it became too confusing and I'll revisit that feature later instead. Don't get me started on the Windows 8 Xbox Music app and the Windows Phone tool. They are okay, but need some work.
  • Since I installed the latest Skype with MSFT Acc integration I lost the ability to see the online status of my Messenger contacts. I hope they fix it soon...
  • Btw, new Windows 8 Skype idiotic! Unless I am missing something, you can't switch user/profile without completely logging out of the computer and then logging in with the other profile... And what if say a family member or friend visits - am I supposed to create a new profile on my computer for them every time?!? Please someone tell me I an idiot and just missing something here! :D
  • No, they just login with their Microsoft account.
  • Thanks. OK... and how exactly? When I go to switch user or restart the computer all I see are the admin and my profiles. How the heck is anyone else supposed to login to the computer? Second, not everyone has a Microsoft account anyway... so MS is trying to force everyone using Skype on a Windows device, no matter if its just once or say at an internet cafe, to create a MS Account? Well played, MS, well played... :(
  • Skype was definitly the problem of my battery drainage. I had skype installes]d, and it runs al the time and you can't log out. When I unplugged my HTC 8X from the power, the battery icon was already showing 99%. I tought it was normal. But now I have uninstalled skype and it doesn't do that anymore, it stay's way longer on 100% actually. 
  • Another App causing the L920 to overheat is Relax Melodies. I hope they figure out soon what's causing this issue.
  • So are we to wait til Skype is baked into WP 8.5 or 9 for there to be minimum issues?
  • It's already baked in after the install. Of course I would wait till the issues are resolved to even bother with it.
  • So, this only happens when triggering a forced sync? I wonder if it's trying to sync Skype data to the phone, but since your presence is no longer hosted on the phone, it starts some endless loop of searching where to write to.
  • No, I have no idea what triggers it. It just started when I did that but by no means do I think it's directly causal.
  • It`s exactly what i had on my Lumia 920, but i DID the Hard Reset....Phone stucked while the Reset and i had to do this
    I fixed it on this way and waked up my dead phone !!!
  • I'm just so upset about the video quality. Its really crappy. Even doing a Skype call from an iPhone to a ipad is crappy, compared to their facetime!!
  • Might be your internet connection
  • The only issue i'm having with my lumia 920 is with xbox music. and that's more of a windows 8 issue. I have had no battery issues, no app issues, no syncing issues, no wifi issues, and no skype issues. I do find that this screen scratches far easier than my samsung focus. 
    Something that impressed m about my phone, i used the teathering and the internet connection i got with it was faster than my basic cable connection. 
  • I definitely had massive battery drain after installing Skype. I didn't do the force Sync or anything, but after I uninstalled it(I barely used it anyway), I noticed a huge improvement on my battery. I can last a day or more as opposed to 6 hours.
  • I sent in a tip earlier in the week to install/uninstall both Facebook & Skype according to Microsoft, but that was around when WP site crashed, so not sure if you ever got it. I also created a thread in the 920 section, but it only got a couple responses.
  • Another syncing problem...
    What the hell is wrong with MS and community services?
    I have had WP7 since release and Im so tired of Live Tiles not updating, Apps not syncing. I was hoping WP8 with NT kernel would solve these issues but obviously MS just cant get it together.
    I know I cant demand too much at this stage since its really earlyand there are always bugs. But there are so many bugs in WP7 that never got fixed that Im starting to lose hope in MS.
    Its time to get your shit together MS.
  • Solution: Constant Syncing issue & Apps crashing on launch and returning to start screen. Hi all, for about the last week my 920 has been having problems. Very occasionally when launching the email app from the start screen, the app would literally crash as soon as it was launched and return to the start screen. This issue has got progressively worse during the week, to the point where I'm lucky if I can launch the email app at all. For the past 2 days I've had about a 1 in 5 chance of email, people hub, or pinned contacts from actually launching without crashing. When they did launch, the apps behaved very strangely, and crashed a lot i.e. checking email items to delete would crash, scrolling would crash. In the people hub, "whats new" would not show anything.. lots of weird stuff I was considering hard resetting the phone, when I noticed that all my accounts e.g. MS, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter etc were all syncing, and not stopping at all. They'd be syncing for minutes. Even after a reboot they were syncing immediately and not completing... I remember that some people had uninstalled Skype and it fixed it for them. I tried that, but it didn't work for me. Rebooting the phone after uninstalling Skype still showed the sync issue, and my apps still crashed. I was about to hard reset my phone, when I decided to try and remove my email account. I don't have a gmail account, as I'd heard about the gmail issue, my email account if a plain old imap account. I deleted my email account, but it didn't get deleted. Rebooted, and my email account was gone, and all the remaining accounts were in the status "Not up to date". :-) I then force synced and they all synced within 10 seconds or so :-) I then re-added my imap email account, and now everything is working again. Syncing is ok, and my email, people hub, and pinned contacts are all working again. Personally I don't think Skype is the issue, as when I removed Skype it didn't fix my problem. I think there is an issue with syncing in general, as for me removing my email account fixed the problem. If anyone else has either a constant sync problem, or they find their email, people hub, or pinned contacts (oh and also picture hub because of the facebook connection) crashing when trying to launch, then try removing Skype, if that fails remove all your email accounts. Reboot and see if it is all working again. I hope Microsoft get a fix out for this ASAP. Glenn
  • Windows Mobile 9 should solve the problem, simply buy Lumia 990 and your beta experience will be over. Splash another 500. Get a brand new piece of hardware and get excited. I'll settle for Jelly Bean I guess - I don't really like batteries discharging in 6 hours...
