Skype for Windows Phone 8 gets updated to version 2.1

Although much has been made about Skype for Windows Phone 8, the app was late to the initial release of the OS and hasn’t seen too much in the way of updates.

That has changed today though as version is now live in the Store for downloading.

The update bumps the release from weeks ago to a slightly newer build but absent of any new features that we can find. That leads us to believe that Microsoft is probably focusing more on the performance and reliability aspects of the popular VOIP app rather than adding more “stuff” to it. That’s probably for the best as we’ve noticed a few hiccups here and there with the service, including a constant sync with Microsoft Account and services, resulting in battery drainage and other issues.

Version 2.1 does not contain a specific changelog, so we’ll have to rely on your accounts to notice anything new, including better reliability for incoming calls and smoother performance. The app is still designated as a “Preview” meaning there are still some issues and tweaks that presumably need to be worked out before the app is finalized.

Update: One change that we've noticed is Skype contacts are no longer synced to the People Hub, which is a bit of a bummer. Then again, this seemed to be a source of problems when syncing, meaning it may return later once it is worked on.

You can grab Skype for Windows Phone 8 here in the Store. Thanks, Ken C., for the tip!

QR: Skype

Daniel Rubino

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.

  • Its junk!
  • Works well for me.
  • Works well for me as well on my 920.
  • Work well for me too.
  • Works well for me too. I no longer use the Skype PC client. I have been using Skype on WP8 to call International. Sound quality is excellent.
  • I haven't had any issues with it...but I only use about once a week
  • A million mAH question: does it fix the battery consumption issue?
  • it is not draining your battery, something else.
  • You know what's funny is my battery life on my 920 has been really strong today and I just updated my Skype app. I don't wanna assume that just yet I'll give it a couple days use and see if I get consistent battery life but I've been trucking through today strong
  • Video quality is garbage...unusable in previous version. Is this fixed?
  • My video demo of it on initial release says otherwise...
  • I thought incoming video quality was horrible initially as well.  I'll give this version another shot.
  • Over what kind of connection? 2G, 3G, HSPA, HSPA+, LTE or WiFi? Which phone? Too many variables to make such a blanket statement On LTE or WiFi on a 920 it totally rocks. If you're on HSPA or less, then sorry, get better's Skype, not magic.
  • LTE on a 920.  Incoming caller was on FIOS, so doubtful it was their issue.
  • FIOS?
  • its a verizon branded data cable service
  • Its a Fiber Optic Service Network built entirely of from the ground up into your home, and not "a verizon branded data cable service". The only cables are the ones located in your home or apartment(Flat). 
  • Thanks Daniel...I would think by now they would know that.
  • Nokia Lumia 920, WiFi and the incoming video quality sucks. Don't get me wrong I am a big WP and Nokia fan, but it is what it is.
  • I I had a very substandard experience on WiFi video calling on my Ativ with my dad also on WiFi with his iPhone 4s. Both home DSL connections. Video would freeze or lag behind audio worse than a dubbed kung fu movie. This has been the case on multiple occasions. And with nothing else running on the connection. That means no computers turned on, no cable bundles, (we both had dish from a different provider than our home broadband we were using). I wasn't looking for Skype HD or anything. Just an enjoyable experience. I shouldn't need fibre optics for that...
    Important to note this was on 2.0. I've yet to receive to notification of the update being live on the Canadian marketplace.
  • Video seems pretty good on my L920
  • I Skyped someone from my 920 that was using a MacBook. My video came up incredible on their screen, vice versa it was AWFUL.
  • I'll continue to avoid until Preview comes off the title. I don't use Skype enough to offet the amount of battery it drains by being always on.
  • When idle (in the background) it uses zero battery. The app disconnects from the Skype server and your presence is maintained in the cloud. Only when an incoming call/message comes in does it reconnect and use your data. I have it on 24/7 and can't even tell that it's running, so not sure what you mean by battery consumption.
  • How is this possible? It at the very least would need to be "listening" for a new request from the cloud servers, thus taking up some amount of resources on the phone. Maybe it's miniscule, but can't be zero.
  • Push notifications, like a 0 SMS message.
  • I can confirm that I receive calls even after I close the app. However, after I close the app, my status changes to offline on my wife's Touchpad. That can be confusing.
  • Huh? You said it yourself in the article.. "..we’ve noticed a few hiccups here and there with the service, including a constant sync with Microsoft Account and services, resulting in battery drainage and other issues."
    I've noticed it as well. With Skype installed my battery is 12 hours tops. I uninstalled it and my life is better for it.
  • Me too no problems with SKype too. But no contact sync is bad
  • I dont have battery problems with my 8X with Skype
  • I want a way to stay online with push/toast notifications.
  • Under settings you can enable/disable Toast notifications for Messages or Incoming calls. That's been there since day 1.
  • Yes, but it never worked!
  • Why am I not surprised.
  • Sure it does. I use Skype daily, and I get my messages and calls just fine with toast notifications within 2 seconds or less of the same on-PC notification.
  • Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.
  • You might have to reinstall. It happens after a while for some reason.
  • It may work when the app is active in memory. I want the option to get messages and call notifications even if Skype is not running. If MS integrates this with messenger
    messaging properly I'll be quite happy.
