Skip to main content

Our comprehensive Windows Phone 8.1 feature list, so far

Over the last week, there’s been a flurry of information about Windows Phone 8.1, due to be announced in only five weeks at Build. It's been overwhelming, so we’d like to direct your attention to our continually updated ‘feature list’ page for 8.1

It’s hard navigating through all the noise, so this is a one-stop, bullet point list, organized by category. Hopefully you’ll be able to get the bigger picture of what may be included in the final, release-to-manufacture (RTM) version, expected at the beginning of April.

If you're in our app, swipe right and choose View Links! Did we miss anything? We probably did, so add them to our forum’s thread, and we’ll attempt to verify and add it to the master list!

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

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.

139 Comments
  • I hope the HTC 8x gets it in June
  • Download the preview
  • Are there any chances to download the preview without beeing the SDK developer? Im from Serbia and I am not a developer :)
  • Aha,evo ti link dole i skini preview :D
    http://www.wpcentral.com/download-preview-developers-and-get-gdr3-right-now
  • E hvala puno :) apdejtovan mi je sistem na 8.0.10521.155 ali i to je samo novija verzija GDR3 apdejta koju vec imam tako da nema nikakvih promjena. Da li ima ista za 8.1 znas li mozda? :)
  • To je mali updejt kojeg sam i ja skinuo nedavno, novi 8.1 ce imati sasvim drugu cifru updejta. Negdje oko aprila bi morao doci, ne brini ;)
  • Zahvaljujem na informacijama ;)
  • HTC already confirmed it would get it. Hopefully earlier than June.
  • Its a system update so everyone can get it.
  • Now I am just waiting for 2 April patiently :)
  • Me too. Aaaagggghhhh!
  • Yeah. So patiently that it is killing me. :D
  • I wish the close app / swipe down which is added to the appswitcher will also be added to the apps themselves. I know this is used for the notification center in WP8.1 but it seems inconsistent with Windows 8.1. Eventually Windows 8 (or 9) will also need a notification center. They will come up with a different solution and the two platforms are even further away from unification.
  • Well... wait, what?
  • Sorry, what part is confusing?
  • Yes, yes, yes, let's just continue the trek to make this more like Android garbage.  I'm getting sicker by the minute with how they are systematically destroying WP.
  • To me 8.1 is a mixed blessing. I'm seeing some steps towards unification with Windows 8. But on the other hand there is this implementation of the notification center that makes further unification very hard. I'm also worried about the removal of facebook integration. I loved that feature, it sold me to WIndows Phone. Not to mention it provided me with a contact list with pictures. I hate to see it go. More Android indeed.   Btw, you might like this concept for Windows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6P-uXwG-18
  • Don't be worried. At the release of WP8.1 there will also be the Facebook Blue app. Chances are that the People hub will be opened up for app developers to integrate their app into the Hub. This means integration goes a step further and possibly will be better than with WP8.0. This can mean for example that apps like WhatsApp or Skype can integrate more deeply into the people hub. This would be absolutely awesome imo.
     
