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Microsoft launches Firmware Auto-Publishing for Windows 10 Mobile Insiders on March 3

Earlier today, Microsoft pushed out a new build of Windows 10 Mobile to Slow and Release Ring Insiders. Starting tomorrow, anyone enrolled in any Ring in the Insider program can begin getting new firmware automatically as long as there is firmware available for that device.

The problem before

Previously, users on any track of the Insider program would have to rollback their phone to Windows Phone 8.1 if on Windows 10 Mobile to get new firmware if it were made available.

Recently, Microsoft released a temporary workaround by pushing new firmware to the newly formed Release Ring. Instead of rolling back the OS, a user could drop down to Release/Production ring and grab the firmware then go back to the Slow or Fast Ring without having to touch the OS.

The problem with both of the above scenarios was a user would not be notified of an impending firmware update. As a solution, Microsoft announced a plan late last month that is now ready to go live.

Starting tomorrow, anyone enrolled on an Insider Ring will have to take no action to get new firmware if it becomes available.

Many phones are not getting firmware right away

To be clear, not all devices will start to get firmware tomorrow. Microsoft is simply changing the backend so that if firmware goes live for your device in your country you will not have to switch rings or roll back the OS to get it. The firmware will just be pushed.

Carriers still matter

However, firmware for carrier-supported devices like the AT&T Lumia 950 will still require carrier approval before going to your phone. What Microsoft is doing tomorrow is not a shortcut around that limitation initiated by carriers.

Any firmware that touches the radio stack often requires US carriers to validate the update first before letting it user devices. Unlocked and non-carrier branded devices do not suffer from this limitation.

Read more in our article 'Here is how Microsoft can push OS updates to Windows 10 Mobile without carriers now (and forever)'.

Older Windows Phone 8.1 devices?

Microsoft addressed older phones and their firmware status for Windows 10 Mobile back on February 25. To reiterate:

"For existing 8.1 devices, Win10 update is going to be only SW update, but in order to fix few issue, there will be FW updates for some devices which are still based on 8.1 SW before they can receive Win10 update. Right now we have not communicated what 8.1 devices will get updated and when but please have the latest SW on all your 8.1 in preparation of win 10."

As of now, there is nothing to report for older devices, but that may change in the coming weeks.

Microsoft answers questions

To head off any problems in advance Microsoft answered some questions about tomorrow's change that we'll republish below:

Q: Which devices have new firmware updates available today? Is my device on the list?

A: Please see this list: firmware variants (opens in new tab)

Q: What steps do Insiders need to take to receive this new firmware?

A: Starting tomorrow, none! As of March 3rd all Windows 10 firmware updates will be auto-published for Insiders and you will receive these updates automatically.

Q: My device had new firmware published previously, but I have not switched to the Production ring to install it. Will I need to take those steps?

A: As of tomorrow, no! We have submitted all available firmware updates for Windows 10 devices to be auto-published. This means any firmware updates that are available for Windows 10 devices will be available and not require any manual steps for Insiders to obtain.

Microsoft concludes the post with the following message:

"These changes have been several months in the making, and a big thank you goes to the Insiders for the continued feedback and suggestions that have helped guide these changes. It is our hope that this new process enables you to stay up-to-date with firmware updates while making it a simple process to receive them."

Finally, Microsoft also announced that "an additional group of firmware updates for Lumia 950 devices" although as of now the AT&T Lumia 950 is not on that list to our knowledge.

You can see the list of devices getting new firmware here (opens in new tab).

Source: Microsoft Support Forums (opens in new tab)

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

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.

