Here are all the new available (and hidden) features in Windows Phone 8.1

The past few days have been quite eventful in terms of details on Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update. Thanks to a leaked SDK, which was originally intended to be used by select developers, we have been able to get our hands on some upcoming new features, as well as unveil features that are hidden in the SDK.

Two Windows Phone developers have taken time out of their busy app development schedule to put together a comprehensive list of all the available (and hidden) features in Windows Phone 8.1. While the list of features may be long, keep in mind that not all features may make it to the final update. 

“The features listed below were pulled from MUI strings directly from the emulator’s file system. These are subject to change as the current SDK is a preview. We won’t know until the RTM is released,” developer Jeremy Sinclair notes on his blog. Without further ado, here is the list of all the features:

  • Sharing secure WI-Fi Networks with contacts if they have Wi-Fi Sense. They don’t get to see the shared password though
  • Social notifications will now show up in action center by swiping from the top of the screen
  • Operators can now control data sense limits remotely
  • Operators can also install certain applications once a SIM card is detected
  • Along with normal updates, there are now “important” updates.
  • Options to always download emails and pictures within them
  • Encrypted and signed e-mail support
  • Change default SMS app. You can also change which SMS app will show notifications.
  • Enterprise enrolled phones can have their passwords changed and remotely locked
  • “Type as I swipe through letters”. This means we will be seeing Swype-like functionality.
  • Geofence monitoring support. Geofence is a boundary around a place of interest to you. Location services can monitor geofences to tell your apps when you’re entering and leaving them. This would be really good for IFTTT
  • Office Lens support. Will scan in documents and screens
  • The phone will have to update to the latest version before you can restore it to factory settings
  • Option to update store apps automatically
  • Option to update store apps when only on Wi-Fi
  • App Suggestions by location
  • Manual App Update checks
  • Video Calling Support? I don’t know if we will be given choices of which VOIP provider to use. Maybe Skype video calling will be built-in?
  • Password protected Office document support
  • Trusted app list for NFC that will remove the need for asking whether you want to open a particular app.
  • In-call speech commands. You’ll be able to say “Call XXXXXX”.
  • Double-Tap to unlock your phone (Feature from Lumia devices on Amber Update and newer)
  • Lock Notification (Feature from Lumia devices on Amber Update and newer I was thinking of Glance for some reason. This could also mean notifications of apps on the lock screen. We don’t know where these strings are being used in the UI, so this one is a speculation)
  • Quiet Hours
  • Double Tap to Power Off
  • Notification if charger isn’t of adequate power
  • Screenshot button combination is now Power + Volume Up (Since the newer phones will have the start button on screen)
  • Chkdsk for SD Cards essentially
  • Apps on SD Cards are only allowed from ONE originating phone. If it detects that apps from another phone are installed on the SD Card, then it will ask to delete those first
  • Voice Narrator for Accessibility
  • The Search button will be the new way to open Speech instead of the Start button
  • New Email sync options with accordance to usage patterns (i.e. If you get a lot of mail on particular days and if you don’t check mail every day).
  • Change the size and amount of tiles on your start screen.
  • Wallet supports tickets and membership cards
  • App Syncing
  • Backups now include application data
  • Screen Reader functionality (Maybe Text-To-Speech for apps?)
  • Screen Recording functionality
  • Inner Circle of contacts. Up to 40 contacts can be in the inner circle.
  • You can favorite photos by tapping a heart icon
  • Virtual SmartCard support

So as you can see, Windows Phone 8.1 has quite a bit of new features available (and hidden). Will we see all of them when the update is released? Who knows. Either way, we are excited for this update. Which feature are you looking forward to the most? Sound off in the comments below! 

