Windows Phone 8.1 finally gets speed dial, call history and more

The more we use Windows Phone 8.1, the more we discover such as the changes to our call history. For starters, we now have a Speed Dial page that sits alongside the History and Voice Mail pages. You also have the ability to pull up call details that reveal the date, time and duration of the calls.

Finally, the History page now groups calls from the same caller, based on the date, to avoid repetition. For example if Rich had called my Windows Phone four times today, the history would display “Rich Edmonds (4)” instead of four entries for those calls.

Windows Phone 8.1 Call History Pages

So how do you access all these new features?

Just tap your Phone Live Tile to pull up the History, Speed Dial and Voice Mail pages. Individual call options are accessible by tapping and holding the screen on a specific number. This will generate a pop-up menu with options to:

  • View the call details
  • Delete the number from your history
  • Add the number to your Blocked Number list
  • Add the number to your Speed Dial page

The details view will not only show you the time, date and duration of a call but it will also break down any grouped calls. You will also notice that the pop-up menu on the Voice Mail page has changed slightly to add the option to add a caller to your Speed Dial page. Just tap and hold on a voice mail entry to access that pop-up menu.

Along with the new features, the layout of the History Page has changed ever so slightly. Along with the grouping of calls from the same source, an icon is now displayed to the right of the number. This will send you to your Windows Phone contacts page where you can view information from existing contacts who call you or add a new number to your People’s Hub.

The new features that Windows Phone 8.1 brings to our call history are nice touches that should help you manage your calls easier. Let us know what you think of these changes in the comments below.

Thanks, Jorge, for the tip on the call timer!

