Skype for Windows Phone unable to run in the background

The long-awaited Skype app, which was unveiled at this year's MWC as beta, has an issue that will affect any user that wishes to run it in the background hoping that incoming calls would alert for user input. The Verge took a dive into the beta app only to find out that should the app not be active on a Windows Phone, any incoming calls are diverted to a voicemail service.

Skype has informed The Verge that this is a limitation due to the OS itself with how notifications are too slow, stating that it takes too long to process information, open the app, and set up the call to make it practical. Unfortunately it would appear as though the team doesn't have native access and we don't expect this to be something that'll be fixed by the gold build release.

Of course we're all still awaiting integration with the OS itself, which would render the app somewhat redundant. Hopefully native access will be provided for said integration that would allow the team to have the service run in the background. Skype integrated into Windows Phone will add to the selling points for the platform thus Microsoft will need to have an efficient solution for those who use the service.

Another kink in the system is video calling, which is only in landscape mode. What's more strange is should you swipe to the text conversation mid-call the app will then switch the portrait. This is actually something Skype made the decision on and is looking to fix.

Source: The Verge

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • This makes no sense to me at all, as Tango (the app) can run in background and use Push Notifications to alert of call. And it works beautifully.
  • Blaming the OS while the Opposition (Tango) has no problem with notification and running in the background sounds a bit fishy to me.
  • +1...Tango works great. I expected Skype to work better. Hopefully it is sorted out before the final release.
  • Looks as though there are still 2 separate companies working here; I'm sure Microsoft will not like those comments at all.
    As noted by others there are messaging apps already working with background tasks so I don't think Skype are being completely honest.
  • Yes! This needs to be fixed. Go to the WP Blog and ask for this to be fixed
  • This is still beta!
  • I don't think that means what you think it means.
  • I wonder why the notifications are slow. Speeding this up is something that would benefit every app on WP7. I'm also curious as to whether this is why the Facebook notifications are significantly slower than the iOS Facebook app's notification (which is pretty much instantaneous).
  • No, if you look at Rowi they have instant notifications. Rowi is often even faster than Tweetbot.
    There is also a video showing the Carbon developers benchmark the different OSs regaring speed, they are all equally fast.
  • Why do I have to stare at my own video stream while my friends vid is a small thumbnail? I don't use video calling to see myself! I could only make it fullscreen by deactivating my own
  • This must be some glitch, as mine is exact opposite.
  • Weird! It was a test from WP7 Skype to WP7 Skype, if that makes a difference. I'll have to try it again.
  • Do you have a front facing camera? Because I found that's what happens when I switched to the rear camera...
  • oh... that must be why, i had the same issue and my mom's flash has a ffc so she didn't have this problem lol
    should tell the skype team to either make an option to rotate it or change it out right, its just weird right now
  • Profile pictures for none of my contacts are showing up.. And I sent an IM to a friend that was "online" and he never received it even though the message shows up in my log.. I also don't see a way to delete messages or add a contact.. I understand that it is still in beta but this app definitely has a long way to go.. And no calls when the app is closed is simply unacceptable.. Especially when this can already be done with Tango...
  • I can see profile pics okay... Must be a glitch
  • Could it be that the app is only half the problem, and that they would need to implement a push system into the Skype service itself before it can work without the app running on the phone?
  • No connection but downloading windows 8 consumer preview now! :-) (on laptop to be on safe side!)
  • do you know when it will be out of beta? And when will all these bugs be fixed?
  • The press release said April.
  • I'd prefer they sort the route cause of this and speed up the notifcations!
  • Do the android and iOS versions accept calls in the background? My wife tried on her Android and it didn't seem to work. Was really hoping this would be robust given the incredibly long dev time. Major disappointment.
  • FYI: the xap file of Skype beta contains native code.
  • Unfortunately the limitations on this app render it next to useless. It's unbelievable MS can't allow this app to run in the background & access API's that others cannot. Come on MS, this is the sort of thing that really frustrates us. This is your service & should shine on WP7 instead of being the worst implemented Skype app on all platforms. This seems to be a half assed attempt to keep us happy until it is baked in to the OS. We have waited a long time for this & it is thoroughly disappointing ......Rant over!