30 Responses

  1. digeratti says:

    Notification center
    Actionable notifications
    Better backup – was hoping it would include Start Screen configuration.
    More tiles

    • Nham Thien Duong says:

      The Notification Centre is very welcome, it’s like the Today Screen back (as the return of ALL features from Windows Mobile 6.5(.5)), as for Cortana I really can’t wait to try it out, I mean if you compare Microsoft’s TellMe Networks’ Speech recognition in Windows Phone (then fuse it with Microsoft Voice Commands) you’d really have a better speech system than most of Google Now, personally I don’t get the hype around Google Now, and Siri is actually the better one out of the 2 in interaction, and Microsoft promised us that they’ll only release Cortana when it’s ”revolutionary”, so I am expecting a lot.

      • StarEy3 says:

        Microsoft has the potential to innovate more than all the other companies, is just that they can’t keep up with the demand, take the Surface tablets as an example, whenever Microsoft re-stocks them, they get sold-out within 72 hours

  2. neonspark says:

    nothing really strikes me as a game changer. features both iOS and Android have had for years. If this is how microsoft intends to compete…if compete is what they call being stuck for 3rd, then their mobile fortunes aren’t going to turn around.
    and what’s with the stale UI? metro was new in 2011 with 800×480 screens. but the current huge text on black and white high contrast got old fast. what’s the point of high DPI if WP uses huge fonts and huge tiles none of which look particularly exiting any more.
    did I mention there is also not a single feature that shouldn’t have shipped with 8.0? this is just an apology update.

    • arrow2010 says:

      Concern troll.

      • StarEy3 says:

        Let’s just wait till Microsoft gets on 1st or second Place on Mobile Marketshare and let’s see what you will have to say after………………………

    • Mateer L says:

      I agree with you, these are features which should’ve been with the OS. But the fact is OS is still new. WP doesn’t seem to be getting much innovative features to differentiate it from the rest, rather just features to fill the gap. That’s because it’s 8.1, not 9. expect major additions to OS, with major version changes.

      • Nham Thien Duong says:

        It’s not NEW, in fact Windows Phone SEVEN (7) was a follow up to Windows Mobile 6.X(.X) which is the same series (also W.P. is a successor to both Zune and the KIN devices), just because there is no app compatibility doesn’t make a whole new O.S. (look at the Xbox One which isn’t compatible with the Xbox 360 for that matter), and so far Microsoft is putting ALL the features from Windows Mobile (as mentioned above, I ain’t writin’ da 6.x… (wh)o$ops I just did it), playing catch-up is the first step in getting ahead, the 2nd is implementing new features ¿do either iO.S. or Android have Kid’s Corner? Nope, and the whole main thing about Windows Phone now is fusing it with Windows P.C.’s thus giving both a better edge ¿does iO.S. fully sync with O.S. X? not really ¿does Google have a powerful Desktop O.S.? L.O.L. no, the Google Chrome O.S. is far from it, Microsoft is now putting as much features in it, trying to ”fill the gap” and also giving Windows Phone their own spin, the whole idea of Windows Phone is having Windows on your phone, something which they are doing now.

        • Mateer L says:

          WP8 is a completely different OS from it’s successors because it’s kernel is different. It uses the NT kernel, same as Windows & Xbox One. Hence it’s new, backwards compatibility absence is a result of that. Blackberry brought too little too late, and hence failed, MS did better. But they need to bring in essential features as well as eye catching features with each release if they want more of the market share cake,

      • StarEy3 says:

        Let’s just call Windows Phone a heavy-WIP ok? and that’s a good thing :D

    • Nham Thien Duong says:

      There are little to few features that other O.S.’es really have, most of those Microsoft has a Bing app, the only regrets Microsoft SHOULD have is dropping lots of features from Windows Mobile, but they’re ALL getting back, so Microsoft will make right for that, as for ”unique features” on either iPhones or Androids I have only seen small lists of things that Microsoft needs, the largest complaint remains the so-called ”app gap”, without that Windows Phone would have the upper hand, I’ve counted features, and Windows Phone has more (by literally counting them, and Hubs are multiple features in one place), Android’s largerst power remains the dedication of the O.E.M.’s as it’s a light-weight operating system, and iO.S. is really buggy and most ”features” in it are mere gimmicks, gimmicks Windows Phone is getting anyway in the next update.

