Start Screen Background Apps

Spice up your Windows Phone 8.1 Start Screen with OneStart

No Cyan until September

Some phones in India not getting Lumia Cyan until September

Cortana for your interests

New video shows how to add interests for Cortana

Lumia Cyan Update

Cyan going to Italy soon for the 1020?

New phone alert

All green Lumia 1520 now available from AT&T

Call me maybe

How to speed dial on Windows Phone 8.1

Cyan on AT&T

Lumia 520 and 925 on AT&T finally get Cyan and 8.1


Microsoft ends Device Hub beta, included in Lumia Cyan

How To

Want the Lumia Cyan update? You need to downgrade your phone first.

How To

Here's how to move apps to your micro SD card


Demo of the Animated Lock Screen for 8.1

Windows Phone News

Here's a sneak peek at Lock screen apps on Windows Phone 8.1

General News

Microsoft launches new training portal to get you started on Windows Phone

Windows Phone News

Lumia Cyan comes to the Lumia 925 on O2 in the U.K. and to the Lumia 625 on Ireland's Meteor

Windows Phone News

Long awaited Lock screen app for Windows Phone 8.1 almost ready for public beta

Windows Phone News

Microsoft releases helpful video to get you started with Cortana


Microsoft's aiming for flagship Windows Phones, killing Nokia X but selling MixRadio

Windows Phone News

O2 UK shares details on the Windows Phone 8.1 update, teases visual voicemail

Windows Phone News

Preview for Developers users need to rollback for Cyan

Windows Phone News

Cortana showing a stock chart is a nice touch on Windows Phone 8.1


What are our favorite Windows Phone 8.1 features?

Windows Phone 8.1

Enjoying the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers? We're sure you all are. We can see there are numerous discussions underway as to what are your favorite Windows Phone 8.1 features. Whether you're a Cortana fan or simply worship Joe Belfiore for adding in the Notification Center (better late than never), there's a lot in this preview release.

In this roundup, we'll be running you through some of our favorites, just in case you're wanting to know what the Windows Phone Central team likes most on their smartphones. Head past the break to see our favorites.

Daniel Rubino

"My favorite feature of Windows Phone 8.1 would be the Action and Notification Center. Sure, Cortana is fantastic, but I find myself using the Action and Notification center nearly all the time. It’s what I do now when I turn on my phone and I really appreciate the ‘overview’ of my digital life that it presents."

Windows Phone 8.1

Sam Sabri

"Can I say everything? That’s probably cheating, but it’s really true. Of course Cortana is my favorite feature, because there’s just so much potential with her. I can probably do an entire blog post on why Cortana is the future of computer interaction with Microsoft and I probably will do that soon.

Instead I’ll take this moment to highlight another feature that won’t get a lot of attention, but one that I’ll use all the time. In Internet Explorer 11 there’s now support for an unlimited number of tabs! Plus IE11 also syncs your tabs, bookmarks and more! I use the browser on my phone all the time, it’s probably my most used app. That’s why I can’t wait to take advantage of those features in IE11."

Windows Phone 8.1

George Ponder

"Where do you begin in picking out your favorite Windows Phone 8.1 features? For me, I’d have to center my favorites around those that deal with photography (plus I’ll throw in one non-photography feature for good measure).

I really like the quick settings buttons on the new Camera app. I never liked digging through the settings menu to change a scene and having these buttons available may sway me from Nokia’s Camera app. The other photography feature is the Start Screen background. It is a fantastic way to set your Windows Phone apart from others and showcase your photos.

Now for the non-photography feature it would have to be the Notification Center. Too many times have I missed a notification before it slid away, never to be seen again. It drove me crazy not to be able to figure out what notification I had missed. The Windows Phone 8.1 Notification Center will definitely help keep me sane."

Windows Phone 8.1

Rich Edmonds

"Wow. Just wow. Windows Phone 8.1 makes me feel like the first time I held a Windows Phone. I'm intrigued. Like many, I was desperately seeking a central location for all my notifications to be stored. What we've been provided in Windows Phone 8.1 is a superb solution to the familiar issue across all mobile platforms. While the implementation is similar to other operating systems, I think Microsoft nailed it with functionality and keeping to the Modern UI with the Notification Center.

Then again, it's difficult to choose a favourite. Don't get me started on the Word Flow Keyboard! I really rate this update."

