Windows Phone Help & How-to

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How to enable the black accent color on Windows Phone

When choosing accent colors for your Windows Phone, you’re not going to see the color black. There’s still a way to get that color, though, and Windows Phone veterans probably know this trick already. Are you new to Windows Phone and want to know how? Head past the break and follow the steps in our video.

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Using YouTube in Internet Explorer on Windows Phone 8 can be a bit of a pain. The mobile website is barebones and doesn’t work as well as it should. And as you know, YouTube has yet to release a competent native app for Windows Phone users. Their loss since we’re getting by fine with stellar apps like Metrotube and myTube.

However, every now and then you end up on YouTube in the browser. Maybe you clicked a link in a tweet or someone sent a link in an email. You’re now about to watch a YouTube video with poor playback controls and no option for 720p video. Or are you? Probably not if you’re a fan of Metrotube. You can now open YouTube links in Metrotube with minimal effort. Details on how below.

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The Windows Phone Store has nearly every major music platform available, with the obvious exception of official iTunes or Google Play apps. You’ll find Xbox Music, Beats Music, Songza, Spotify, and more available to you as a Windows Phone (and probable Windows 8) user.

However odds are a lot of you are rocking out to Xbox Music on Windows Phone. It is of course the native music application available and built-in to Windows Phone 8. If you’re a power user you probably know the ins and outs of how Xbox Music works on both Windows Phone and Windows 8. If you’re not a power user, then this article is for you. Here’s how to create and manage playlists with Xbox Music on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.

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The Xbox One controller is one of the finest control pads ever designed. The same goes for the Titanfall Limited Edition Controller we just reviewed. But one flaw compared to Xbox 360 controllers is that Xbox One controllers don’t work on computers and tablets. Blame Microsoft, who have yet to release a PC driver even though it would take virtually no effort to do so.

Luckily, a hobbyist developer named Lucas Assis has developed a temporary Xbox One controller driver for Windows 7 and 8. It doesn't work on Windows RT, so this won't help regular Surface users. His solution requires the use of several companion programs (bundled with the driver) and a few quarts of elbow grease, but it does actually work. Until now, you’d have to endure a somewhat painful tutorial video in order to guide you through the process. Lucky for you guys, I’ve gone through that already so that we can bring you this easy-to-understand written guide!

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When Microsoft released the Xbox One back in November of 2013, the console came without the ability to play multimedia from an external device, such as a flash drive. It seemed that the ultimate entertainment console would not be able to play any of your personal content and instead you would be locked to approve multimedia apps on the platform, but that is not the case.

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Lost your Windows Phone? Here’s how to find it

Losing your phone can be really annoying. Fortunately, Windows Phone has a free service called Find My Phone that can help you recover your phone. It even goes a step further by giving you options to lock or erase your phone from any computer.

Head past the break to watch our how-to video.

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Niche apps are always tough to write about. For some, they’re indispensable. To others, they don’t make sense. DayGlance is one of those apps, designed specifically for Lumia devices running Nokia’s Glance screen.

You may not have noticed, but Nokia’s Glance screen omits the date. Instead, it just shows the time and any notifications. While I understand the logic – keep it simple – for some, knowing the calendar day is important. Luckily DayGlance fills that gap by let users show the date in the notification bar.

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There might be a situation in which you might have to reinstall apps you’ve already purchased from the Windows Phone Store. Perhaps, you just upgraded to another Window Phone device or you have accidentally deleted an app. You do not have to pay for them again. We’ll show you three ways to reinstall apps or games you've bought without paying for them again.

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You've seen something awesome on your Windows Phone (perhaps a sunny day in England reported by a weather app) and you wish to share this screen with the world. Taking screenshots is super easy and fast (hold power and tap the Start key).

The only issue with taking screenshots on any Windows Phone, especially when wearing earphones and listening to music, is the camera shutter sound when an image has been saved. Luckily, there's an easy way to disable this audible alert.

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Light paintings are made with moving light sources in front of a camera to create an image. You need long exposure so the camera can capture the flow of moving lights. Nokia’s latest video shows how an expert light painter does it, using the Nokia Lumia 1020 with Nokia Camera. They also share tips on how you can do it, too. Head past the break to watch the video.

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What does the Heart button do in Xbox Music + Video?

Xbox Music is the phoenix that rose from the ashes of Zune. As you know, Zune wasn’t just digital media hardware from Microsoft. It was an entire ecosystem of music and videos that went with you from your smartphone, to your desktop and to the browser. The entire Zune brand and marketplace was more or less killed off in late 2012 so that Microsoft could instead focus on building Xbox Music and Xbox Video.

Microsoft learned a lot from doing Zune. They made a few mistakes here and there, but overall there weren’t too many complaints from users about the service itself. It definitely laid the foundation for Xbox Music. You’ll even still see relics from Zune in Xbox Music, like that little heart button.

What does that thing do, anyway?

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So you are new to Windows Phone, loaded a ton of apps and games on to your phone and now face a hard reset that will wipe out everything. Or even better, you bought a new Windows Phone. The good news is that all the apps and games you’ve purchased won’t have to be re-purchased, as those licenses are linked to your Microsoft Account. The better news is that you can backup your app listings to make re-installing things a lot easier.

