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.

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About the author

Narender Singh

Narender is a B-school graduate who loves technology. He generally, avoids news and spends his time writing guides and tutorials which add value to the web. Shoot any of your questions to him at narender@techmesto.com

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?

    • No buddy, this will not affect the carrier lock. You need the respective unlock code from your carrier to get rid of the lock.

  • 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.

  • now phone is not getting connected although it is connected . this error appears: Status:For WP8 make sure that the windows phone IP over USB transport (IpOverUsbSvc) service is running

    • Can you try looking for PhoneReg.exe in this folder – C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Phone\v8.0\Tools\Phone Registration\

  • I’ve downloaded it “WP8 SDK Tools Lite Setup Av1.0″ from your provided link & installed it . and when i followed this step ” Click Start and type Developer Registration. Now open Windows Phone Developer Registration app.”” i click start and typed Developer Registration but no result found .?? i opened my Programs Files and open the folder of installed WP8 SDK and search it thoroughly but nothing was there to execute or open etc only ” .dll ” files were found . So what to do now ???

  • It showing error communication with the windows phone Dev centre. Please set the correct date and time on the phone check internet connection on your device and try again (ErrorCode:0x64) please help me…

  • m getting respond on status that ..error connecting it ..pls use correct time and date …or …check the internet network but it is all done..network is proper..plz sm1 help me

  • It showing error communication with the windows phone Dev centre. Please set the correct date and time on the phone check internet connection on your device and try again (ErrorCode:0x64) please help me…

  • I m not able to install mini sdk on my windows 7 32-bit computer . Please help me !!!
    it installed it but says ” Warning 1946.Property ‘System.AppUserModel.StartPinOption’ For shortcut “Windows Phone Developer Registration.Ink’ could not be set.”

  • When I connect my Lumia 822, It shows driver installation failed: No drivers found. And the Windows phone developer registration app doesn’t detect my phone. Is it because of the drivers? (I can copy files from the computer to the phone with no problem). Please help. Using a Windows 7 Pc

  • Hi i downloaded the mini sdk its showing error Warning 1946.Property ‘System.AppUserModel.StartPinOption’ For shortcut “Windows Phone Developer Registration.Ink’ could not be set. After clicking ok It shows another error

    ‘Microsoft .SmartDevice.Connectivity.version=”11.0.0.0″.publicKeyToken=”b03f5f7f11d50a3a”.processorArchitecture=”MSIL”fileVersion=”11.0.50727.38″,cluture=”neutral””.
    The signature or catalog could not be verified or is not valid.

    What should i do pls help

  • Sign in not working. what to do ??
    when i click on register the sign in window disappears withing 1 millisecond.. i’v tried it 100 times but same issue is there !!

  • I m getting respond on status that ..error connecting it ..pls use correct time and date …or …check the internet network but it is all done..network is proper..plz sm1 help me….narender

  • Microsoft set a deadline to register WP7 devices for development to December 31, 2014 Why are you guys trying to register devices now?

  • i had an error ipoverusbsvc ,,i checked and restarted the services but still it is failing to detect my phone,,what should i do

  • What I do? It shows for wp8 phone make sure that the wp ip over transport service is running. My phone is Lumia 730 dual WP8.1

  • My Nokia lumia 720 doesn’t store anything downloaded from the net. also cant be detected on any PC, be it with the zoen app. help me. all it says on the pc is you Nokia lumia 720 is locked. how is it locked and how do I unlock it

  • Good im also indian. Tomorrow I am going to unlock my phone.if u can give me ur watsapp number I can contact u if I get any problems. Plz give me ur warsapp no.

  • hi sorry to bother but i keep having the same error message.unable to connect to a phone.make sure that the windows phone ip over usb transport service is running,what should i do?

    • Can you confirm if the service is running? If not, start it. If it is, restart it. You can get to services by running opening services.msc (Type in Start and hit Enter)

  • Sir help me . When I try to plug my decide it shows,”make sure that windows phone ip over usb is tronspotst”, help me. I don’t understand this. Help me

  • i can’t run the appx file but i’m download and install the tool and it’s work… how do i’m run the appx file?

  • m using 1520 . Device is still under warranty .if I unlock my phone will it affect my warranty ? because I have hear that service centre’s do not accept unlock phones.