Windows Phone 8.1

Mark Guim

"My favorite Windows Phone 8.1 feature is the action center. It gives me quick access to settings that are important to me. I currently have Wi-Fi, Rotation Lock, Bluetooth, and Screen Brightness there. I’m curious what you have for your phone."

Windows Phone 8.1

Paul Acevedo

"My favorite feature is the one I've been lobbying for since I got my first Windows Phone 7 handset: independent volume control! As an avid gamer, there's nothing more annoying than having to turn my phone's volume down for a game and then missing a call because I forgot to turn it back up later. So glad Windows Phone now has this basic and super important feature. Can't wait to play some more games on Windows Phone 8.1!"

Windows Phone 8.1

Michael Archambault

"After installing the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer’s Preview onto my Nokia Lumia 1520, it did not take long to figure out my favorite feature – Cortana. Since the moment Apple released Siri, I have had my desires on a quirky voice assistant for Microsoft’s mobile platform, and the wait has truly paid off. Cortana is a beautiful combination of Siri’s intelligence and Google Now’s intuition. Anyone who has been waiting for an artificial intelligence companion with a plethora of features will find it within Cortana."

Windows Phone 8.1

Abhishek Baxi

"I would've liked to say Cortana, but since it will be a while before she joins me here in India, I'd skip it.

One, I quite like the Skype integration. I frequently use Skype for calling Skype contacts, and when I'm travelling abroad, I call up family and work via Skype to save up on international roaming.

Second, I like the evolution of syncing with Microsoft account. The Accent colour picked on phone syncs to my Surface and so do the IE11 bookmarks and tabs. These are nifty, but very important features."

There you have it, folks. Are you surprised by some of our choices? Share your own thoughts in the comments.

Further Windows Phone 8.1 Reading:



There are 312 comments. Sign in to comment

monigal2 says:

The customizing the start screen

tkdmacgeek says:

hi I have a question... I own a mac and use a Nokia Lumia 1020... Am I able to register my lumia for developer access to test out the 8.1 dev beta that is out right now?

tkdmacgeek says:

How do I do this?  Sorry I am new to Lumia and this OS  CNet is saying mac users can't do this.... :(

Sam Sabri says:

Do not listen to cnet... Listen to us :)

tkdmacgeek says:

Sure thing Sam!  You and Daniel Rubino are the bomb!

rodneyej says:

Of course.. The update is between MS, and your device... The process doesn't have anything to do with your computer.. You don't even use your computer.. Everything can be done right from the device, while you're at Starbucks...

tkdmacgeek says:

How do I do this?  Sorry I am new to Lumia and this OS

rodneyej says:

Wait a min...
Everything you could possibly need to know is right here.....

rodneyej says:

What device do you have???

NIST says:

Heehee you called Rodney "bro"

rodneyej says:

Whatch tryna say NIST???
Look➡♋ ... That woks now.. Lol!

NIST says:

Really Rodney? A 69 with an arrow? What are YOU trying to say?

Moises N G says:

You can do that, easily. I have a NL 1020 to and a MacBook Air. As they posted above, you just need to follow the instruction from WP Central, and it have nothing with you computer, it is between MS and you device.

Yeah man!! Just sign up for a developer account as if you were using microsofts app studio! No need to install anything its all internet based so you're sweet to go!

Also you can sync music photos and all of that through iTunes! Microsoft was pretty clever on it! Don't like iTunes? Just plg it in and Mac will recognize it as an external storage device! All files, folders, music will be accessible through there! 

tkdmacgeek says:

Thanks everyone!  You guys are much cooler and nicer than those Apple support people!!

Rubenidas says:

You will have to download 1 app: "Preview for Developers". It's really simple, just create a App Studio account and then go to this app i mentioned and sign in. Then you should be able to go to your phones settings under "Phone Updates" and click the "check for updates" button. Just download and install and you are good to go! 

rodneyej says:

Ignore NIST... Lol..
1020?. Awesome.. I have a 1520, and a 920.. I swear, the three columns look absolutely amazing on a 4.5" screen.. I hope that MS, and carriers, decide to use that as the default configuration on store shelves. With the background, and smaller tiles, the WP8.1 start screen looks much more serious, and cooler, on 4.5" devices... You're going to love that option❕

tkdmacgeek says:

I downloaded the update, but after the first time it said there was another update and installed (looked like the same thing as before), and it says I have another update again.  Is that normal?

rodneyej says:

Yes❕ .. Most definitely... The first one is to configure the device for the second one... Weird, I know.. But, this is typical of WP updates.. Do the second one and you're rockin baby❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕❕

Dexterrino says:

Yeah thats normal, dont forget to set region and language into US if you want to try out cortana.

on a side note , what 1020 color did you get?

tkdmacgeek says:

Cool thanks!  I got the yellow 1020.  Thought it looks the best!  How do I make 3 rows of apps on my start screen?