While many of the seasoned Windows Phone users already know this, we have a few discussions going on in the Windows Phone Central Forums asking about re-installing apps and games after a hard reset. WPCentral reader WaseemAkram poses that very question in this forums discussion and several readers quickly stepped up to offer reassurances that he would not have to re-purchase all his apps and games.

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Quick tip: How to never lose your SIM card tray pin

We check out a lot of phones here at WPCentral, so we frequently switch where our SIM cards go. Many devices nowadays like the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1020 have SIM card trays that require pins to open. It can be frustrating when we lose them. Good luck asking around for one. Chances are, they aren’t carrying it.

We have one quick tip that will make it hard to lose your SIM card tray pin. Put it in your key ring!

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Nokia Windows Phones are solid smartphones running Microsoft's mobile operating system and we've previously looked at how physically durable the devices are. According to AdDuplex reports, almost 90 percent of all Windows Phones are part of the Nokia Lumia family of devices. Consumers have enjoyed both stability and reliability when it comes to said Nokia hardware, but there are times when things can go wrong.

The Finnish manufacturer has made its Software Recovery Tool available for consumers to download, should they experience issues with their Nokia Windows Phone and its OS. It seems to be a re-brand of the 'Nokia Software Update for Retail', which we covered months ago as a solution to fixing your Lumia.  Nokia appears to have made now made it 'public' instead of a tool for themselves.

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With all the neglect we’ve seen the Xbox Windows Phone versions of multiplatform games receive, Electronic Arts’ treatment of The Sims FreePlay is nothing short of amazing. Since debuting in September of last year, FreePlay has been updated four times already. These updates contain more than simple bug fixes. They tweak the gameplay and add new content and quests to the game. Each time FreePlay receives a major update on iOS and Android, a Windows Phone update follows closely behind.

The latest Sims FreePlay to arrive adds two huge new quests: “Adulthood” and “Seniors.” By completing these quests, players can advance their teenage Sims to adulthood and even grow regular Sims into wrinkly old elderly Sims. More details and quest walkthroughs after the break!

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How to SIM unlock the Nokia Lumia 1520 from AT&T

If you have the Nokia Lumia 1520 from AT&T and plan to travel overseas, you’re probably interested in unlocking the device so you can use local a SIM. This will save you money on roaming fees or international rates. AT&T makes it very easy to unlock your device by providing an online form, but you must meet several requirements.

We have just unlocked our AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520. Read on to find out how.

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We were hopeful that the replacement shells we found earlier would add Qi wireless charging to our AT&T variant of the Nokia Lumia 1520, but that didn’t work. Fortunately, there is another method found by WPCentral forum member, SonarTech. It is a bit complicated and requires some soldering skills.

Head past the break if you feel brave enough to tackle this challenge.

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The keyboard on Windows Phone works really well. We can type really fast on it, but maybe it’s because we’ve been using Windows Phone devices for a while now. Whether you’re already a pro at typing away several emails or just getting familiar with a new Windows Phone device, there are definitely some tips and tricks that will make you type faster. We’ve gathered 7 keyboard tips that will help new users or those who may have not had the time to experiment.

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17 tips to extend battery life on Windows Phone 8

We love our smartphones, but one issue that might come up is battery life. If you’re a heavy user, you want to find ways to be able to use the phone as long as you can before needing to recharge. We have included 17 tips to extend your Windows Phone 8 battery life, but many of these tips involve turning off services and features. You decide which services you’re willing to let go to save juice. You don’t need to follow all of them, but following some will help extend the battery life on your Windows Phone 8 device.

Head past the break to read our tips with screenshots and video.

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Here's a neat little trick to get your on your way to customising your Start screen with Nokia's App Folders solution. The app was recently published to the Windows Phone Store and just like you could with contacts, you're able to copy and paste emoticons from the SMS text box to App Folder titles to add some personality. Putting together a games folder, why not add a controller? 

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If you ever have the need to know your Windows Phone IP address, you can track it down through a simple Bing Search.  It is a trick that some of our seasoned readers may already be aware of but those new to Windows Phone may not be.

Just as you can do on your Windows 8 computer, if you launch Bing Search on your Windows Phone 8 device and type, “my IP address” the result will be your phone’s IP address.  It is easy as pie.

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When the first Final Fantasy arrived on Windows Phone, all of its Achievements were secret and thus couldn’t be viewed by players. We quickly posted a Mini-Achievement Guide to help get players on-track.

Now Final Fantasy III has appeared on Windows Phone, once again with Xbox Achievements. This time, the Achievements aren’t secret. But they do require plenty of time and effort to unlock. You just might need a guide! And wouldn’t you know it? Windows Phone Central is proud to present our latest Achievement Guide, filled with tips and resources for dedicated RPG players and Achievement hunters.

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If you're anything like most of us here at Windows Phone Central, your phone is probably loaded with pictures from all over the place. Wouldn't it be nice to organize them better, so you don't have to scroll through all of them to find what you are looking for?

Reddit user, DashThePunk, posted a way to do just that by using your computer.  It turns out to be shockingly easy. Take a gander after the jump for step-by-step instructions.

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