  • True but I think they separated the settings 1) Skype Toast and 2)Messenger Toast. This used to be combined under one setting.
  • Let me clarify. If I boot my phone and don't launch Skype. I get no toast notifications for anything.
  • Running a fully up-to-date Lumia 920, but the Store tells me the app is not available for my device. Doh!
  • can you switch to the rear camera in this yet?
  • If your mobile doesn't have a front camera you could always use the back one... Or did you mean switch between two cameras?
  • Switch between front and rear. I have a 920..
  • It only allows the front camera on Windows Phone 8. It worked on Windows Phone 7, so I don't know what the problem is.
  • If somebody who had also the issues with messed up SMS, Calender, crashing e-mail etc. could give a feedback if this is fixed, I'd be greatful. Don't feel like testing it as I'm expecting an important message.
  • I just updated and it asked me If i wanted push/toast notifications while the app i closed.
  • Not going anywhere near it until I'm sure the perpetual account sync issue was resolved.
  • I'm with you on that one.
  • Yeah I HAVE TO KNOW!
  • This^
  • Does skype run in background all the time? 
    From my experience and I've tested this over and over again, it eventually turns off when i close out the app so if i were to receive a message or phone call, it doesn't come through. 
    I understand its a preview, but i thought this should be running in background constantly especially when i selected yes to allow toast notifications. 
  • Reinstall and check. Worked for me. Don't know why, but it did.
  • It works pritty well for me, My only problem with Skype is that it doesn't fully merger my accunts, for example if I go into skype I still see 2 accounts for messenger and skype but under people I only see the one ? I wich they would fix this ..
  • Agreed, but this may be more a side effect of the back end merging of Skype/WLM which isn't completely there yet I think.  I believe they said first half of 2013 would complete the process.
  • Also, would like that i dont have to enter a pin number to answer a skype call like a regular phone call.  It is an app so i know why it does, but not convienent. 
  • What about push, do it work now?
  • One thing that needs to be resolved, if it hasn't been in this release, is accepting  a call when you have multiple devices connected to skype. What happens is if I answer the call on the pc, the phone doesn't ever get notified that the call was picked up elsewhere and continues to ring.  Can anyone confirm if this has been fixed yet?
  • wait a second, I just updated to 2.1 and now I don't see skype intergraded with my contacts anymore ?
    whats up with that ..
  • Ditto.
  • Same here. :-(
  • There were some bugs where the sync process was taking forever and eating battery. So it's removed until further notice it seems. Because really, having them in your people hub is only useful if your device has enough power to work :)
  • But for those of us who got a lot of use out of having our contacts in our People hub, and didn't have a battery issue... :( *kicks can*
  • All this negativity around the Skype app is really surprising me. I haven't had a problem using it at all on my int'l Lumia 920 over WiFi or 4G networks. No battery issues and like Daniel said, I barely know it's running.
  • yes that is a issue, I know my brother has been on vacation and sometime when he is calling me on skype my computer or tablet starts ringing and not my phone by the time I get it he is gone..It would be nice to figure this one out ..
  • The consider yourself lucky. The last version got my phone stuck in a perpetual MSFT account sync, hosed messenger on the phone and anything else reliant on the MSFT account, including the People and Me hubs. I'm no the only one either - this happened to a LOT of people. Removing that version was the only way to resolve the issue and even then, it took some crafty workarounds to reset the MSFT account so it would sync properly.
  • I had the accunt sync problem but that was befoe I installed skype, and actualy resetting the phone actualy works alot better, I think there was a problem with the original image on the phone when it shipped because it never happened again
  • Whoever defends Skype are in need of serious therapy. It's a battery sucking you know what, when I'm getting calls on my desktop client the phone rings too, doesn't transfer your favorited contacts, no auto correct when IM, can't even log out meaning you have to uninstall and install again just to sign in with a different user id and yada yada. What we need is Skype integration within phone app, not some third party app.
  • New version seems to have a new option in the settings for messenger toasts :)
  • Don't get me wrong I really like Skype, I don't think Skype is a priority for windows phone or even windows 8, I don't own an Ipad but from what I hear its leaps ahead of windows. Also I thought we would of had skype on the xbox by now ...
  • MS buys Skype and can't even make it awesome on their own OS, why is almost everything working so much better on iOS?
  • I agree, I bet you one of the reasons MS bought skype was because there were not going to make anything for MS including xbox or even office. I still think there are many discruntal employees over there that just don't like MS eveny though they bought them.. I'm sure they have been swimming very slowly but its time for them to pick up the pace.. and GET OVER IT or fire the ones that are blocking everything.
  • The previous issue with email and SMS syncing has been fixed since the Portico update. I had horrible issues when I first downloaded the Beta but since Portico Skype and my Lumia 920 have been flawless. I'm on ATT LTE in Chicago. I will say that while in northern WI on Edge it didn't work at all but that is to be expected with a 2G connection. It was perfect again up there once connected to WiFi. I use Skype as my primary work number and connection their premium service has been a life saver for staying connected wherever I am.
  • I took Skype off my phone several weeks ago when text messaging  began to go haywire (couldn't send or receive texts)...I removed Skype and the problem went away. Not sure if that was the cause but I've been afraid to reinstall it...