Rubenidas says:

Settings> Start+Theme> scroll down to "Show More Tiles" and turn it ON. :) 


Welcome to WP 8.1!! 

tkdmacgeek says:

Thank you!  I'm diggin' this 8.1 preview!!

dhruv07 says:

Yep the beautiful start screen makes d appearnce more elegant
Den the notification center but want a bit edit in WiFi option want em to make it a time of 2sec when we touch the WiFi button to open up wifimenu . Nd simply it should be on/off on press
Same with Bluetooth too only to add the 2sec option
Dis will make actioncenter more useful :)

Suhasa Su says:

It doesn't switch off when you toggle again because you may look for another network or change some settings. It's fine.
Source: Reddit

shadow118 says:

Also Notification centre and the ability to install Apps on the memory card

sph0308 says:

Swype for me and third row of tiles on the start screen

I am surprised how quickly I fell in love with that feature actually. But the keyboard swiping is my absolute favorite new feature.

+820 the accuracy made my friend with a new Moto G real jealous! I told him to wait for 8.1 before settling on anything.

benlee78 says:

Me too. I had been very reluctant to use this feature (especially after being burned on my cheap Android phone in the past). But I used the Swype keyboard on my 521 last night to write an e-mail, and it was SURPRISINGLY useful! I might actually start "typing" with this feature from now on.


Also, forced myself to utilize the extra tiles, and I'm liking them quite a bit too. The font is very difficult to read on the Calendar, but the notifications are fine and all tiles are easy to click on.

vkelkar says:

8.5 will have default messaging app selection...... Actionable notifications and live tiles....:D

I would like to have the possibility to enable the Wifi at a certain time. So I don't have to turn it on when I wake up! Would be great if MS add this feature

halfpast5 says:

I'm waiting for their Geofencing to work properly - who needs certain time when I'm in an area, turn my Wifi On, turn my Bluetooth Off.


NFC even when trusted, still can't turn BT or Wifi off yet. So can't even do that when I walk in and out of my house.

RyanAMG says:

You can have it turn on when at your favorite places. It would be nice if it turned off automatically when leaving favorite places.

I wish instead of the geofencing working with my location data, it could work when I make it to certain wifi hotspots. Like,when I get home, it sees my wifi,and gives me my reminder.

powerd says:

I think, you can ask Cortana to switch on WiFi at a certain time. Try it.

Jaskys says:

Android style lagging

rubenbest says:

Lol done parts are kinda lady but I'm guessing it's a bug or something

rodneyej says:

Lol!!!.... We're still technically in beta..

terencechan says:

No. This is probably the build that carrier roll out their phone with.

RyanAMG says:

People have stated that factory default fixed lag. I'm planning on doing this today.

rodneyej says:

True.. But, remember that update that came just after WP8.0 was released 6 years ago❔.. I'm hoping that MS has one in the works for 8.1... But, you're right this has RTMed....... But,,,,, Storyteller was released to the public as beta, also instagram, and it looks like Cortana will be as well...... The reality is that WP is the real "Beta test"... Lol!!!
I wonder if some of our issues could come from not having the most optimized firmware for our specific devices running WP8.1... ???

My guess, a factory reset clears out the 8.0 junk which somehow didn't get cleared out my the update. Its a big big update, maybe the in update method wasn't that efficient, and it needed to clear out the junk before releasing its full potential ?

Studio384 says:

Nop, Joe Belfiore has confirmed that the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers isn't the final build, sure, it will be used on phones that go on retail, but we're going to see another (big) bugfix release.

rodneyej says:

Yeah, I'm thinking we'll see a update very soon..

rodneyej says:

And, maybe when those customers boot up their devices for the first time there will be a message saying that a update is ready for there new device...

Jaskys says:

This is RTM, it's already passed out to OEMs and getting shafted into new phones

MS wouldn't be so stupid to make a "beta" widely available, beta is usually full of bugs and unfinished parts of the OS with placeholders, this as MS mention is RTM, not a beta. So get your shit together.