  • That sounds awesome indeed. But to what extend is this 'wishful thinking' and what do you base this on?   Believe me, I want to believe you. Although Skype are a bunch of amateurs. Their ''íntegration'' of Messanger has been a joke. They haven't been ale to integrate anything. I think WhatsApp is more likely to integrate (technically much harder) than Skype. They at least seem to care about Windows (yes, I know Skype is part of Microsoft).
  • It's already been said by WPC.. Just read the article..
  • I saw this bullet point: ''Facebook app comes with OS, updates independently, hooks into OS''   Sounds good but doesnt say anything about Skype or WhatsApp (or the option, in general, to allow other apps the same ability). Do you have a link to the full story?
  • Listen.. Nothing is official yet.. This is all we have to go by.. Even Daniel can't answer your questions 100%... You're going to have to sit back and wait like the rest of us... Patients, my friend...
    ........................
    Just remember.. If you're not planning on buying a new WP8.1 device then you're going to be waiting for mid to late Summer for this update.... That's quarter 3,,, a long time from now,, so between now and then we have a lot to learn... Even at Build MS isn't going to give us a total run down of every new feature,,, they never do.. I know it sux, but that's the reality of the situation..
  • I know, I just want to be as up to date as you guys seem to be. I've only read this bullet point but you guys are talking about a lot more. So can you share the link to the full story (even if its not official)?
  • Dude, relax.
    Will WP have a static icon grid that does nothing for the user? No
    Will WP have Google crap pre-installed? No
    Will WP have crashing apps and hangs? No
    Will WP only get one update and then nothing? No
    Will WP get fragmented? No
    Will WP have a inconsistent UI in both the Start menu and the apps? No
    Will WP have shitloads of settings spread all over the place? No
    Will WP have an ugly User Interface? No I can go on and on... So relax. Windows Phone 8.1 will rock, trust me  
  • Windows Phone 8 already has all those things. It's the bare minimum of what I'm expecting let alone what I hope to see. I know I went a bit on a rant (I just don't like Skype, not as a seperate service and not as the default chat app of my favorite platform). But can I assume that all you said is indeed based on wishful thinking? Because I really would like to share your expectations on integration of seperate services into the people hub.
  • With all the work they've done to unify Win8 and WP, they're clearly not creating this stuff in silos anymore. They'll both influence each other and MS will figure it out probably as part of Win9. Although, personally I hope they'll get some of this stuff (notification center, Cortana, etc) into Win8 sooner. 
  • Like I said, there are some hopefull signs. But at the same time the way they are implementing the notification center...   How do you imagine the Windows team will handle this?
  • you couldnt have said it much better....i also think this inconsistent UI is abig mistake and i think it will probably change to unify in wp9 or whatever the next big update will be called
  • The way I pictured it were baby steps towards Windows 9. Meaning we should see some of their work in 8.1. However the way they implemented the notification centre seems to suggest otherwise. Why implement it one way and then change it again later? How do you imagine they will 'fix' this?  Btw, for me this video demonstrates the best way to create one conssitent UI: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6P-uXwG-18
  • I just don't get why they can't find one good solution for things. Swipe down and a X? Why? Just why? This is why so many don't like windows, too many ways to doo stuff. Its so obvious they just add stud as they go, nothing seems thought through. I though MS would have learned by now, but the way Windows 8.2 (9) is heading it looks like things will get messier than ever.
  • On 8.1 I dont get it either. It could be a work-in-progress. Or they might fear that some users dont understand the X has been replaced by a swipe down.   But on Windows 8 I understand the need for two versions of input. One using swipe gestures for touch-input and one using icons for click-input. Now the swipe down gesture isnt that difficult with a mouse but its a pain with a touchpad. So for Windows 8 to be a succes they need to have the UI adapt the moment you touch the mouse to something touch friendly. But on WP I agree with you.
  • I'm reserving judgement for now, but suspect the same... hubs are being deconstructed, apps are becoming more silo'd, and the notification centre looks better suited to Android than WP... It seems MS thinks Android and iOS have defined how a smartphone must function, and WP can't afford to be too different, as anything deviating too far from the mainstream will be viewed as a weakness, independent of any actual bnefits...
  • A real shame because WP7 got a lot of praise for being different in a good way. I see no reason why they cant keep what made it unique and add what was missing. They dont have to follow Google. Between WP and WIndows 8 they have enough ideas to create one awesome OS (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6P-uXwG-18).
  • Do you mean the swipe down to close? Works great for me, imo it's the best of any tablet OS. Just swipe from off the screen on top to off the screen on the bottom.