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Good to see that calls in the history from the same person get grouped up. It didn't look good having many entries in WP8. I like this new feature added.
  • I like that you can share an app with a contact from within the dialer. Too bad it's not fleshed out enough to actually work.
  • If only I know anyone using WP to share an app with.
  • Can we search and call people using the dialer like in Nokia E series and Android
  • Nope. Not yet.
  • I use Rapidialer for that the folks who develop it are very smart and it gets better with each update. try it. ;)
  • +930
  • Getting closer to feature parity with WM 6.5 from 2009! Hey, better late than never, as they say.
  • Can you dial a number by entering the "name".  If you want to call "John", dial the name "John" by using the keypad?  That is the main feature I miss from Windows Mobile.  If not, then for me it really doesn't matter what additional features are added.
  • If someone called you few times in a row than the number indicator is displayed... 
  • Is what it said in the article.
  • The calls are grouped only if ALL of them are in a row. If another number is called or received, and then the original (grouped) number was received, it won't be added to the same group.
  • Yea... I love it :D
  • The speed dial option makes things so much easier for my parents who use a 520 & 720 respectively.. So the usability for them has increased greatly. Simple feature but very welcome. Call history also is a nice touch.
  • A dialer with cursor should have also been included....anyways...history and speed dial options are really good...
  • That's one thing I don't like about the phone changes. The phone tile clicking on phonebook would take you to people, now it is only a dialer.
  • Not sure I understand what you mean?
  • When you click phonebook, bottom center, when in the phone "app", in WP8, it took you to People, now it is just a dialer.
  • Still takes you to a list of people..?
  • It doesn't take you to the full people hub, I think is what he is trying to say.
  • Exactly, While you can dial anyone from there, you cannot modify any details about that contact. You need to go to People hub to edit contact details - one extra step :-(
  • Yea, I totally understand what you mean.   In order to edit the contacts, you must use the People Hub.  The contacts in the phone are only for calling those people.
  • I think I might like that though. Keeps me from messing up a contact or accidentally deleting it.
    I guess one thing I could really like in this setup is that I could keep people hub showing all contacts and phonebook could be setup to filter Facebook contacts out in a perfect world.
  • You want a people hub and a phonebook? Ok, but I miss the link where it used to be. That's how I got to the people hub.
  • I rather not press 5-6 times in the phone hub to make a phone call either. To me it makes more sense the way it is now in 8.1....but it's just my preference. Whatever floats your boat and finds your lost remote ya know?
  • I agree & the fact that contacts with no call info isn't there is fine with me keeps it slim if you friend any tom, dick, or harry.
  • I agree, I was so used to selecting the phone tile, then going over to groups and calling people. Now that is all in the people hub.
  • Exactly. Now if you want to open any contact, you are forced to open the People app.
  • "show my caller ID to" setting is now there!! Perfect for when, say, you want to voice verify with a casual encounter craigslist hook up, without letting her/the couple know your number.. You know, just as a hypothetical example... :P
  • Wow...way too much. Information.LMAO the people on wpc smh
  • Like I said, just a hypothetical example... ;)
  • THIS. This is my favorite comment of the day. LOL
  • I don't get the block number option on my Lumia 820!
  • Go to call+SMS filter and turn it on.
  • Is it set in your settings? under call+sms filter.
  • It's AWESOME! I think speed dial was a much needed feature, it was annoying to go through so many steps just to get to a number that you frequently dial.
  • It really wasn't all that hard to create a new group add the frequent numbers and pin it. Voice command dialing is still the fastest.
  • Will Cortana remind us of missed calls? Or can she answer calls such as in an answering machine? Manage blocking sms and calls too would be awesome in my opinion. Much like a mobile secretary, too. :)
  • LOL that'd be cool... can you imagine someone calling you and all of a sudden Cortana answers like your own personal recepionist.  That'd be cool.
  • +925 Want.
  • Wow nice idea, if only we could have Cortana take a message!
  • 'copy' is removed in quick popup. To copy a number, I have to view the contact details now :( 
  • One step forward, two steps back... Like the inability to quickly silence the phone now. :(
  • Should still silence on flip.
  • I am talking about say wanting to silence the phone when entering a meeting or a movie.
  • Volume down button does this. Flip to silence is a wasted feature that I disabled and never used when I first saw it on my HTC hd7.
  • Even if you lower the volume to zero, vibrate stays on and you have to click several additional times to turn it off.
  • When my phone rings, I press volume down and it stops ringing and vibrating. If I'm not trying to recognize the number in my head, I'll hit the lock button and it does the same thing with the added effect of not distracting me with the bouncing lock screen image.
  • If you hit a volume button on the side, hit the drop down toggle. Slide both volumes to silent and hit the vibrate toggle and you are done. Yes, more steps, but still only about 4 seconds.