  • Yes jou today I also tried to unlock my 520 on windows 8 pc but it gave the same msg as urs. Admin plz help in detailed I really need it

  • Sir plz help . When I try to install the sdk app on my pc it is showing,”This installation package could not be opened. Verify that the package exists and that u can access it, or contact the application vendor that this is a valid windows installer package”. Please help I have tried this on both windows 7 as well as windows 8 computer but got the same message. Plz help

  • Narendra if u were a girl,I would had married u. U just made my windows life too easy.thank u very much.shit on the windowshub guys,they have posted everything very mixed. I don’t understand anything there. But r very good. U reply to all comments very calmly. Thank u once again

    • Ahhhh 😛 Lucky that I’m not a girl haha
      Thanks for the lovely feedback, buddy. Always tried to make it easy for the readers 🙂

  • The Installation was successful, I restarted the PC (Running Win 7 SP 1). I cant Find ‘Developer Registration’…..?!?!?!?!?!?!

          • ok so what i did was just searched file and I found a folder named PHONE REGISTRATION and PhoneReg.exe in that. THATS WHAT opened the Windows Phone Developer Registration window. However it kept hanging so I ran it in Windows 7 compatibility. Worked fine, but got the ip usb issue. Now that service has already been started on my PC, so Im stuck again.
            Also, can you help me out with the Lumia 720 driver.

  • I go up to the fifth pointvand when i click register, the page when i should put my email adress shows for a second and then vanishes… Can someone please tell me what to do?

  • Warning 1949.Property
    ‘System.App UserModel.StartPinOption’ for shortcut
    ‘windows phone Developer Registration.ink’ could not be set

    What is it..?? help me please.. 🙁

      • Hey narender hello when ever I connect my Nokia Lumia 630 wp sdk gives an error make shure that the windows phone Ip over usb transport service I running. Plz help yaar I tried evry thing connecting to different usb ports. My time setting is perfect too also I restarted both pc as well as mobile. I am running wp sdk on windows 7 pc

  • I am trying to install this on Windows Phone 32 bit. But I always get the error : “The installation package could not be opened. Verify that the package exists and that you can access it, or contact the application vendor to verify that this is a valid Windows installer package.”. I have installed .NET framework. 4.5.1.. But to no avail. How to get it to work!!?? Please HELP!!!

  • After unlocking my phone(Lumia 520) I wanted to deploy but the status is still “Deploying xap file” after 20 minutes. Is it supposed to be that long? The application is pes2012. Or is internet connection needed for deploying too?

    • It shouldn’t take that long and internet connection is also not needed to develop local XAPs. How about cancelling and retrying because I really don’t have an idea why that happened 😐

  • After unlocking my phone(Lumia 520) I wanted to deploy but the status is still “Deploying xap file” after 20 minutes. Is it supposed to be that long? The application is pes2012.

  • i have lumia 530 i have sign in trough my ms acoount but it not detect my phone it say for windows phone 8 make sure that windows phone ip over usb is tronspotst service is running then what should i do plz plz plz plz help me

  • Is there a way to undo it?
    Will i still get updates for my windows phone?
    Will i be able to use store after doing it?
    Does it do any harm to phone?
    If something happens to my phone, will nokia care accept it?
    Sorry but i am scared to proceed without answers…I am a new lumia user

    • 1. Yes, there is. You can know more in the Unregister a Windows Phone for Development (Lock Development) section in the post.
      2. Yes. You will still get updates as you normally did.
      3. Yes. Store works like before. Completely no change.
      4. No harm to the phone actually. You are just unlocking it so that being a developer you could test a few of your apps before uploading to the store (logically).
      5. Yes. This does not affect Warranty.
      6. No issues 🙂 I can understand your position. You should not be worried about your phone as this does not affect it in any way 🙂

  • i downloaded the sdk.It shows that it is installed and you can find the icons in the start menu.but I cant find anything.i am running win7 32-bit

  • I bought lumia 1320 recently and would like to know whether moliplayer pro and modern combat 4 and many more crack version is possible to run because these nokia and microsoft are charging money for these basic apps. I really feel worried if something happens wrong with my phone by using crack apps please help!! or shall I use these trick after my nokia warranty gets over. I run many cracked games on my pc no worries but on windows phone I haven’t tried. Please assist me (Narender Singh)

    • This does not affect your warranty.
      No offense, but these apps are not charged by Nokia or Microsoft. It is the decision of the developer to whether keep is app free or charge for the same. I’ve paid for MoliPlayer and I feel it is worth it.
      You can install the cracked apps by deploying them, but you need to find those cracked apps yourself. If the source is authentic, you shouldn’t worry about anything happening to your Windows Phone, except that you cannot update these cracked apps by using Store.