  • I hope it actually saves your active status when you leave the app now.
  • Whatever I want 7.8
  • I'm sure that this is all good, but the Skype thing just doesn't work for me in anyway that i expect it to...
  • Still can't login with MSA on WP7, update.
  • Too bad it's not integrated with WP8. That would be a great answer to face time and messaging on iOS. Though that would probably upset the carriers. As it is now it feels nothing like a smooth part of Window 8 Mobile.
  • Can someone answer why Skype calling on a phone is necessary when it cost extra to call from the app. I could be missing something but everytime I went to make a call it wanted me to buy, but I'm already paying a cell bill why would I pay for that as well? Again could be missing something.
  • Skype calling to another Skype account is free (Uses data service).  Skype to landline number costs money because it has to route the call over a traditional telephone service for part of the path.
  • Okay so I am assuming then from the app I need the persons Skype number not there mobile number?
  • Their Skype account/name. You will most likely both need to have the app up and running on both phones at this point though as the toast notifications rarely work (stopped working for me the next day after installing and have never been able to get it working since).
  • Reinstall. It works.
  • Well I tried getting a Skype number that's not free. So I have know idea why I can't Skype my wife over our 920's. We both have Skype.
    For low cost international call. $0.01/minute to call a phone line in Canada.
    Google voice integration with Android is way better and free to call a phone line in Canada…But I need to suffer a little because I’m a windows phone 8 users  now. :(
  • Can I still log out? No? That's all right. I shall use IM+ then.
  • Tango worked better. Hope it gets updated.
  • I hope we see those other VoIP clients (Tango and Viber) using WP8's advantages for VoIP soon.
  • Be very careful with this update.
    After clearing IE cache and re-installing SEVERAL times, i've finally got notifications, lock screen support etc working again. It seems these upgrades came at the price of my battery heating up and draining very rapidly.
    Disapointed so far and I lost my contact integration from people hub. Hope it gets better...
    Just put it in the background !
  • Not updating. I'll wait and see what changes with the next update. I'd like to keep my integration with the people-hub. And as far as syncing goes, if you really need to force sync your main MSFT account, do it from the email app. That'll take care of your calendars (which is what I needed to sync asap), contacts, and email.
  • I followed your suggestion and it did not fix the issue with my contacts.  Just a heads-up for those having the same problem as I am (Skype contacts no longer appearing in People hub).
  • What's the issue with your contacts?
  • As it is for many others, my Skype contacts are no longer integrated into my People hub.
  • You mistook what i said. The problem with skype and syncing was if you force-synced your account in the account settings page of the phone. The main msft account wouldn't stop syncing. Instead of force-syncing there, you sync in the email app for that account.
    I said nothing about getting your integration back. I said that i am NOT updating my app, because i want to keep my integration. Seems you pressed update without reading into what the update entails... Quite foolish.
  • After the update, skype is no longer integrated to my using a Lumia 920...anyone else have the same issue?
  • Several people, it seems. :-(
  • It was removed in this update. They plan to bring it back in the future though.
  • It still doesn't do fast app resuming (Mango anyone) therefore it keeps my status unavailable while in the BKGND.  Still doesn't work for what I wanted with the app.
  • Can I log out now?
  • No log out for you!!  No you still have to uninstall the App jsut to log out.
  • You must be joking!!!
    I was wondering why I am still getting calls even though I had properly closed the app with the back button and disabled notifications.
    WP 7.5 = you can't stay online
    WP 8 = you can't go offline Is it really so difficult getting this right?
  • I just want to know if they finally fixed the messaging notifications on the live tile. 
  • Yup, Skype was removed from my contacts as well.
  • After updating the bloody thing intercepts messenger messages and displays them in completely messed up order after opening the app. This half-baked integration sucks donkeys, I think I'm going to uninstall this mess.
  • So what's the point of this update? Does it fix something or is just to remove the people hub integration?
  • It appears that this version removes all embedded functionality meaning you can't select Skype as a contact menthod from a person's contact card in your contact list. Also messages no longer appear in the text message section. IMs from people using Skype now appear as a notification instead of their text message string. Everything they touted when introducing WP8 as being embedded within the phone OS has been removed. Now it's just another stand alone app. I know this is still a preview but if they had to jump backward, this indicates that they must really be struggling on this program.
  • The VoIP promise made for WP8 by Microsoft is still a distant dream. I don't know what to say.
    Skype - Does not work in background for me. I've tried every option and it still disconnects as soon as I press home button.
    Tango - Not available
    Viber - Not available
    Text Me - Not available
  • For most mainstream users, Windows Phone 7 offers a better and more complete/stable experience than Windows Phone 8.  That's completely Microsoft's fault.
  • I've updated but since update, all contacts that were linked with Skype accounts has been removed.....
  • Does it work well on the 820
  • WP7 love would be, well, lovely... I'd like to log in with my Microsoft account and like at least push for messages...or like, use messenger for messages...
  • here's skype's blog post listing changes 