226 Comments
  • They didn't add "why there're only 2 developers in windows 10 mobile department"
  • Lol
  • Lmao
  • I re-read the article to try and find that statement =/ =P
  • I am amazed at the pace new updates are coming out and new ideas are being implemented. Yes, it's unfortunate that W10M roll out has been delayed. But, it's a huge roll out process that will affect millions of phones (and so many models) around the world. It's wiser to make it right the first time than trying to speed up the process and make mistakes. If that happens, most of their efforts in the following weeks (months?) will be spent on remediation for that. I hope their development team members do not browse these forums. If I was them, I would have been demoralized after seeing these comments in spite of putting so much efforts.
  • The force is with msft.
  • Thank you, and they aren't using the force. Makay Chapulets | MTN CCR
    Posted from my Lumia 640XL running Windows 10.
  • But if still carrier approval is needed...then no one knows when the update will come, if ever.
  • Well they do have a long road in getting web devs compliant in building for edge
  • AT&T has been taking functionality from the WP. Starting with wireless charging one of the features that made the phone interesting. They seem to always keep the phone behind the Android and IOS counterparts not allowing for competition.
  • Probably because there are thousands. Posted from Windows Central for XL
  • MSFT should release it unfinished now rather than release it unfinished months later
  • Yeah, that sounds like an AWESOME idea. Just like how the community has not whined that the 950-series was released with unfinished software... Right?
  • Damn, we already got the insider program going on. We get way more updates than iDroid ever has... I think we can wait for MS to release better builds when they are ready...
    .......
    We gotta remember that without the insider program most of us would still be stuck on 8.1.. So, we don't have any room to complain about waiting..... Nevertheless, he's got a point. The world isn't watching, so if it's half bakes it won't look too bad. Posted from Windows Central for Windows10 M☹ with the best phone currently running Windows10 (152☺)
  • Have you seen the other "big" Windows fan-site? They complain about absolutely everything right now. Imagine if there was _one_ bug in the code Microsoft sends out to 75 million Windows Phones, that community would tear them apart. Sent from my Windows 10 desktop PC with the current king of the Windows 10 Mobile world laying on the same desk besides it running continuum through my Windows 10-enabled Xbox One.
  • Lol. Nice signature! Posted from Windows Central for W10M with the best phone currently running Windows10 (152☺) Arlington, TX US
  • Actually, the Windows team is one now. All development for W10 is done by the same team... The issue, or decision, might lay with how management decides to allocate resources. I'm sure members get moved around to specific task when needed....
    .....
    The thing is, as WP fans we wished they would put more of the team on mobile development.. That might not even help... Personally, I'd rather MS keep working at mobile, and make sure it's ready for new devices.. They'd be better off focusing on that alleged Surface Phone, and Marketing, at this point. Posted from Windows Central for Windows10 M☹ with the best phone currently running Windows10 (152☺)
  • 2 is rather optimistic assumption.
  • They are on the right track:-)
  • Agree, this is great news.
  • Great news for the rest of the world, but nothing here at all for US owners who will still be at the whim of US carriers.  Sure we can get the software by joining the insider program, but in many cases the experience can be awful without the corresponding firmware that corrects pre-existing hardware issues made worse by more demanding software.
  • IDK.... I haven't had a firmware update in centuries.. I doubt if it's affecting my experience.. It's half developed apps that are the problem. Posted from Windows Central for Windows10 M☹ with the best phone currently running Windows10 (152☺)
  • Well stated rapperman, as I AT&T branded 950 owner, I could not agree more...
  • As long as Redstone is tight for new devices later this year.. At this point that's what matters most.. MS really isn't trying to sell device now, so they have time to get it right... Build 2016 should give us a good idea. Posted from Windows Central for Windows10 M☹ with the best phone currently running Windows10 (152☺)
  • BUZZKILL. Get your **** together at&t.
  • so even European and Canadian carriers have to ask US carriers for approval? Posted via Universal Windows App on W10