  • Yes that's what I mean. It's one of the best input methods available today. It works great on tablets. Its intuitive and besides closing you can also use it to multitask (splitscreen). It's easy to use and easy to learn too.   What I said was that while its really good for touch, its not so suited for click-input. With a mouse its still ok. It does work although I imagine many consumers would rather simply click on 'X'. It's faster with mouse that way. I think Microsoft is right to offer this as an option. And it gets worse on touchpads. On touchpads its really hard to drag down an app and close it. I've seen many people curse at their PCs when trying to do it.   This is where the need for an adaptable UI becomes apparant. It's important that Microsoft analyses what the best/most comfortable way to interact with a computer is depending on the input method used. And then offers the best/most agreed option for each input method.
  • Or.. They can change W8.1 to a swipe down notofication/taskbar more aimed for desktop features, and make app switcher (swipe left to right from off screen) the way to close apps (hold app that's open and drag down to close app)
  • I've considered that. But do you think its intuitive to close the app you have opened at the moment by first going to the list on the left side, find the right app (that is already open) and then drag it onto the screen (again) to swipe it down? Seems a bit unintuitive to me.   And what about putting multiple apps onscreen? The beauty of the current gesture is that you can basically wrap an app down from the top of the screen, like a peace of wallpaper, and smear it to the side of the screen. And then place another app next to it. It makes total sense that it works that way.   I also don't see why Microsoft has to copy Google's notification center. There is a perfect place for it on the left side of the startscreen (on the top for Windows 8). And via swipe gestures there can be an easy way to access it (even from within apps). So its not as if it would decrease productivity. A bit like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6P-uXwG-18
  • Will the 1320 global GSM work with USA T-Mobile?
  • Will the air filter from my Hyundai fit in my wife's Dodge?
  • Pruning shears and duct tape make anything work! :)
  • This is a stupid analogy. A useful answer would be that yes, it will work with T-Mobile USA for voice and 2G data. You might even be able to get 3G/their version of 4G if you're in a refarmed area, but it looks like you'll be out of luck for LTE.
  • Well that sucks.
  • This should be in the forums. That would be a negatory on the 3G data using the typical factory unlocked model RM-994, even in refarmed areas.  Unless, of course, you can find the Latin America version, RM-995, which appears to support T-mo/ATT LTE.  I haven't seen that one anywhere.
  • Where is that list? Can't see it (using the WPCentral App)
  • Just noticed that "Go to WP 8.1 features" is clickable in the browser version
  • In our app, swipe to the right, View Links ;)
  • The links aren't available in the Android app though. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Excellent.
  • Lol
  • I lol'ed
  • They are not meant to be :P
    Posted via the WPC app for the real thing ©
  • Cyruss1989 Really? I see them just fine on my Moto X. Everything is hyperlinked that should be. May be a bug in the app, weird. It even asks if I want to open it in Chrome or the Windows Phone Central app.
  • Nothing shows on my 8x using wpc app, just loading.
  • Thanks for enlightening me during a blonde moment :)
  • I'm not patient at all :P I can't wait!!
  • Cool, just what I wanted to keep track of the continuous leak of WP 8.1 features. Awesome WPC! :)
  • What about file manager??
  • Read the list of features and you just might find your answer.
  • All great catch up features. Hopeing to get some features which are unique to WP too.
  • Those exclusive Lumia updates might have more feature.. That's why I've been writing "WP8.1-0xxxx" like WP8.0-3Black
  • Will we FINALLY get a built in timer/stopwatch so I don't have to rely on buggy 3rd party alternatives?
  • Download "Timer" from the store (it's the first option that pops up, with the hand pointing to about 11 O'clock). The countdown timer will always be off by up to about 30 seconds due to restrictions within Windows Phone, but there aren't any bugs, and the timers will sound through all background tasks, even if you close the app. The restriction is built into the OS by Microsoft, as timers can only be set to the nearest whole minute.
  • "The countdown timer will always be off by up to about 30 seconds due to restrictions within Windows Phone, but there aren't any bugs"   LOL. I'm guessing it's stuff like that which made wapoz ask...
  • He was implying that the apps were buggy, when in fact it is a design limitation or flaw with the OS itself. A bug implies some sort of bad programming by accident, but this is just bad by design straight from Microsoft. However, unless you are setting alarms down to the second (35 minutes to bake brownies, go pick up your prescription in an hour, etc.) these apps work just fine.
  • I recommend Avirall Time Suite. The dev seems to have worked around it. I think it works by reading the time from GPS which lets it run as a GPS service and update more often.
  • Seconded.
  • If thats really true, such app can suck the fully charged battery under 70-80 minutes completely down to 0. Which sounds quite a gigantic issue of such workarounds, and makes the app totally useless under such circumstances. MS should have fixed this design flaw, but we all know what will happen... not fix it.
  • I sincerely hope that the HTC 8S gets the 8.1 update...