  • Hey man the trick is not working in my lumia520 it i have tried all these steps still not able to detect my device showing windows phone IP over usb transport.. Help…..!!!

  • will anyone help me ?

    even after restarting the windows phone ip over usb service, and trying to run as administrator. the registration thing cant detect my lumia 820, running on 8.1 developer (8.1 not yet available in my country)
    and when trying to run the deployment app i get: exception of type microsoft smart device connectivity platform not found exception” was thrown

    im using 32 bit of win 7 if it matters

  • Will this unlock a Lumia mobile to work on any network? I tried and it gave a message that “The device has been successfully unlocked”. But I still can’t use it on a network different than what it is unlocked to. Any response is highly appreciated.

    • It is not the carrier unlock. To use it on other networks, you need to get the unlock code from the cattier to which it is locked.

  • Hey, even after restarting the windows phone ip over usb service, and trying to run as administrator. the registration thing cant detect my lumia 820, running on 8.1 developer (8.1 not yet available in my country)
    and when trying to run the deployment app i get: exception of type microsoft smart device connectivity platform not found exception” was thrown

    im using 32 bit of win 7 if it matters

  • im having lumia 520 and i have downloaded that mini sdk one and now i want to download clockwork tales for free what should i do
    ???
    lumia520(windows8.1)

  • sir this software cant recognise my lumia 630… running windows 8.1/…… i even tried running services .msc…. but still then it cant detect my phone…. i have windoss 7 and m running mini sdk… pl help

  • great now when i keep trying ,my mobile gets recognized.but the problem is they keep showing logging error. ive checked my account and password.what now should i keep trying

  • the first two times i tried registering i got the ipoverusb…error i restarted the service and then i got loging in error.but now whenever i try my phone isnt recognized at all.and i am sure there is no problem with the phone.if you suggest i should still keep trying then i’ll be glad keep on trying but can u suggest a way that i get the phone recognized?it is available in “my computer” but the software just got blind.thanxxx anyway for your kind suggestion earlier.

  • i have lumia 630 and i cant dev unlock my phone.it isnt getting identified.i restarted the ipoverusb form services and after that they showed an error about logging into dev center.any clues?

    • As of now, it does not affect the warranty. It is legal as there is no jailbreaking going on. You’re just unlocking it for development 🙂

  • can I get mini SDK for win 7 32 bit and will this trick work wtih new windows hone like XOLO WIN Q900s …etc
    or this work only for nokia. this are my doubts but I like your explanation on this topics.I was to confused what is SDK that unlock blablabla . I searched about it but it confused me more and i start to thinl android much more than this confuse. but you bro you cleared all my confusion thanxxxxxxxxxxxx & please reply on my doubts

    • Feels great to know that you liked the context 🙂 As about your doubts, its a Yes for both of your questions. It is standard for all the Windows Phone devices. However, it may require the drivers which will be provided by XOLO itself.
      Android is better in this regard though. Android users who do not want to buy apps can easily find cracked or patched apps. Whereas it is hard to find a cracked Windows Phone apps.

  • After the unlock can we play the paid games for free.. Using xap for eg: order and chaos cost 360₹ in store..

  • i tried following these steps,but the app shows that it cant find my phone and keeps asking me to make sure the ip over usb or something like that is working or not.do i have to have a windows developer account? please help me.

    • Hey Raktim, try this:
      Open Services (Start> Type services.msc and hit enter) and manually start the Windows Phone IP over USB Transport service. And thereafter try again. In case it is already running, restart it.

      • ok I tried that and I have a very legal Microsoft account with a password.and still the freak says error logging into the windows phone dev center.today is not my day.any help please?

        • So the phone is detected, right? I earlier faced that error too and it automatically worked later. Probably something wrong with their service. It should work later on. Try later.

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