Ofcourse lag is here just because of lack of proper drivers, im pretty sure Nokia already has them ready and just waits for "official" 8.1 release, however im not sure about Samsung/HTC, they might stay with slight amount of lag if they won't support it

rodneyej says:

They're releasing Cortana as Beta though... The reality, whether it's called beta, or not, is that MS had to get to get this OS out the door before some things were completed.. That's quite obvious to see,, even for someone who doesn't have their shit together... Lol!!

terencechan says:

The bugs are too obvious! Where is the quality control?!?!

rodneyej says:

Microsoft is very aware of everything going on with all of their OS's.. Trust me, they know.. It's just all about having release dates, and meetings goals for RTM.. If they waited to release updates until they were perfect then we would never get them,, because no software is perfect...
We've been playing with WP8.1 for a week, they've been designing it for years.. They know!!!... Lol.. Think about it...
Nevertheless, look at he quality of Android... Now, I think MS has done a acceptable job..

NIST says:

Yes, trust Rodney.

rodneyej says:

NIST... No Insurance Some Times❔

netstatinfo says:

This is not the rtm build, rtm build has the usb setting and other features that were left out from dev preview, MS never releases beta/previews with all features announced, its been like that since way back in the days.  Trust me as a MSDN former technet subscriber.

rodneyej says:

Now, I didn't think of that.. Good point.. So, theirs hope yet?

Duduosf says:

Mine seldom lags... If ever!

Sergio0694 says:

I have to say IE11. It's not the best thing of WP8.1, but at least now I can use it without problems: IE10 on WP8.0 used to crash every single time I opened it ahahahah
I had to switch to UC Browser until WP8.1 was released.
Other than that, the swipe keyboard, the notification center and the three-columns toggle are the best features imho :)

DreadVenom says:

Agreed with all you said except ie10 issues as mine never crashed. The feature I love most about ie11 is the page pre load also the swipe navigation.

erzhik says:

Independent volume control is by far my most used feature.

Studio384 says:

To me, it's only annoying.

Why? As Paul says for some of us gamers, one of the real annoyances was having to turn the volume down for everything in crowded places or where it was important to be quiet. Only to forget to turn it back up and have 30 missed calls from your wife. LOL I'm pretty sure this applies to non gamers as well.

link68759 says:

It'll take time to get used to. When thought I'd turned my volume down and start a game, I quickly find out that the other volume is still 30/30

Jupast says:

Yup, exactly.

What they should have is a small Link icon between the Sliders that can be toggled on or off, so they stay at the same relative levels if the User so chooses.

apocacrux says:

I find it annoying as well. I never had an issue with forgetting call volumes and in fact I would usually just turn the in-game volume down as opposed to the system volume. So, now its more of an issues because I have to be aware of what I'm about to do and alter that volume level specifically.

I like the new independent volume control, but whish the guys will take it one step further, by giving each app a volume control. Even if it is just the messaging apps... I want my notifications to be subtle but ringtone load.

I like the new independent volume control, but whish the guys will take it one step further, by giving each app a volume control. Even if it is just the messaging apps... I want my notifications to be subtle but ringtone load.

As seen with Blackbarry

danielgray says:

I still would like a separate control for games volume.i rarely play games but always want the volume very low. Media volumes I nearly always want high.

AMRooke says:

It is more difficult now to mute my phone, requiring movement on 2 sliders, and then returning both of them to their previous positions afterward, instead of the former mute on/off button.  I hope the next update brings a return of the mute all button.

Also, my phone volume (Lumia 920) seems quieter now; even at full volume I have trouble hearing many of my callers now on my bluetooth connection in my car.  This was rarely an issue prior to the 8.1 preview (my wife is having the same issue with her Lumia 920, but with the built-in speaker, she doesn't use a bluetooth speaker).

SecretlyX says:

It's actually possible to mute both volume controls by just tapping on the icon to the left of the sliders. Then when you tap them again they return to the previous volume they were at.

avigyan says:

Start screen customisation, Cortana and Action Center. Although the action center could have been better and with more functionality. And obviously, the WordFlow keyboard.

GG002 says:

Addition of custom shortcuts would be nice! For example, I want to place a shortcut to Flashlight-X in Action Center.