  • MS has stated that every phone will get the update, but if HTC decides to be jerks about it and not let you have it, you can always sign up for the Developer Preview. *hint* you don't need to be a developer to sign up.
  • You mean, if I sign up for Developer Preview I will get all the features that comes with 8.1 update? This situation with HTC is making me so nervous, I really like 8S by its design, it will be shame if it not gets 8.1.
  • Yup! The Dev Preview will give you early access to the 8.1 update. The initial Dev Preview version might not be the final version of 8.1, but you'll get all of the OS updates as they come. What you WON'T get with the Dev Preview is any firmware update that HTC might want to release for your device. You're still at HTC's mercy for that.
  • Eitherway HTC haven't released any firmware update since I have the 8S so I think I won't miss anything in the future :D Thanks for the info!
  • I'm shocked to see that Microsoft don't support aliases in the mail app in WP8. I only have one microsoft account with 3 aliases and it's a pain to use with aliases. I can receive but can't reply with the same alias name i receive the mail. Whatever the alias it Always replies with the primary account. The Android app of Outlook can manage aliases. This is unbelievable! I hope Microsoft will fix this in WP 8.1.
  • Applink broken
  • Does anyone know if we will get to attach multiple documents to emails and also picture email signature
  • Stop. Please stop with the lists.
  • Adding to my list: do more lists for apocacrux. PS You don't have to click a link, read the article, read the list and then comment. May be easier to skip ;)
  • It's like I'm on PA all of the sudden... Lol❕
  • Hahaha....lists, lists everywhere.
  • How about fixing the yellowish and blurry pictures taken by the camera algorithms/firmware?
  • That's Nokia's problem, not Microsoft's (not yet anyway).
  • That's a firmware issue, meaning Nokia fixes that. It's not an 8.1 fix or feature.
  • In a little while you'll be able to blame it on MS...
  • 3 column support would be great for 1020, hoping
  • Yeah yeah yeah,I want 3 columns on my Lumia 925 too
  • +920
  • Apps for wp 8.1 wont work in 8.0.... Hmm looks developer will have had time to get apps with .appx more than presently .xap format apps... But features revelled are too good. Hope 512mb fones get all the mentioned features..finger crossed...
  • Yeah, that's kind of a pain, but at least every phone should be able to get the update. Much better than the WP7 to WP8 transition.
  • Agreed, but at the same time nokia atleast should announce new phone with 8.1 out of the box. Coz these feature will definitely be a blast to android OS for sure
  • True, but Nokia might be out of the phone game by the time 8.1 comes around...we'll have to see how that all works out.
  • And then...who's going to announce the next 41MP camera phone ?
  • Can anyone please answer of they know if we will get to attach multiple documents to emails and also picture email signature.
  • I've decided that right before I update my 1520 to WP8.1-0xxxx I'm going to completely wipe my device clean, and revert everything back to factory settings.. This update is so extensive that it can provide me with that fresh out the box experience.....
    ...........................
    Plus, I want to store all of my apps on my SD card, and I'm not sure if 8.1 is going to have a proper file manager that will let us move files back and fourth, like in WinMo... It also would be nice to clear out that pesky "other" data just to regain more storage space, and be able to monitor how WinPh8.1 handles that... IOW, my 1520 is going to be one hot piece of hardware!!
  • Nobody asked you.
  • Your mom asked me about my 6 incher, NIST... ;-)
  • Ha ha ha your turn now, Nist!
  • She was asking about your Lumia 1520 you noob. Now put your pants back on. SMH.
  • Noob... Exactly❕❕❕❕
  • nobody cares dave, i mean rodney
  • Dave❔.. Lol.
  • only fools and horses joke, don't worry about it
  • Me too, i agreed.
  • Good idea, right❔
  • Would still be awesone though if futher facebook integration would be added to the people hub. Still missing Facebook messaging and photo upload from within the app. They are the only two reasons that make me switch briefly to the Facebook beta app. So if these two features could be added all is done. No need for a Facebook beta app.
  • "Backup, if developer enabled" means "no Backup at all".
  • Probably. Just like rotation lock, which existed in WP8 prior to Update 3, but I think WPCentral app was the only one that used it.
  • Ha ve you guys noticed that the ugly and disorganised Windows Phone Settings menu seems to be staying that way. Nothing i the leaks has said anything about it. A fan mock up of this important part of the phone has been posted over at http://64bitarena.blogspot.com/2014/02/wp81-gdr1-settings-app.html  . Check it out
  • It will have changes, sort by importance, but nothing drastic. 
  • It would be nice if you could choose what to press for a screenshot. Power and volume up combo on a 920 would not be my preference.
  • Seems much more cumbersome than the current combination for sure.
  • I havent seen the "show call length in call history for my past calls" done, so I assume nobody on the planet is doing worktime management based on time spent on the phone during the day. Shame Microsoft, shame you were neglecting to develop this f****** BASIC counter.
  • Phone doesn't work in the SDK, hard to verify info.
  • So have to wait 2+ months to see it with my own eyes working / still not implemented.
     