  • Actually, you don't have to slide the sliders. Just tap the icons on the left side and it slides them all the way down.
  • There is a typo. Should be a space after the last letter in the name. Not Home(3). Home (3) would be better. :P Lol I'm OCD.
  • It'sokIdon'tlikespaces.There'sanOCDforeverythingIguess.
  • Awesome
  • Speed dial doesn't seem like it's much of an improvement really.  I was hoping that I could pin a "speed dial" contact number to my start but that doesn't work.  So that means at best it's at least 2 taps to dial a number...the same number of taps from 8.0!
  • Yeah, was thinking the same but I guess they wanted to avoid accidental pocket dialing?
  • That's why you have a lockscreen.
  • Sure, but not everyone locks their device first before putting it in their pocket...
  • Then fckn lock it? People these days, lol
  • I miss this feature too and the rapdialer has it, it just that you have to confirm the call. Rapdialer is what the native dialer should be. I don't get it, why not make things as simple as it can be. Even for for wifi, flight mode and other options ... toogle it with one tap ... why MS still does not listen ...
  • There's still alot off hidden features. One that I'm struggling with is why Cortana isn't able to connect to my home Wi-Fi!?
  • Change the DNS settings of your router. For time Warner cable customers we are having issues. Idk who your provider is.
  • Upsetting, because that is something I or we shouldn't be dealing with. Also my router been set up a long time ago and I only can do basic setup.
  • If you are renting the router from your internet provider, this is the other reason to buy your own. (The first is money.)
  • Actually, I got free. It is my own. Anyway, hopefully the official update will address bugs.
  • great additions but they took away the feature where i could view my a contacts detail when i go into the phone app and tapped phonebook then tap a contact, now it just rings them, before it viewed their details. so now i have to pin the people tile, i hate the people tile 
  • It dials directly only if the contact has just number. I think it is an improvement. Pin the people tile in the smallest size and its not as annoying.
  • Nope all my contacts have twitter links, and still annoying cos it takes tile space l, before it was one app that does both job now i need two app=two tiles, I'll probably get over but i don't see why they would do that
  • Tap the icon to the right of their name
  • I'm talking about in the phone book list
  • To make calling people take less steps i guess? twitter is not calling/phoning so having that in the people hub is somewhat logical.
  • I'm not say i use it for twitter but lets say i want to give someone a friends number, normally I'd tap the phone tile, tap contacts and find the name of the person then it showed me the info, now if i don't have the people tile, i have to go all the way to P in the app list
  • I hate the people tile, too.  It makes me feel like I'm some kind of stalker with all my contacts pictures on it.  I wish there was an option to have a medium size tile and not have the flippity flip tiles of your contacts on it.
  • Exactly this! I feel like a stalker
  • Love my People tile, and I wish Microsoft would let us set the photos of our choice for display on the non-WP platforms.
  • Hmm yh that would be nice i guess
  • Hi kingenu, i am asking the same question about how to see contact details without dialing first, anyone resolved it?
  • You now have to you the people app/tile
  • This is nice and all, but I'm still waiting for some kind of quick contacts thing in messaging. Like it would be nice if your favorite or recent contacts came up as a suggestion in the add contacts field when you start a text.
  • Everything about wp8 is sexy, except the new text caret (or cursor). It is sometimes difficult to control.
  • Totally this, can you guys do an article on this please, I loved the old cursor control when messaging, the new one is crap and a massive backwards step unless I'm missing some decent way to control it?? How do you scroll a message and place the cursor? It takes longer now, rather than just long holding the screen, scrolling and dropping the cursor where you wanted. Please either tell me what Im missing or make Microsoft change it back. The only negative of an incredible upgrade so far..
  • I want the old cursor too!
  • Me three!
  • Agreed. Plus inability to quickly silence the phone now. :(
  • I didn't like the last one, and I like this one even less... just give me cursor keys! You'll notice there is space at the top of the virtual keyboard Microsoft, stop wasting it!
  • Or instead just enlarge circle at the tip below to easily target when you tap it
  • I like it but it seems to make the phone hub a lot busier looking.
  • Why I can't edit the number on the keypad? So simple!
  • No smart dialing still. Wtf MS! I hate when I open the phone hub it doesn't go straight to the dialer. They need the same dialer from windows mobile
  • I use RapDaller for my smart dialling, but it can basically only acesss your phone book (not FB contacts for example). Having two handset-shaped icons has made my non WP friends roll their eyes, but what can I say - I want smart dialling in my phone!  I MS want people to move from other platforms they'll need some of the basics that they are used to.
  • I concur? Why doesn't MS have the smart dialer that shows name/number options as you type numbers?
  • I second that. I haven't yet updated my 925, waiting for Lumia Cyan, but I can say that some updates in WP8.1 are terrible! I can't understand why the hell they would remove the silence option, which is extremely handy! I can't justify why there isn't any file management system on WP. Even PDFs I tried to copy using my computer were not detected, forcing me to send it via bluetooth.
