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What's new in Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1 delivers great features like Cortana, action centre and new entertainment apps – along with a host of smaller refinements that will make your phone a delight to use every day. Dive in here to see what's in our latest release. How do I get Windows Phone 8.1?

Moving from Windows Phone 8 to Windows Phone 8.1? Have a look at What's changed in Windows Phone for all the details on the differences.

Meet Cortana, your digital assistant

Cortana can help you make calls, send texts, take notes and more. She can also set reminders and alarms and keep track of things that interest you (such as news, weather or traffic). And of course Cortana's really good at finding stuff – on your phone or on the web. (Cortana is only available in the US.) Meet her

Cortana on Windows Phone

Start screen splendour

Use a favourite photo as the Tile background on your Start screen – the Tiles fit together like puzzle pieces to display the full image. There's now an optional extra column of medium tiles, too – turn it on and off in your phone's settings. Learn how to set it up

Start screen on Windows Phone

Take time to relax with quiet hours

Turn on quiet hours when you're ready for a break from rings, beeps, buzzes and banner alerts. And don't worry: Cortana can make sure your nearest and dearest can still get through. (Cortana is only available in the US.)

New apps for entertainment

Get films and TV on the go with the Xbox Video app – browse, buy and watch. The new Podcasts app makes it easier to search and subscribe, and you can now get music in the Xbox Music app.

Xbox Music on Windows Phone

A fun (and fast) new way to type

Once you get the hang of shape writing, you won't believe how quick, easy and accurate it is. Just slide your finger around the Word Flow keyboard and the words magically take shape.

Shape writing on Windows Phone

The world is your hotspot

WiFi Sense helps you save mobile data by connecting you automatically to crowdsourced open WiFi networks. It can even accept the terms of use on your behalf and provide other info to networks that ask for it. You can also use WiFi Sense to exchange access to password-protected networks with your contacts.

Find it on your phone

Get search results from your phone – including emails, messaging, contacts, settings, calendar, music and apps. You'll see your phone results alongside your web, local and other hits.

Search results on Windows Phone

Improved notifications and settings

One swipe down from the top of your screen opens action centre, where you can see notifications and quickly turn on WiFi, Bluetooth and more. The new volume control gives you separate sliders for your ringer and apps. You can back up more stuff to the cloud. And Storage Sense keeps you in control of your storage space – see what's taking up space, set your SD card as the default location for installing apps and more.

Action centre on Windows Phone

Capture that perfect moment

Kids, pets, breaching humpback whales – the new burst mode makes it easy to take great photos of challenging subjects. Plus, the camera viewfinder now offers one-tap access to your favourite settings, Lens apps and your Camera Roll.

Burst mode in Windows Phone

More from Bing

Great Bing apps now come pre-installed on your phone – Weather, News, Sport, Health & Fitness, Food & Drink and more.

A spruced-up calendar

Calendar gets a major refresh with new interactive views – tap a day and it expands to show details (and they scroll!). Plus you'll see the weather forecast for each day, and it's easy to add a new event from an email or text message.

Calendar on Windows Phone

Better browsing

Updates to Internet Explorer include InPrivate browsing, reading mode and new settings to help conserve mobile data as you browse. Plus, your tabs can now sync to your PC and Windows tablet – just sign in everywhere with your Microsoft account and you're good to go!

Sync passwords and more with Windows

Sync more with your Windows 8 tablet or PC, including many passwords and app settings. You can also sync Internet Explorer favourites and tabs, your theme colour and your favourite places in Maps.

Keep it all together in your Wallet

Keep track of even more in your Wallet – events, travel tickets and more – plus get time- and location-based reminders for your tickets and deals.

Wallet on Windows Phone

Easier than ever to get the apps you want

The Windows Phone Store now offers personalised app recommendations just for you. Your apps can now update automatically over WiFi, and you'll see your download progress in the Store app. You'll also be able to view your app purchase history, making it easy to reinstall.

Windows Phone Store

For business

Now you can use VPN to connect to your workplace network on your phone. S/MIME offers added security for emails sent to and from an Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) account, and workplace accounts provide a handy way for companies to give employees the apps and info they need to do their jobs. Plus, new features in Office Mobile make it even easier to get work done on the go: save Office docs to your SD card and share even more things to OneNote.

New for accessibility

Whether it's emails, text messages, settings or other text on your phone, you can count on Narrator to read it aloud for you.

Notes

  • Some apps and features won't work on phones with less than 1 GB of RAM. To see how much memory your phone has, check the manufacturer's website or your phone's documentation. Some features might not be available in your country or region or may vary depending on your mobile operator or manufacturer. For more information, see Feature and service availability.
  • Some features are only available if your phone is running the latest version of the Windows Phone software. See How do I update my phone software? for more information about how to update your phone.

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