  • Only if the phone is locked to a specific carrier. Which in Canada at the moment is exactly zero for devices that released with Win 10.
  • Blurg!  Come on, AT&T.
  • Yeah, AT&T suck.. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10, from my firmware-less AT&T 950. :-]
  • They did, but just for the iPhone! : /
  • Carriers, gift from the gods! /s
  • Thank you AT&T, (sarcasm). Posted from my boss 950
  • Awesome sauce. However there are just tooooo many variants... of the 950 and 950 XL... it's insane lol.
  • Yeah, insane number of variants. I actually thought there was something for my 735 but it works well and probably there will be something after Vodafone gets the official release
  • Is that list a joke it's only Lumia 950/xl on there
  • Yes, for now.
  • Yeah :'D
  • Very Stupid News, I thought it was for all devices that are on W10M... Im so tired of these false news and hope. Makay Chapulets | MTN CCR
    Posted from my Lumia 640XL running Windows 10.
  • Why is it stupid news? Your phone isn't a Windows 10 device now is it? Why the false hope? Posted on a L950XL with Fingers 10
  • It doesn't say windows 10 device firmware auto publishing it says windows phone.
  • Read the article then. First line. Posted on a L950XL with Fingers 10
  • " Earlier today, Microsoft pushed out a new build of Windows 10 Mobile to Slow and Release Ring Insiders. " What does that have to do with the name of the firmware tool? Windows PHONE firmware....not windows 10 device firmware
  • Look, it's not you I was responding to anyway. The tool will probably work for all WP devices but slimchap was complaining the listed devices didn't include his. Posted on a L950XL with Fingers 10
  • I think you need to go outside and step into some sunshine.
  • what about some snuggle time with my girlfriend. I bet that will do :) Posted via Universal Windows App on W10
  • You mean "your girlfriend" snuggling with others?
  • That was cold. Lol Posted from Windows Central for Windows10 M☹ with the best phone currently running Windows10 (152☺)
  • Anyone north of Texas needs sunshine, my pale little lady bug.. Posted from Windows Central for Windows10 M☹ with the best phone currently running Windows10 (152☺)
  • This is the final preliminary measure they have to take in order to start rolling out the updates to everyone. That's why this is critical.
  • "Heres a list"  *Scrolls through a list full of 950s for 2 minutes* *sigh*
  • go to bing.ca/u/92892480209234809234/the-list-that-everyone-wants.html Posted via Universal Windows App on W10
  • I scrolled the whole list. It was comical. I expected maybe 4 variants.
  • Older devices may not get anything!
  • this update on Georgia (Europe) ​will be available? Microsoft Lumia 535
  • Which one, firmware or Windows 10? The Windows 10 update is available to all devices participating in Insider Preview.
  • Windows 10 well be available for my phone?
  • My phone is 8.1
  • Want a cookie? Just kidding, that or was and still is great!
  • I would like to install windows 10
  • http://windowscentral.com/how-install-windows-10-preview-windows-phone
  • I wish MS would make their lists of stuff searchable.
  • Ctrl-F works in any browser.
  • Not on WM. Can't find Ctrl-F lol
  • Ellipsis meu -> Find on page?
  • Ellipsis --> 'Find on page' ;)
  • TIL...thanks! Posted from down vote central.
  • ... Find on page. You're welcome. Posted on a L950XL with Fingers 10
  • when in Edge, tap the ... then tap on "find on page", you're welcome and flies away.
  • What about Nokia Lumia 1520 AT&T ????
  • Its not happening bro!!! We need to start getting ready for the Surface phone. The 1520 days are up!! I can tell mine is dated. its very slow compared to other high-end phones now. Let's focus on the Surface phone, and let our 1520s become our dedicated dummy devices. Oh I do love my 1520, but its time to give it up.
  • But at least the old high end phones should be upgraded to new OS .
  • I am pretty sure the 1520 will get it at some point.
  • They had written on their official web to upgrade L1520 to windows 10 phone y not pushing firmware updates for older windows phone if they do so in near future windows phone would dead
  • Yes, but it's fading out . Eventually we have to move on. If I had my way, I would upgrade my phone's internals' and keep my 1520. I can't do that, so I'll have to move on. As time goes by, we will get less and less features due to hardware or lack of hardware. We have to let it go my friend. It's time...
  • Yes you are right a phone has maximum 3years of life , but in current situation I don't want to buy a Lumia 950xl . From where this device looks high end phone , compare the finishing of l1520 l930 . They are grace full devices but 950 disappoint me as a Nokia and Windows lover
