Windows Phone 8.1: How to Update using Preview for Developers?

Windows Phone 8.1 was announced at the build conference last week with a lot of new features and additions which will bring Windows Phone more closer to other Operating Systems in terms of features and usability. The WP8.1 update will slowly be pushed by manufacturers and carriers (in case of a carrier branded phone) in a couple of months.

However, one interesting thing about Windows Phone is the Preview for Developers program which was announced by Microsoft during the announcement of GDR3 update Windows Phone 8. All this program does is to provide an early access to the OS updates when Microsoft is done building them. In short, you get your update before it is approved by your Carrier (Verizon, T-Mobile, at&T; etc) or Manufacturer (Nokia, Samsung, etc). I’ll try to answer a few of FAQs later at the end of the post, but for now – Yes! The update provided under the Preview for Developers is the final finished version of Windows Phone 8.1 – Same that will be given to Manufacturers to install on new phones.

Updating to Windows Phone 8.1 Preview – Step by Step

Follow these simple steps below to get the Windows Phone 8.1 update on your phone via the Preview for Developers Program. If you have any doubt, pay a visit to some of the FAQ’s at the end of this tutorial. You can also feel free to leave a comment in the section at the end of this post.

Part 1- Signup for AppStudio

As the program is for developers, the first thing you need to do is to signup as a AppStudio developer. The signup is fully free and only takes a Microsoft Account and a minute of time.

  1. Just head over to (Click on the link or Copy>Paste in your browser).
  2. Enter your Microsoft Account credentials to login.
  3. Allow your account access to the application by clicking on Yes.
    Let this app access your info
    Allow Access
  4. Fill in your username and email address in the AppStudio registration form (the default fill should be okay though). Accept the terms by checking the box and click on Register.signup wp app studio
  5. That’s it for the signup part.

Part 2 – Configure Preview for Developers App on your Phone

After signing up for AppStudio, you need to download the Preview for Developers application for it to connect your developer account with your phone and configure the Update System to provide you with early updates. If you’re reading this article on a PC, scan the QR code below to download the app, else click on the QR code to reach the download page.

QR Code for Preview for Developers App

  1. Upon installation of the app, open it. Read the intro and tap next.
  2. Read the Terms and Conditions (if you want to) and tap on accept.
  3. Sign in using the same Microsoft account credentials that you used to signup for AppStudio in Part 1.
  4. Check the box in front of Enable Preview for Developers and tap done.
    preview for devs wp
    Enable Preview
  5. That’s it. You can close the app now.

Part 3 – Check for OS Updates and Install

All prerequisites for participating in the program are over. Just head over to Settings> Phone update to see if an update is already available.

The Preview update is being pushed in two phases. Firstly a tiny update of just a few MBs which makes it easy for you to update to Windows Phone 8.1. Next up is the full WP8.1 Update.

WP8.1 Developer update ready
Update Download Progress

Make sure you have a good amount of free space on your phone and charge the battery to at-least half before proceeding with the installation of update.

Time for some FAQs

I know you still have doubts in your mind. So here are answers to some of them. You can also leave a comment below.

Will it Void my Warranty?

Certainly not! Sooner or later, your phone will receive the same update through your phone manufacturer. Even though the Developer page warns about the warranty, I am sure to say that this does not affect your warranty in any way.

This is evident from the fact that during the WP8 GDR3 Preview, there were 0 reports that Nokia Care refused to honour a device’s warranty because of preview.

Will I still be eligible for Updates provided by Carrier or Manufacturer?

Yes definitely! The preview for developers only includes the Microsoft’s part of the updates and when in future, your Manufacturer and/or Carrier pushes an update, you will be able to receive it and install it normally.
However, because you have already update your OS, that update will only update your firmware, core OS remaining same.

What is the difference between OS Version and Firmware Version?

The OS version is the version of Windows Phone OS that you have. It is basically from Microsoft and stays same for all the devices running that OS built.
The Firmware version is the version of the firmware that runs complimentary to the main OS. The firmware may include specific improvements and apps like Camera improvements in case of Lumia phones.

If I update, will it erase my data?

No it won’t. The preview update will also be like the rest of the software updates. The update will be downloaded via FOTA and installed on your phone. your apps, messages and everything else will stay in place.

How much free space do I need in my Phone?

Windows Phone 8.1 is a major update to the OS and hence will require quite some space to download, extract and install the update. Keep as much free space as you can, but minimum should be around 1GB.

I don't want to get Preview. When will Official Update arrive?

I don’t see a reason why you don’t want to update to the Preview, but if you don’t want to, that’s Okay.

You will receive the official update from your manufacturer or carrier in the next couple of months. No dates are announced by any manufacturer yet, so sorry! One thing I can say according to the history is that HTC devices will be the first ones to receive official uupdates as HTC barely makes any changes with its firmware.

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