I really like that the keyboard now suggests emoji as you type as well as text.

dhruv07 says:

Install apps on SD card saves a lot of space on phone nd gives space for new and new apps

YES... Word Flow is the best!

joanzen says:

Agreed. I'm astonished at how 'smart' it is and how much faster I can compose a message using it.

prakash386 says:

If I have to pick one, I would pick the keyboard too.. Action center and others are nice but this was a must have for me..

papanoongaku says:

Removing the comma key and widening the spacebar is a godsend. And generally, the keyboard and text being more efficient with space is great as well. The old keyboard didn't scale up to 1080 very well.

downup says:

Action center

Azurus says:

Probably the fact that I had all my data wiped out during restoring my phone after a hard reset in order to get Cortana to work properly and I can't restore my settings and all of my data are up there on that cloud and I'm not able to get it back to my lovely phone or maybe its the fact that glance is defected and doesn't show me the notifications

amf78 says:

Notifications didn't show up in Glance at first for me either.  Go in to glance in the settings menu and it will prompt you to update it.  Once I did that, it worked fine.

Azurus says:

I did go in, many times, but it wouldn't allow me to update, I was hoping to find a barcode to scan or something if that's possible

Azurus says:

Yo, I just did a Bing search using Cortana for any updates for glance and it sent me directly to update from windows store

Alycidon says:

The "show more tiles" option, tile backgrounds, and the notification centre are amongst my favourite features. The "show more tiles" feature means I won't have to fork out £500-odd on a Lumia 1520, despite the (ever so slightly) reduced performance!

kidjenius says:

IE reading view

giwa16 says:

This also I like

Caltech13 says:

LOVE THIS FEATURE! Never used a reading view before. So nice!

rodneyej says:

Start images, IE11, Notification center, Cortana, and soon to be Lock screen customization...
Videos playing directly in web pages!!!!!
The whole freekin OS is awesome!!
Now, it would be perfect if I we had the capability to add any toggle from settings we like... I really need to be able to toggle data on/off in a flash....
Up next?? Dolby digital 5.1 surround audio capture!!,,,
How about a native remote desktop client with a built in PC remote combining the functions of Splashtop, and Unified Remote, built right into the OS❔

how can i get Windows Phone 8.1 updated, or do i have to be a developer

larrybon says:

Download preview for developers app and sign up for the free developer option.

Dk92 says:

Action center. Manually updating apps.

louisoneal says:

Action Center and WordFlow. Also texting and them bringing up emjoi's automatically for certain words is a nice touch.

silverbladex says:

mine would be swipe texting, loading apps to the SD card, and notification center. 

Ahndz says:

mp3's from sites like can be saved now directly to the phone. or this old stuff?

louisoneal says:

Also "Show more tiles"

Ahndz says:

downloading of mp3's from the web and saving them to my memory card

rubenbest says:

Action center hands down and for me swype comes a closer second. Then Cortana and i love the fact that i can change the sounds for all my notifications

Nimdock says:

A notification center will never come to Windows Phone.

-Liquid Daffodil.




Cortana and the notification and action center hands down. In general there are tons of great new features. Too many to choose from.

Residing says:

@Nimdock...I remember them saying that as well :)

cupcake_17 says:

The shape typing keyboard and the action centre and Cortana!!! Cortana CortanaCortanaCortanaCortana!!!!!

jfivieght says:

My fav is all the apps I can get rid of with baked in features

wphashan says:

No, not her.
1. IE 11
2. Notifications center
3. 3rd column in start screen (btw, I don't like new start screen backgrounds)
4. New camera interface.

halfpast5 says:

Cortana, just for the simple fact that she makes hands-free whilst driving much easier than the previous voice activation. Change music, play this, remind me, get me to... such a breeze. Just need the release of UK as pronouncing like an American is hard!

kuhio3 says:

You Guys Have the BEST accents....I wish Cortana had a British Accent...that would be soo Hot...LOL

I always thought it was easy duplicating american accents....UK accents are hard but I am pretty good at it....

NIST says:

HERE Drive+ UK English female. = HOT

DJCBS says:

Tell me about it. You should see what Cortana thought I was saying when I asked her "Do you like Steve Ballmer". lol

Elangoooo says:

Word flow keyboard and start screen with notification centre

Since none of the cool features I was waiting for are available here, I would have to say the Action Center. And the tile backgrounds. And the third column.

Hmm, I guess some cool features are available here after all...

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

I can't find where to open pages in new tabs, hopefully it will come in a later update.