  • This happened to me.  HTC 8X with Skype.  I didnt know it was a Skype thing, so I had to factory reset my phone.  The good thing is that the MS backup worked rather well.  It re-installed ALL my apps, contacts, and everything.  Only thing it did not restore was my home screen setup, and MP3's I downloaded.  MS needs to fix this.
  • Is that a your/you're typo in a news article? Are you kidding me? (2nd last paragraph, first sentence.)
  • Already posted this issue a while back on de Microsoft Community.
  • Lumia with WM8 - your winter doesn't have to be cold (unless your battery explodes) :-) Jelly Bean all the way!
  • My phone is stuck in a constant sync, even after uninstalling Skype and rebooting.
  • From my own observation, the problem starts occuring when you join your Skype contacts (or any other contacts via the web account management or the People App for the matter) with MSN/Hotmail (now it's called Outlook). Some sort of infinite syncing loop starts because of that contact merge when you sign in to Skype via your MSN/Hotmail account, not because of the Skype app itself. If that's the case, even uninstalling the Skype app shouldn't resolve the problem. It might, but it shouldn't..
    I'm not a Windows Phone user (yet), but believe it or not, this anomaly is also evident on my Android smartphones (SGS1 and SGS3. My SGS1 is running CM10 4.1.2, and SGS3 running stock firmware 4.1.1). I have my Hotmail account setup with Email, Contacts, and Calendar synced. Everything was running great for a couple of months, until I first join my contacts with facebook (added my facebook account) in the web account managing screen to try the new People App in Windows 8 RP (I did it via web because the app failed to add my account). After that, "Exchange Services" started showing up the my battery meter (on my Android devices) with unprecedented power consumption. It kept wake-locks on preventing the phone to go to deep sleep. The problem even got worse when I merged my Skype contacts with MSN, and now "Exchange Services" eats up my battery when my screen is turned off. It just wont stop. I disabled sync, and now rely on push-notifications for email. That solved the problem for me. Now I manually sync my hotmail contacts, but it's better than nothing.
    This leads me to believe this is a problem on the service level, not directly related to Sykpe, Windows Phone 8 or Android (or the Exchange service on Android). Windows Phone 8 probably uses syncing techniques similar to Android now (I think?), and different from that of Windows Phone 7. You know, Windows Phone 8 has better multi-tasking now, and apps can run in the background. I'm not a pro by any means, but this is what I've concluded from my observation for the last couple to three months and what I read on the web about this Windows Phone 8 problem.
    I suggest the following for those interested (those still facing the problem after unistalling Skype): Create a new Hotmail account and skype account, but don't merge them, and import your contacts to the new Hotmail account. Hard reset your Windows Phone 8 device, then use the new hotmail account as the main account. Install Skype again with the new skype account (again, DON'T MERGE ANYTHING. IE: don't sign in to skype using your new MSN/Hotmail account, not even Facebook or Twitter!). You can also re-direct your emails to the new hotmail account. With that, the problem should be solved. After that, try adding your accounts one at a time, and allow a couple to three days before you install the next and watch closely if there's a difference in battery consumption. If that works for you guys, then it's true, there's a bug at the service level, and Microsoft needs to be informed about it.
    Hope this helps. Can't wait to get my new Lumia 920 :)
  • Hmm I know when I was trying to see if connecting my google account to my microsoft account would enable GTALK in the messaging hub...  The act of linking the two accounts turned my phone in a burning syncing mess :)  I shut off the phone, unlinked the accounts and turn it back on ok.
    Skype I didn't notice a syncing problem but ever since I merged my hotmail and skype accounts, I don't have anymore toast notifications...
  • I ran into the same problem twice now. I had Skype and had the endless Syncing.. problem. Uninstalling Skype helped.
  • Not sure if someone mentions this but this fixes this same issue on a Windows 7 phone as well. Although I never did a shutdown and restart without uninstalling Skype so that may have worked. Basically I changed my Exchange password and it was stuck in this state discribed above. Anyway if someone has a 7 phone and is experincing this, this post seemed to do the trick!
  • I had this problem. The syncing not updating. So I turned off battery save and walla everything synced.
  • I had  this problem x 100. Not only was everything stuck on constant syncing but I could not longer send or receive text messages, my calendar was no longer updating or alerting me of upcoming appointments, and the live tiles would crash back to the start menu.
    Furthermore, I did not do anything to cause this. I did not force sync on any account, I did not just install Skype (it was on the phone for about a month already), and I did not even have the Skype app open. It manifested yesterday morning and the only reason I noticed it is when my phone did not alert me for my 10am appointment but was stuck showing my 8am appointment on my lock screen.
    Rebooting the phone would solve the problem temporarily. I could make the problem re-appear instantly by going to the Me tile and updating my online status to anything other than offline or by opening up my text tile and sending more than two text messages. I also rebooted the phone, left it alone, and the problem also manifested in a few minutes with it simply being idle (as far as I could tell). 
    Solution: Uninstalled Skype. Rebooted. Fixed.
    Guys, I know it doesn't make sense. I am the first to say that it shouldn't make sense. But Skype was the culprit and uninstalling it makes everything work again. Why Microsoft is not looking more into this if it's potentially causing the entire phone to not work properly and paint WP8 in a negative image is beyond me. At the very least they could pull the Skype app from their app store.
    Equipment: Nokia Lumia 920 w/ WP8
  • I know this is old but this might help somebody.  Removing skype did not solve my syncing problems, but uninstalling the twitter app and deleting my twitter account (settings / email + accounts) from my phone did solve my problem.