  • So true, that's why we have to hold out for the surface phone. If the surface phone falls short, I'm going with HP's offering...
  • I agree however, if it ain't broke.. Im gonna rock the 1520 till It breaks, it still makes calls, texts, emails, battery did suffer after all these updates which is unfortunate.
  • My 1520 still run like me and I'm happy with it. This phone makes waiting for a surface phone a pleasure!
  • It does indeed... It's a pleasure to have. Now I hungry for the surface phone or Hp's device I'm loving the screen size of Hp's device too. It's close to 6 inches. That's where my 1520 spoiled me.
  • You all should take a look at the HP Elite X3 - that phone is the complete package.   hp.com  - there's a youtube video as well. If you Bing the phone name, you'll see the specs and release info.  Pretty neat stuff.   I'm getting one as soon as they're available.  
  • Yes! I saw that!! I'm in love with it. However, I have to wait to see what Microsoft is going to do with their surface phone. Once I see what they are offering, I'll make my choice then.
  • So what dies that mean for windows 8.1 users like myself? I am lost on this article.
  • Refresh the article. Microsoft addressed that issue on February 25.
  • Nothing
  • Can anyone tell me what is the build number of release preview If you download now?
  • Did you miss a couple of articles?
  • Lol +640/Win10
  • I think something made me confused. My Lumia 535 is on fast ring with build .107 now its on .122? That's what I wanna know
  • The 'Fast Ring' has changed. Fast Ring updates are now based on the Redstone branch (which is unstable), and are only available for handsets released running W10M (Lumia 950, 650...etc), those still enrolled in the Fast Ring on older devices (like your Lumia 535) will remain on build 10586.107​. To get the latest update for the Release branch (10586.122) you will need to switch to the Slow or Release Preview rings in the Insider app.  
  • Oh thank you very much my friend. Already start on my Lumias' 535 and 520. I'll keep my 640XL to 8.1 and wait for the official update I think :)
  • Best explanation to date! Wish Dan woud use more of your simple wording languge...
  • Lol. I'm sure only x50 devices will be getting firmware updates. Forget about us again Microsoft!
  • Actually, you are incorrect and Microsoft has already discussed older phones. Refresh the article to serve as a reminder. Side note: the cynicism here is making me consider to rename this site to 'Emo Windows Central'.
  • The cynicism is well placed. Windows 10 released last July for devices spanning Windows 7 and 8. It was instantly available to all devices.
    Windows Phone users on the other hand?! We are seeing release dates constantly slip for the W10 Mobile upgrade...all the while watching as Apple merrily releases updates to iOS devices at the same time for every device they sell.
    You may be happy with Microsoft's lethargy - but please don't expect the rest of us to be the same.
    (The whole UWP paradigm on phones will be dead if we don't see a whole swathe of 8.1 phones enter the W10M fold. MS has to get their sh*t together on this)
  • Sometimes Daniel's cognition makes me wonder if Microsoft has him in their back pocket. It is clear as day the callous that Microsoft shows towards it's users when it comes to windows 10 mobile yet he continues to defend them as if everything is ok. I'm a pragmatic person but this sort of behavior from Microsoft has gone on for way too long and is simply unpalatable. A resounding look of reproach to Microsoft and Daniel.
  • "Sometimes Daniel's cognition makes me wonder if Microsoft has him in their back pocket."
    Funny you say that, I'm convinced some of you are paid trolls by Google and Apple. Works both ways. Prove me wrong. And what, you say "'Im sure only x50 devices will be getting firmware updates." meanwhile Microsoft said some older devices will be getting new firmware for W10M making your statement incorrect. In fact, the AT&T Lumia 830 just got a new firmware update on Feb 25.
  • Touché.
  • Damn, you give in easy.. Stand by your word, soldier! SMDH Posted from Windows Central for Windows10 M☹ with the best phone currently running Windows10 (152☺)
  • You can get paid for trolling? Where do I sign up, I'm sure I can learn to troll like the best! Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Ignore troll dude. Actully I am thankful to microsfot for updating lumia after this many years. I know how well htc, sony,samsung and .... supports their android phone.