    A complete list of changes are below: Updated chat keyboard with improved autocomplete/autocorrect is now available. Buddies from Windows Live Messenger are labeled in the People list. Added option to enable toast notifications for Windows Live Messenger buddies. People Hub integration temporarily disabled.  
    In addition we have fixed a number of issues from the previous release: Category Description Reliablility Significantly improved the reliability of presence and chat and call notifications when the app is closed. Calling Improved call reliability. Chat In some cases, chat messages would appear in incorrect order. Chat messages will now appear in correct order, by timestamp. Localization Corrected links to some webpages.
  • Until they have fixed the sync issue (sync loop ms account, mail/text/people app crashes) I'm not touching this with a 50 ft pole. Even after a skype-uninstall the sync issue remained. I then needed to hard reset my Lumia 920, then I got stuck with rotating gears! With alot of frustration I managed to get my 920 up and running again, but what a mess that was... So no sir. No Skype for me. Make it an official release (out of preview) and I will reinstall again. But only after I get my Portico update...
  • This too^.
    Matter of fact I may not bother with Skype until/unless it's built into the OS like it was supposed to be
  • Still zero background workability on my 920. When first installed last month it worked for a couple of days but havent been able to get it to work since.
  • Never working on my HTC 8X. Crashes always after I make a call and makes my 8X totally going dark and unusable.
  • is it just 4 me or has ne1 else noticed that miss call count no longer appears on lock screen or on tile after the update.....though i must say call reliability has increased by a lot .
  • What happened to Skype being an integral part of WP8?? This is the thing I dont understand, why is it an app, why is not built into the OS like Microsoft had us believe... If Facebook, office and Xbox are built into the OS, then sure Skype should be??
  • Nobody complains about the poor WP7 Version. Why is that? It cannot be so hard to integrate at least the messaging part into the message hub! And... more importantly, keep it working in background! It's almost completely useless the way it currently is.
  • Anyone who knows if Skype can search my contacts and add those who are using Skype automatically?
    Seems like a whole days work to add manually.
  • Push Notification never work on my windows phone!!
  • Believe it or not, notifications are actually working on my L920.  Lock screen/Live tile are both working as they should.  Who knows how long it will last, though.  Why is it that on my wifes icrap it works beautifully, but on WP8 it doesn't. Ugh!
  • So yet another beta version with fewer features than the iOS client and continuing stability issues.  Yay.
    Whatever happened to "best Skype experience of any phone on release," Microsoft?  Another broken promise?
    If Microsoft cannot bother to develop a competitive (and final, stable) Skype client for its own mobile OS, that sends a bad, bad signal to other developers who might be considering WP development.
    Get it together, Redmond.
  • Skype on WP8 has been junk for me.  Frequenlty FAILS the call and takes forever.  Even when it actually does connect to try ringing the other phone, the other phone does not ring.  My girfriend and I both have a 920.  I have even asked her to open the Skype app while I try to video call her.  I know it is still a beta app, but they should get cracking on it.  I love my WP8, but Microsoft needs to get their stuff together.  My phone is worse than my HTC Arrive running WP7.5 with battery life and stability. 
    ONE CHANGE that I did notice is that calling via Skype is no longer listed under her contact information in the people hub/pinned tile. 
  • Okay so after someone suggested I reinstall the app.  I did so.  And even after reboot and without launching, I recieved a skype message via toast. :)
    But it seems that I needed to be 'online' via skype somewhere for it to work.  If I'm not 'online' I don't get messages.  But I could be wrong.
  • yes, same with me....if phone is lock