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What's new in Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1 delivers great new features 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?

Want more details? Download the Help+Tips app for Windows Phone 8.1 to search for help topics and see videos and animated tips on your phone. To see what's different since our last release, take a look at What's changed in Windows Phone.

If you're looking for what's new in Windows Phone 8.1 Update (the first update for Windows Phone 8.1) go to the end of this article.

Meet Cortana. 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 some countries and regions.) Meet her

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

Find some downtime. Turn on quiet hours when you're ready for a break from rings, beeps, buzzes and banner alerts. And don't worry: Cortana can let people know you're busy, fill you in later on who's called and make sure your inner circle can still get through. (Cortana is only available in some countries and regions.)

Quiet hours on Windows Phone

Entertainment apps. 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 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 crowd-sourced 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.

Filing fun. With the Files app, you can search for, open, copy, share, move and delete docs, photos, music and more on your phone and SD card.

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 the 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

Project yourself. You can now project your phone screen to a PC to show off family photos and whatever else you want. Just download the Project My Screen app to your PC, plug in a USB cable and project away.

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

More from MSN. Great MSN apps now come preinstalled on your phone – Weather, News, Sports, Health & Fitness, Food & Drink and more.

Spruced-up calendar. The 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!

Internet Explorer on Windows Phone

Sync 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.

More 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

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.

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.

New in Windows Phone 8.1 Update

If you've already received Windows Phone 8.1 Update (the first update for Windows Phone 8.1), you'll see a few new features. Which version do I have?

Folders on Start. Get organised! Now you can create folders on your Start screen and name them whatever you'd like – just tap and hold a Tile, then push it on top of another one.

Start screen folders on Windows Phone

Apps Corner. With Apps Corner, you can set up a special place on your phone where other people can use only the apps you choose – useful for setting up phones for employees, students or colleagues.

Cortana on wheels. Using a Bluetooth hands-free system in your car? Now you can get Cortana's attention by tapping the contact named "Cortana". She can also do more things while your phone is locked.

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 phone 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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