      • StarEy3 says:

        The only real feature that average users would want is better battery life, that meaning that when someone invents a battery that can last forever, everyone will want to buy that phone, no matter what the OS is (Whoever invents a phone with that battery will be millionaire withing days or maybe even billionaire)

  3. Sargon says:

    File Explorer (or OneDrive with local access) and File Picker & File Saver, which allows IE (and hopefully other programs) to save and upload files (at last).
    And these 2 features were not mentioned in this list for some reason….

    Also I find it very annoying that they include swipe keyboard before adding numbers to top keyboard keys. I just hate WP’s keyboard for still not having them after all this time.

    • Mitonline says:

      you can do it just hit the numbers key and swipe to the desired # once you lift your fingers it will go back to normal keyboard…

      • Sargon says:

        I know that, but to me just having numbers on top would be much easier. They have it in Windows 8.1 touch keyboard, so why not here?

        • robertwade says:

          I’m not willing to give up the screen real estate for something so lame. We are already about to lose some of it to on-screen buttons because they stupidly want to get rid of capacitive buttons. I’m finding myself losing interest in Windows Phone…and I’ve been one of its biggest fans.

    • We only included features that were not well known yet.

    • Nham Thien Duong says:

      True, so far I can tell that ALL features from Windows Mobile 6.5(.X) are returning, a File Explorer, File Picker & File Saver being one of the few (see the list above) of them, and the integration with OneDrive will hopefully function the same as here on a P.C.

      The keyboard on the other hand is not a problem once you’re used to it, but Microsoft should include a special keyboard for landscape and larger screens to tackle the issue you just noted.

      • Sargon says:

        Well I doubt that File Explorer / OneDrive will be exactly like it is on PC and was on WM. On PC and WM you have full access to the system, I’m afraid WP will still be pretty restricted, only giving us access to those 5 folders we see when we connect to PC.
        Oh well it’s still MUCH better than what we have now. Maybe sometime in future there will also be a “Pro” version of WP with full access to the system, so it would be a true Windows Experience for those who want it.

  4. StarEy3 says:

    Can’t wait, but of course is worthless if it is buggy so Microsoft, take your time

    • Nham Thien Duong says:

      I agree, we now see ALL Windows Mobile 6.5(.X) features/built-in functionality returning, but the only reason they weren’t brought along to the Windows Phone 7 Series was because back then it would’ve been to buggy (even though both were/are based on the Windows C.E. kernel), now it’s FINALLY the time for them to return because Microsoft has had the time for it, and we shouldn’t forget how Apple failed with iO.S. 7 and earlier updates by releasing it too quickly, many iPhone-users still chose not to update/upgrade their phones because they have bad experiences with ”buggy updates”, so this is very much worth the wait.

  5. mohamadreza nakhleh says:

    Double tap to power off !!!! What is this gonna do?

    • StarEy3 says:

      I hope is disabled by default, it should be really annoying, unless it only shuts down under certain circumstances

  6. Nham Thien Duong says:

    So far these features are really welcome, I’ve really hoped to get syncronization between Internet Explorer & Internet Explorer Mobile (formerly Pocket Internet Explorer), I’m also very glad that Windows Phone 8.1 (Blue) will include ALL features from Windows Mobile 6.5(.X) back into the system so all ”old-school-”users will be pleased to return/stay on the platform, and I see a lot of Windows 8.1 (Blue) P.C. features coming over, though the only built-in feature I don’t see is Sound Recording which honestly makes more sense to be one a phone, I do know that Microsoft OneNote also has that functionality in a way, but I’d love to see a dedicated ”simple” app for like like on my P.C. :-)

  7. StarEy3 says:

    Waiting for bug free Windows Phone 8.1 so I can finally brag that Android sucks :D and I will have proof for that :D :D

  8. Thomas says:

    A music player with the ability to scroll forwards or backwards would be a nice simple addition

    • StarEy3 says:

      This is the incomplete list of features, as Windows Phone 8.1 is still going to be a Work In Progress till April

  9. LlamaTripster says:

    I really do hope that “On-Screen-Key” bullshit is well bullshit…

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