Home Windows Phone Guides How to: Developer Unlock a Windows Phone for Free

How to: Developer Unlock a Windows Phone for Free

Windows Phone limits the deployment/installation of non-store apps to only Developer Unlocked phones and still carries a limit of max 3 apps for users without a Microsoft Developer Account. If you are looking to Developer Unlock your Windows Phone (regardless of the manufacturer), follow the tutorial below. There is also a scheduled post upcoming which discusses about installing/deploying local/cracked apps to developer unlocked phones.

Register a Windows Phone for Development (Developer Unlock)

  1. If you are just an end user who wants to unlock the phone to deploy some apps, download the Windows Phone Mini SDK (64MB) from here.
    On the other hand, if you are a developer and plan to build apps, you should download the Full WP8 SDK from here.
  2. Install the Mini SDK or the Full SDK on your Windows PC.
  3. Connect your Windows Phone device to the PC using a USB Cable and wait for the drivers to be installed (if they are not already installed).
  4. Click Start and type Developer Registration. Now open Windows Phone Developer Registration app.
    register development wp sdk
    Register for Development
  5. Make sure that the screen of your Windows Phone is unlocked and click on Register in the bottom-right of Developer Registration App. Click retry if it says that the phone is not detected.
  6. Login by entering your Microsoft Account credentials. You do not need to be registered as a developer to do the unlocking, hence any Microsoft Account will work.
  7. Let the Developer Registration app register your phone for development and you can deploy local/cracked apps thereafter.
    successfully unlocked
    Unlocked Phone Message

Unregister a Windows Phone for Development (Lock Development)

If you no longer need the capabilities offered by the Developer Unlock, you can lock it back again by following the above steps and choosing Unregister in Step 5.

Difference between WP8 Mini SDK and Full WP8 SDK

WP8 Mini SDK

  1. Contains only the Developer Registration and App Deployment tools.
  2. Size – 64MB.
  3. Works on Windows 7 or later (both 32-bit and 64-bit)
  4. Good for App Deployment.
  5. Quick Install of 5 minutes.
WP8 Full SDK

  1. Full set of tools used for development purpose.
  2. Size – Around 3.5GB (inc. Visual Studio)
  3. Works only on 64-bit version of Windows 8.
  4. Needed for Development.
  5. Takes more than 30 minutes to install on an average PC.

199 Comments

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  • Hai, my friend gave me an AT&T unlocked used mobile to me, i too used it for couple of days with 3G, but i tried to used it with 4G Jio, i meessed up with hard reset, the mobile is asking for registration with Microsoft account which I do not know, it is not a stolen mobile, My friend is still working in US, he too forgot the credentials, can you please help me, I can even give hi mobile no / his mail ID, regards john

    • To what I know, you can use a new Microsoft account after you reset. So, you can create a new Microsoft account and enter the credentials there.

  • “this package could not be opened. verify that the package exists and you can access it.” error installing the sdk mini .can u help me with this?

  • I got this Error while deploying vcREG_1_5_W10M.xap

    Installation of the application failed. Run time error has occurred. Fix the Capabilities in WMAppManifest.xml file.

    Please Help

  • About to test this out on my device. So, when I developer unlocked my phone, can I install as many non-store apps as I want?

  • guys its not gonna work unless u get urself a developer account!! For which u have to pay!! IKR Sad Shit :/

    • No. You do not need a developer account to unlock the devices. But since Microsoft is going more towards Windows 10, it can be possible that they’ve disabled the unlocking.

  • Error communicating with the windows phone dev center. Please set the correct date and time on the phone, check the internet connection on device and try again later. (EroorCode:0x64)

    Im not understanding everything is set to how it should be. Can anyone help?

    • Never mind. I figured it out. Anyone that has a error like this needs to go to the Windows Phone Dev Center and just long in with your account. Then retry registering should work then.

  • Sir when I click on register it shows error logging in dev center cheak your Microsoft account credintial and try again. please help

  • Sir , please solved my problem . Sir I am download windows 8 sdk full and I try your good trick but I am not successful Nokia Lumia 630 please help ! Thanks .

  • I cant do developer registration…it shows “Unable to connect a phone.Make sure that the windowsphone IP over transport(IpOverUsbSvc)service is running”
    help me please

  • I had successfully unlocked my Nokia Lumia 630 by using sdk lite. My problem is when I open windows xap depoyer / windows power tools then it doesn’t open. Do I need to install some more softwares

  • sir,
    I can’t register my phone lumia 540 .. its show me my ph date is incorrect or net connection bt i try for many times & chacke my ph for up to date what should i do?

  • sir, im using lumia 525 and when i enter my email id n passwornd n clik sign in, it shows that WP8 make sure that the windows phone IP over USB transport (IpOverUsbSvc) service is running, please give a sugetion soon. please

  • Sir I did exactly as u mentioned.. But the problem is that whenever I try to deploy any xap file,it says that the “file is invalid” or “error unregistered class file” please help…

  • I get a problem while register this its status :–correct time and date…but my mobile nd PC time and date is absolutely correct what can I do… Tel me pls sssssss

    • No you cannot.

      This SDK only supports WP8

      Besides that, last year around December was the latest that Microsoft allowed developer unlock for WP7. And that unlock was only valid for 1 year….

      Basically Microsoft is actively killing WP7 and trying to make the device useless, there are only 5 months left in which new software for windows phone 7 can be created, after that all new software will be for windows phone 8 and higher only.

  • My problem is that everything runs smoothly but after I log in with a Microsoft account, it says, “Unable to connect to a phone” even though at first it said it recognized my Windows Phone 8 was connected. Please help out with this I don’t understand what the problem is

  • Thanks a lot “narender Singh”for not replying to some of us here that can’t get the f’ïng program to work and leaving us mid-air. Seriously, thanks a f’ing lot

    • Buddy, I understand your frustration, but I do receive a lot of comments over here and more than half of them are repetitive questions already answered in a previous comment. I do strive to reply to comments, but sometimes I can’t, because I’m busy (studies, friends, functions, I have a life too) or else I do not know of a solution that will work for a particular person. There can be many reasons of an issue from drivers to hardware to software services to operating systems. I really can’t judge and provide a helpful reply on the basis of a line of comment.
      I’m still sorry for this. I’ll try doing better.

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