    Now the cursor problem and inability to open people hub via phone tile are other problems we need to live with.
    And in the end we get a voice assistant that is equal to other voice assistants or sometimes a little better, but only working in the US region. Add more Battery and Data drain and we are in deep ,,,, . Bring'em back MSFT
  • Can anybody tell me where are on screen buttons?
  • You won't get them if your phone has hard buttons; that's for newer phones going straight to WP8.1.
  • That's the new Nokia 630 and 636 that have on screen buttons.
  • Or if we can pin dialler on the hone screen?
  • What's the call timer?
    What I don't like with the new phone app is the call pass, it has a lot of buttons.
  • It's nice to see all these changes, but at the same time it makes me wonder how did we cope without such basic features. The good outweighing the bad, I guess. :)
  • Since I upgraded to WP8.1 my wife has started therapy 3x/wk because of all the features she can't get on her WP7.x phone. I told her a new phone would be less expensive than a shrink, but she wouldn't listen...
  • Still no direct access to the dialer. I want to tap the phone tile and go straight to the keypad or at the very least the option to do so.
  • Yes, i'd like this too!
  • Games are lagging in 620 after wp8.1 update why?
  • Reset fixes this
  • Annnnnnnnnnddddddddd, STILL NO SMART DIAL. Jesus. I give up.
  • Smart dial?
  • I think it means the auto lookup feature. In every phone besides WP, as you select numbers, the phone lists the contacts whose info matches the numbers, so you don't have to scurry to your People hub to find a contact's number. For example, if I want to call Abo's Pizza, I can press the numeric equivalent keys for A B O and Abo's will pop up for a simple click to call them.  I can't believe WP doesn't have this yet.  Speed dial is a good improvement. Now add the smart dialing!
  • It would be nice to have, but i dont see it as something high priority.  What's so hard with pressing the letter button in the contact list, and then the contact name?  That's pretty quick isntead of typing it.
  • Whaaat? It IS a high prio feature as it is just BASIC! All the basics have high prio, thats common quality management rules! And MS seems to have lost awareness of that as there is a ton of basics missing. You're not using smart dial to dial numbers you already know. Following situation: Your friends asking you if you know that number he was just called by. You're on WP. GO! You wana know if you already have a friends number in your contacts, but your not sure what name you could have saved him, or if his fb profile might have is number already. With smart dial its about 4-7 key presses to find out. Without it's a pain, if your friends got a lot of nick names.
  • Agreed this is a must have feature. I'd l like to see this coupled with a direct access to the dialing keypad. If you want a smart dialer app I suggest rap dialer
  • No call duration logs.. Work 75% done.
  • Hold down on the person and click details
  • Can't believe I missed it, I thought I searched thoroughly. Thank you good sir. I must be punished with using a Lagdroid for an hour.. Yikes..
  • Yes, slap yourself a few times. :)
  • Wp 8.1 keeps getting better although I am still waiting for the update in the Netherlands
  • There are... Read the article... Jeez... Lol
  • Now, if only at&t would stop deleting visual voicemails after 15 days...
  • At least AT&T has it... Rogers disables it, even though they freakin' support it on Android and iPhone. 
  • Yes, but there is no way to access a voicemail once they delete it. I wish they would give an option to save the voicemail. :-\
  • i tried using Swift key on the phone dial pad...dunno what i was expecting :/
  • Yeeeeeeeeees!! This is what I've been waiting for and more!!! Keep finding new features,because there's a whole lot I haven't discovered...
  • No smart dialer though. Can't get it all I guess.
  • Love how they organized the Phone Hub.  Speed dial and tap contact to call is what was needed.  If I want to edit the contacts, I use the People Hub. No complaints here!
  • Finally Microsoft learning the intersts of people. 8.1 is more than Amazing !!
  • I miss smart dialer from my HTC Touch Pro 2 days. would really like to have that as a native app in the OS. was so nice to start typing a phone number and see the list that matched what you started typing......a feature of WM6, WM6.5 and HTC
  • Can anyone explain me what the use of a speed dial is for? It is just a list of people you can call? That's all? How is that more handy than calling someone from the people hub?
  • If you call a few people often (like your family and close friends), they're all grouped together where you can find their numbers fast.
  • It was a much requested feature apparently.  It's just like lots of home phones have, a few speed dial buttons that you can assign a phone number too.  This is essentially that, a quick list of people you want to call quickly.  The contact list is already quick, so I won't have a need for this personally... but hey, people wanted it.. so they caved in.  It is good though for people who are less-techy though so when they click the phone tile it goes straight to here.
  • Facebook updates under what's new doesn't work the way it used too. Is this a glitch? Any help would be great. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Are you logged into the Facebook app?  (the non-beta version)... you need to log in to that to hook it in to the What's new section.
  • I have it connected to Facebook. I'm not getting as many updates as before. Same thing on my wife's phone. Something is different and I hope it gets back to normal. I am loving everything else. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Speed dials finally!