I like all the features but do not like the way it has slowed my phone (Lumia 520) My phone is practically useless now. There is ALOT of lag on my phone now and I mean ALOT. How do I remove the 8.1 Dev Pev. I would rather wait than put up with those. My phone battery is lucky to last 2 hours! I have 3 Windows Phones but will not be installing this on the other 2 (920 & 1020). Also, cannot position cursor when texting like I used to.

Nimdock says:

Wrong article. This is the article about what you like.

Read the first line of my post "I like all the features....." Right article!

Nimdock says:

Once sentence out of the whole paragraph belongs here. Way to go! :D

What's your problem. Article asks what my favourite feature was and I actually like all the features in the update, but does not take away from the fact that it has caused some issues. The reason it only took one line is because I like ALL the new features and did not need to itemise them all (I probably haven't even seen them all yet) If I said I dislike ALL the problems then nobody would know what those problems are. The idea of a forum AFAIK is to share your experience/idea/knowledge or anything helpful. I would have considered it helpful if I knew of the problems I was going to encounter after instilling 8.1

Nimdock says:

My "problem" is that the article was specifically asking for the things we like. Not the opposite.


There have been many other outlets to list what you don't like. One of the most extensive ones here: where even I have plenty of complaints.

And it affects your wellbeing how? Instead of criticising posts that 'you' have a 'problem' with, try sticking to giving helpful advice. As far as I have seen of your previous posts, you can be quite helpful.

I was not having a go at WP or the update, only the issues it had caused my phone. I am a huge fan of WP and have been since they started (even Windows Mobile before WP)

So if your life is that dull that you have to resort to responding to posts to get a reaction well go for it. Me on the other hand have a few more important things in my life so have fun!

Nimdock says:

Yes, sure buddy, my life is that dull.


By the way, the post was never to imply that you don't like WP, or that I like all of it, or that it should never be criticized. In the thread I link there are plenty of criticisims I offer.


Hope you can handle those other few importan things in your life that you mentioned.


I will have fun as per your advice. :)

Nimdock says:

Now, to be fair I could be having this conversation with any number of people posting in this article but I just happened to see your post first.

I don't post in these forums often and this is the reason why. I cant be bothered dealing with people like you, after posting a reasonable response to a question in an article. I never insulted anyone, I didn't have a problem at all. Just giving 'my' answer to a question. I don't understand why people like you just post unhelpful responses to peoples posts. If you cant be of assistance, well just move on to the next post!

Nimdock says:

Hehe, plenty of answers for someone who can't be bothered.


I didn't insult you either. The article asked for likes, so I called you out on that. If you didn't like it too bad.

marantaz says:

Seriously? You "called him out" for listing his troubles with the upgrade, and then you both spent an hour arguing over the stupidity of you 'calling him out'? Quote: "If you didn't like it too bad.". Practice what you preach.

lemonsteveo says:

You'll need to use that Nokia restore application on a PC, can't remember the name.

I get your concerns but I am confused about how it makes sense not to install on the 1020 and 920 which both have superior hardware to the 520 due to lag, something you'd be less likely to experience on more powerful devices. I installed on a 1020 and experienced no noticable lag so far. However, prior to the install I did move 18gbs of photos from the phone to the computer (mostly to backup in case things went sour, but also give the os some room to breath). Haven't had any troubles.

tarczyn says:

There are many nice features added to 8.1. My least favourite though is how much it drains battery on my 920!!

The Start screen customization, the new sliding keyboard (just not very good at it). My daughter flipped when she heard my phone talk to me (Cortana). Hopefully soon, the lock screen.

Start screen themes got my friends jelly. Notification Center, Cortana and IE11.

mehul92mehta says:

Cortana is awesome, independent volume control,ie11 update, now I can say this is Microsoft...

eduardopl says:

I really love the quiet hours feature and action center

uberlaff says:

More tiles and background images... I thought I was going to HATE the background images but they made my phones like a brand new device! I find myself just flicking the homescreen up and down. 

rdubmu says:

Speed Dial is one of my favorites. But I don't like how I can't uninstall access point. It is messing up my MMS Settings :(

Nimdock says:

In WP8 I set the year to something ridiculous like 2180.


Then I clicked on the shortcut and it asked me to uninstall. I don't know if it still works.

Viipottaja says:

By a mill in mile the bigger, more to the right space bar, even if it comes with the loss of an always visible comma.
None of the other features come anywhere close in improving the ux. The multiline view of search queries comes close second.