  • Don't blame MS. This app should have the same functionality as Tango and that one  can recevie phone calls and runs in the background... Blame the devs
  • But Microsoft has the devs on payroll!
  • Skype is still a separate company legally.
  • Allowing Skype, or anyone else for that matter, access to APIs that other apps cannot use is the wrong route. Why allow Skype and not another party? I commend them for avoiding using private first-party frameworks. Hopefully in the future a more full set of APIs can be provided so that any WP app can be the next Skype, without having to ask for special access from MS. The fact that Skype is "dogfooding" the public SDK is good news for the platform.
  • I would say this is a non-issue. MS is not going to release this with such a limitiation.
  • Sick of all this mess. Always some bullshit with Microsoft and wp7.
  • "Stop Whining!" - Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Don't worry everyone. Everything will work fine. Skype is ruling the world so in April everyone will be happy.
  • Why the hell are people Bitching over a BETA? Its just that, a BETA.
  • WP7 has it wrong when it comes to background tasks.
    Having an app that can only run once every 15 min sux.
    That's not even good for an wether app.
    This things need to change for developers to make quality apps.
  • I don't think the notifications are what is slow. Its the loading of the app after receiving the push notifications. By the time you realize you have a call, it takes too long to load the app, then have the app re-notify you have a call within the app. By the time you finish that process, the caller, in many instances in tango, gives up. I think this is what the Skype team was taking into account. They need the OS to have a better multitasking system. Relaunching apps takes too long. If you try to launch an app that's supposedly already "running in the background", it still has to fully reload. You can only resume by pressing the back button. That's a big complain I have and it makes the OS seem slower in the multitasking department.
  • I thought this was a beta version..
  • Either beta or not, the full cannot fix what I stated above because it's how the OS works.
  • I just tried with a test app u r right ! App does not simply resume as I expected (as pressing back) it fully reloads, as if I tapped the app icon again. Bad design :/
    They have 2 work on speed up app load and response as soon as possible...
  • I was expecting more from it. Especially since it has taken so long to be released. Beta or not, it has too many major issues for criticism to be unjust. I am glad they finally released it though. MS and Skype would be getting even more crap if it wasn't released at MWC.
  • This limitation has been cried out by developers since 2010. MS never listened(or acted). Now they have of their own medicine. Hope this makes them open their eyes and their APIs.
  • While I concede its a beta version and look forward to the full fledged version.
    I just wonder WTF MS was doing during all this time in coming up with an app for Skype? And let me be clear, I am no more knowledgeable in app development than the dirt on my shoe. This to me just seems like that paper I used to put off doing til the morning of and turned it in half ass done, with the promise of improving it after all the professor has red penned it.
    Now, I realize apps don't necessarily have or require a due date. I much rather have them do it right than release some bushleague version. But after all this time and this is the best they could come up with for a beta?
  • Thank you.
  • dude.. its just a beta, get over it! go complain to them about it on the site they have posted for it. this is what happens when you rush and pressure them into releasing it.
  • Dude, this is a comment section for sharing your opinions. You my friend need to get used to it (since we are in the business now of telling folks what they should be getting over). You also need to understand that not every opinion shared is going to spout rainbows and butterflies over WP and MS. Also, do you have some personal or professional stake in MS/WP outside of being your OS of choice? Cause you seem to get real offended at the slightest bit of criticism. And personally, that's all it is for me: a creative OS that functions well and that I decided to take a chance on. I hope it does well. And if it doesn't, it won't be because I questioned their development of a video chat app. It will be because Microsoft didn't do enough to sell the product.
  • WP is picking up steam now in T-mobile sales but I think even they would be smart enough to not complain over a BETA.
  • To be clear tango doesn't run in the background either. Hit the start button and it ends the call.
  • Another reason why Apple is better -.-
  • For 600€ ifon should work for me, Tango is under 100€ and smokes it ;)
  • I donno about you guys but I chose this is because it's so behind. I find every update so exciting and I love being a part of watching the os grow. Its gonna all wotk out guys. They've been doing a pretty good job catching us up. :)
  • Heyy ppl is Skype available to download frm da marketplace?
  • Yesss
  • Its no longer listed in the marketplace
  • Follow the deep link still can get it deliver to your phone.