  • I'm Really Happy about WP8.1 features but I'm Kind of disappointed that there's no core app redesign just like the W8.1 since WP core apps look awful with only White and Black. I mean look at People app,Mail app, Calander app. :(
  • You're forgetting: 1. This is a developer preview... the updated core apps are not included (at least not the latest ones) in this preview.  And even though there's a long list of leaked features already... there's still a TON more unannouced features that isn't in this preview ;) 2. There are background colours now you can choose from. 3.  Since they are apps, they can be updated faster on the fly (like Windows 8.1).  They're no longer baked into the OS, but now rather baked in 'apps'. Hope that makes you happier :-)
  • 1.  I hope you're right :) 2. didn't they say that there will be background images for start not apps? 3. this is right about the Xbox Music & Xbox Video apps but the rest like people won't be store apps :)  
  • Didn't it say somewhere that IE11 is supposed to have "InPrivate" browsing on WP8.1?
  • I am very suspicious of the "start screen backgrounds". I imagine we will not be able to use a background of our choice but select from a pre approved few.
  • Will there be search functionality in Messages? Irritating that its not possible to search for conversations.
  • I want the tiles of start screen to be a little bigger on my Lumia 925 to make the left and right side of the screen full used
  • New updates really make this phone a competitor. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Am I missing battery percentage? Or are they not including it?
  • It's there, located directly under the battery icon when you tap or swipe down from the top.
  • HTC 8x needs this update
  • Anyone know if attaching office and pdf files thru email have been addressed?
  • Will WP 8.1 update will be coming to WP 8 devices (Lumia 620)?
  • Is it true that apps will be able to disallow screenshots?
  • Pretty amazing list of added features if you ask me. Proud to be a WP user.
  • Did they fix IE11 so id knows that there is no mouse "HOVER" on and preform the first click as a hover only? its so annoying now that IE can't deal with pully menu :(
  • I have a question... if I carrier unlock my L925 will I be able to get updates without being forced to wait for T-Mo? Or is that just a pipe dream?
  • hey guys.... what about search suggestions in bing search....why bing not gives suggestions as i type....
  • I won't buy a phone without capacitive, next phone will be so much complicated.
  • Desperately waiting for 8.1 upgrade.
  • windows phone 2012 is looking nice. The way I'm starting to think of it is that this is more of a feature phone OS than a modern smart phone OS. Given the choice of handsets in WP is so limited and nokia dominated, and nokia has great cameras, windows phone should probably see more success as "windows camera 8.1". It hink it is a given MSFT will never follow the 1020. Nokia did it because they could. This device will remain top dog in cameras for quite a few years before small sensors improve enough to match the quality of the huge 1020 beast. So windows phone camera 8.1 is suddenly exiting for me. Unless of course the 1020 gets some real competition...then I'm not sure I can stick with WPC 8.1
  • Now this is impressive. Looking forward to it.
  • All of this should have been included in version 7.5! #SmartphoneBetaTest
  • Anybody know if this update will enable texting on WiFi?
  • Daniel - Do you know, or can you find out, if it is possible to attach documents or media to an existing email thread without using a link to the document? Thanks a bunch.
  • Hi brothers. How to access Facebook messaging in 8.1 update. OMG its missing
    . Please help me out