Although a small feature I really like that Cortana reads the messages and predicts an event in advance if there is a time. All I need to do is click the time and it will set up an event for me automatically.

richard_rsp says:

^This is also my favorite feature. This makes calendar appts SO much easier!


Swipe keyboard is by far the best feature for me and people like me who are lot into chatting!!

kevin_poo says:

Yeah chatting like a fruit ninja

pwachleman says:

Apps on SD card, hands down!

Micfur says:

For me it's the Action Center, new swipe like keyboard, and the new start screen.

Krishanu Dey says:

Word flow keyboard. It's awesome

dainla says:

Keyboard. Cortana. Looking forward to new podcast features. Weekly calendar. Still wish I could pin glance. Don't care about notification center.

JPDVM2014 says:

George said that the new camera app might sway him away from Nokia camera. I feel the same way, but don't we have to use Nokia to take advantage of the preview oversampling?

WavingReds says:

I'm loving the word flow keyboard so much!!!

Lets see, my main favorites are: 1. Themed tiles background 2. Third tile row 3. Cortana 3. Swipe keyboard 4. Quite hours 5. Notification centre 6. It's quite faster to be honest (bit buggy but no biggie) 7. Improved calendar

uberlaff says:

Double post! whoops!


kevin_poo says:

Certainly word flow keyboard, now I'm chatting like a fruit ninja!!!

vikrant6 says:

Swipe like keyboard..

Cortana and keyboard.

minus365 says:

Lag is my fav feature

As much as I'm enjoying most of the currently available features I have noticed a drop in network performance with WP8.1
Still can't use project my screen and the Skype in call video feature.

Sarang68 says:

Transparent start screen, Notification, Swipe keyboard, Cortana. Btw here it's my start screen.!28885&authkey=!AH...

RayWP7 says:

I use and love the following features a lot:
1) action/notification center (being able to glance all notices and at once dismiss all to mark corresponding mail entries as read is huge timesaver),
2) new calendar weekly view,
3) Cortana alarm and scheduling via texts and voice commands,
4) all of the *sense apps,
5) independent function volume controls.
Finally, I am also tickled by the whimsy of the transparent tile with custom background.

Ali Assaedi says:

silent notifications, ability to hide notification banner, or/and disable vibration.. 

chatting with skype/fb on the desktop was  torture when u owned a wp8 device near buy , constantly buzzing..

word flow keyboard is much appreciated suprise too, was pretty surprised when it was first leaked, i actually never beleived it , so unlike microsoft :P

yea, i'll settle for these two for now :P

Craig Smikle says:

So far I'm really not liking the notifications center because it's become one more place to try to deal with notifications that are already on a live tile. In the case of Facebook, maybe it's an app bug but the tile keeps updating with a badge but the notification doesn't show up in center.. And if it does, handling it on the Center doesn't make the tile clear up. My other issue is that I'm just not getting enough info when I view it in the Center. I though it would have been two lines of text per notification but all I get is the name of who it's from and then maybe three short words before the text is cut off. A wide live tile shows me a lot more text, even if still on one line. So I end up looking there anyway. And having to swipe to see a notification then realizing the "glance and go" tile was better feels like a waste of time.

My favorite features are the keyboard, Cortana, and then maybe IE11 (besides a Youtube playback bug)

Word Flow! (I never liked Swipe on Android because it was slow and prone to mistakes....WORD FLOW IS 1000 TIMES BETTER!)

Default Camera

Extra Tiles

Backgrounds....notification + action center, all the Senses, apps to SD

sayonical says:

I really like Quiet Hours and ability to muting rooms. Action center as well. Haven't really played with Cortana enough yet

amol071 says:

How to add data connection to notification center????

KjBleau says:

Wondering that as well

PeeHoo says:

Definitely Swype!!

txkimmers says:

Props for the new calendar. Adding week view was so overdue, no credit for that, but the expansion window when you touch a day plus a weather icon too is really lovely.

I'd say, Cortana, action center, and WordFlow keyboard is amazing! It feels like a new phone! I just converted my girlfriend to a Lumia 928 from Android.... will definitely set her phone up with the update! I think Windows phone is now on par with the other two players, Apple and Google... Look out!

Sarang68 says:

Hope Bing ports it's daily picture on the transparent start screen.