  • I'll get Marshmallow on my xperia z2, which originally came out with 4.4 so sony support is good. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Was this a limited release Daniel?  I haven't had an update for my ATT 830 in a long long time and just checked again after reading your post.   Mine is still saying "Your phone is up to date."
  • Purchased my L830 in Oct 2014 and basically the only update it has received was the “real” Denim, that took several months (like 5) to evolve, app updates appear to have dwindled as of late too. As for the firmware upgrades, going to predict at least another 3-4 months if at all and that is being a tad optimistic, just can’t see the carriers devoting much time on devices that are going on 1.5-2 years old especially when those out in the wild are in small quantities.
  • Dang you got me. :-)
  • "You may be happy with Microsoft's lethargy - but please don't expect the rest of us to be the same."
    No sane person would say they are happy with the status of Windows 10 Mobile or even 8.1. Neither am I, so please don't put words in my mouth. However, I think this plan to let Insiders get firmware without switching rings or rolling back in a positive step and cannot see it any other way. It's progress, which is good. Is is the progress you want? I have no idea, not my concern. I just think it's funny on the day Microsoft releases (1) a substantial cumulative update for mobile 1 day after PC (2) more firmware for the 950 is going out and (3) Their auto-publishing system goes live tomorrow and people are all moppy/suicidal is a bit hilarious.
  • MSFT is doing a great job with program insider
  • I'd have to agree... Who else does this? And, they actually do it with precision.. I gotta give it to them. Posted from Windows Central for Windows10 M☹ with the best phone currently running Windows10 (152☺)
  • Honestly, it's just human nature... All those years of MS failing to do what's necessary, and now it's hard to please people even when they finally start making moves...
    ....
    No matter what they do now, even to fans, it's not gonna be enough.. Imagine what the outside world thinks. Damn if MS is having that hard a time redeeming itself to it's fans, then how hard is it gonna be to gain the respect of others?.... Personally, it seems like MS has been giving their Mobile OS plenty of attention this year. I don't have any complaints there.. But, for long-term fans you gotta understand the frustration, and negativity, they feel for being let down so many times.
    ....
    Daniel, you should've seen that coming, and should expect it. You seem pretty upset when people have something negative to say. Pretty defensive. But, I would think you would understand why so many make the comments they do. Yeah, it's hard to hear, but that's the position you're in with being a big part of this program (WC).. Damn, I guess there need to be more patience on both sides; the fans, and yours as well... Go ahead and quote me, if you please. Lol Posted from Windows Central for Windows10 M☹ with the best phone currently running Windows10 (152☺)
  • I call your bluff.
  • So true!!! But thanks Dan and the team for keeping up the good work!
  • Lol!! The constant ******** and whining is posted on the wrong boards! I guess if people laid out for w10m devices, they will always be priority. Even more critical is the need to appease the OEM's, not previous gen devices although, give MSFT some credit, they have stated previous gen will get it.
  • What about carrier unlocked phones?
  • Whenever your OEM releases the firmware for your country variant, you get it. :)
  • It's still tied to a carrier its was branded as
  • Great job microsoft Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Instead of giving the link directly mentioning in the article that only 950 and 950XL would be receiving the firmware updates would have been much better... Got excited for no reason :/ XD
  • I'm sure you'll recover. I believe in you. You're strong, unlike the rest.
  • LOL I sense the force is with him/her :)
  • Its only for the new ones..
  • How about Unlocked Lumia 635 AT&T ?
  • Please read the section called 'Older Windows Phone 8.1 devices?' It may help.
  • This update will be available for Microsoft Lumia 535? Windows 8.1
  • Today it got a new update again. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • So nothing changes. I wish you would qualify your articles clearly in the headlines rather than having us dig into the article to find the "Oh, but not for YOU" part.  Seriously. As long as carriers have the control, firmware will never be "available" until they say so.  Words mean things.  When you use words like "available" I have expectations based on that.  When someone writes "firmware is now available for the Lumia 950", it's not nice to then place later share what ar