  • The history calls in my opinion should group up every calls of someone's, not only the calls from one day. Still has a job for the ease of access people to fix.
  • For me the way it is now seems to be more organised. To each his own, I guess...
  • Download Dialer+
    It can do the job of searching through name just like in nokia e series and android
  • Swype keyboard isnt working anymore...
    I am about to reboot the phone, thought i should mention this here
  • I gave the phone a restrat, but its still not working, Is there some setting that i might have changed??
  • That's really odd since there's not even an option for disabling this feature... I hope it doesn't happen to me, I'm loving this keyboard!!
  • All of those features are very much welcome! Smart dial should've been added too. Don't know Microsoft always has to do things half assed...
  • Found speed dial earlier today. It's for those who complained for missing recent calls in contacts hub.
  • "The History page now groups calls from the same caller, based on the date, to avoid repetition..." That was the most welcome change for me... I hated how making multiple calls to someone (especially when their number is busy or can't be connected to) piles on more entries into the call history. The grouped calls in the history just made me ecstactic! :)
  • But it can't predict who I am calling when I am typing the number. It was the feature that I was waiting for because sometimes I only know the beginning of a number and I don't want to go through my phonebook to find the number.
  • Check out dialer+, as I said already
  • The incoming call interface is very poor. Two huge buttons. Looks very bulky and ugly. The should rethink about it.
  • Sadly, my Ativ S Neo on Sprint is missing both the Voicemail tab AND the Block Number option. Of course, since Sprint doesn't support Windows Phone's visual voicemail anyways....
  •    I've been looking forward to the detailed information for a while now.
  • Question, did the volume for Visual Voicemail get fixed in 8.1? I have it on my 920 with AT&T and hate having to crank my volume up all the way just to hear my voicemails.
  • You can still silence the phone quickly by tapping the little icons next to their respective sliders. This is assuming you've hit a volume key and then expanded the volume controls. It's not the simple one tap system from 8.0 but splitting the volume controls will do that :)
  • I find the incoming call screen kind of weird too now that the text is aligned to the top instead of the bottom. It just looks weird, imo.
  • How can you see contact details from phonebook? When you tap the contact name it will initiate call immediately. What if you just want to know contact details?
  • There is a small icon where you can tap and go to the contact details.
  • Is there any way by which I can always have speed dial when I launch phone Live Tile? If not, its not speed dial :(
  • The phone app remembers what pivot you left it on so if you only ever use the speed dial pivot it will launch back into the speed dial pivot. If you switch to the history pivot though to look at a missed call and then leave the app it will launch back into the history pivot.
  • As others have said, two steps forward, three steps back, it's becoming a theme in WP 8.1. Love the call details and call grouping. Don't like the fact that simply tapping a contact dials them straight away, preferred the call icon. Still waiting for Visual Voicemail on O2 (UK) and why should something as simple and useful as call blocking be a Lumia-only feature?
  • But I observed one problem in this new dialer, I am no longer able to send texts from there. Now I have to go to the messaging app to do so. Why they downgraded something is beyond comprehension!!
  • By dialer do you mean the history pivot? I don't remember being able to text message someone from the actual dialer page (found from the app bar in Windows Phone 8 and 8.1). If you mean from the call history pivot, you can text message someone by tapping on contact card icon on the far right of the call history item. It will effectively do the same thing tapping on the name would've done in Windows Phone 8, i.e. launch the contact card.
  • it cannot save phone  
  • Anybody know anything about SmartDial, and why that is STILL MISSING from WP?!  i actually prefer to be able to type a contat's name from the dial pad vs saving them to speed dial or having to go to the people hub. You can only have so many people in speed dial.
  • New to WP 8...Coming from Android. How does sms+call filter work exactly? Does it just block without any kind of log? Looking for an app that blocks but keeps log and sms content hidden somewhere. Possible? Something like "Extreme Call Blocker" for the android folks. Tks for a little help.
  • How can you give a name to an already dialled number ???? Let's start and the beginning.  1. Start Screen - Press Phone icon;
    2. History - number is listed (let's say at the top of the list)
    3. Press and Hold number > Details, Delete or Add to Speed Dial > Details just lists what has happened there is no option to Edit the number ?! 
    Any maipulation of the number at details page and the phone dials the number - there is no option to edit from the dialling number screen, tapping 
    end call reveals no edit option either and takes you back to details page.  Anotherwords, hard to believe, there is no way to add a name to a dialled number without memorising it or writing it down and dialling in afresh !  So you must press save before you press call or you cannot add a name without redialling from scratch. I'm interested in your observations and comments.