Studio384 says:

I use WordFlow, Action Center and IE11 a lot. I also like the new startscreen.

bAN01TgAZ says:

Ease of access > speech for phone accessibility (caller id by speech)
Saves changing ringtones for individuals.

This feature was available on HTC 7 Mozart and I missed it when I upgraded to nl800/nl920/nl1020

InlineV says:

Technically, that was available in WP8.

Swipe keyboard is the coolest feature, so it is my one of the favourite feature.

tanveer 786 says:

Action centre is the best other than nothing is excited

willboyce says:

Keyboard is as quick as you like.

mrllano says:

WordFlow keyboard fort me

jaimeastin says:

Action center mostly for quick setting changes, the web browser is finally GOOD and stable, downloading files to the phone, independent volume controls for all functions, 3rd row of icons on my 920, better functionality in the call history, search text messages, etc
This is the best update for the phone period. I am so happy with it. It really did a lot to enhance the phone and hopefully kill the rest of the negative comments.
Cortana. Is like sirii. To me, no big deal at all. I know most people are liking the idea of it especially the competition with google and apple, but I really have not found. A reason to go gaga over it. Even looking at future enhancements... I am not ruling it out, but it is way down the list on what actually makes 8.1 successful as it is merely a toy. So many other enhancements actually brought real functionality and true benefited to the platform that makes it stable and a real contender. But I understand... Having the same met-too media taught and flanted feature is important for the masses.

Oh yeah... Word flow is super nice and really, really works well. I like how Microsoft is not relying on 3rd parties to bring functionality when they can do it much better and built in. This makes it where everyone has it without having to install a keyboard, but yet it is not required to us. Microsoft is on fire and I can see a real future resurgence and I am so happy to be on board. I mean, I am all in... xBOX one, tablets, laptops, desktop, phone, onedrive, Skype, etc. I can now be a REAL ambassador and pump the phone again... This time without he usually, it does not have this or hat... Now, the lack of apps is a non issue to me and as far as I am concerned... Anyone who says that, I want to know what they want as it is such a overused and unimaginable complaint.

elangab says:

Apps on SD is a life saver. I think that with 8.1 the sum is greater than its parts. Everything got tweaked, and the whole OS is a joy to use.

Cortana isn't my cup of tea, I hate speaking to my phone, but I like that fact that's it's there as a feature.

Missing a way to send/receive any type of file as an email attachment. This should be a priority....

Live tiles wallpaper

What's not to love first thing is the wallpaper underneath the live tiles, the second is the notification center, then the swipe keyboard, keep finding more every day. Today loving the fact I can change the sounds to my notifications so I know what app it is with out looking at the phone I could go on

Mario Ali says:

When do you think we normal humble consumers will receive the 8.1

damo579 says:

For myself it's the action center, new keyboard and the extra rules on the screen. Then of course Cortana

majohnny says:

To be honest I really have no use for the notification center at the moment. My favorite feature by far is the swipe keyboard

majohnny says:

You're right, sorry ;-)

yuvii007 says:

Sdcard installation

AndyCalling says:

Well, I'm surprised no-one mentioned the number one best feature in the article; proper SD card usage. Makes my 820 a really fantastic device as it negates the only down side it had, 8gig internal storage. Can't see the fuss about Cortana is worth while. Looks just like the old voice interface to me, just on another button. Perhaps that's just a UK perspective though... :)~

rubenwidjaja says:

I like all of it

notification, install in SD card, Cortana, independent sound, IE, and all

Great job for all Microsoft developers

chad08er says:

Notification center and quiet hours.

marantaz says:

Its a tie between the action center, the customizable start screen and the abundance of new settings and control 8.1 has given the user. Cortana's nice, but I have to get used to using her (can I say that?).
By the way, anyone notice a problem with the regional time settings? My quiet time stays on for an hour longer than it should...i think 8.1 is not compensating for AZ and daylight savings. ?

marantaz says:

Oh and Cortana should be ready to talk to without having to push the mike button.

JPDVM2014 says:

Just hold down the search key. She opens already listening.

marantaz says:

Oh yeah! Kinda forgot about that after Daniels article on her live tile. Thanks, JP! Now why couldn't she answer that question?

Action Center quick toggles and Enableing the third row of live tiles

lawson666 says:

I still miss features tho and just one simple one too
The ability to change message backgrounds either in shape and colour for your incoming and out going texts so you can easily distinguish yours and the other persons text as they look alike too someone with poor vision