Apps + games

Download apps and games FAQ

  • Your phone might have temporarily lost its Internet connection, or you might be trying to download an app that's too big to download over your phone's cellular data connection. If you're trying to download an app larger than 50 megabytes (MB)—this applies to many games—you'll need to connect to a Wi-Fi network, or connect the phone to your computer and use the Zune software.

    1. Make sure you have a connection. On Start, tap Marketplace Marketplace Tile.

    2. At the bottom of the screen, you'll see the number of incomplete downloads. Tap it to see the downloads queue.

    3. Tap and hold the stuck app or game, and then tap Retry. If it doesn't work, connect to Wi-Fi and try again. You can also tap Retry, connect your phone to your computer, and start the Zune software. This will automatically download the app to your phone.

    Tip

    One common cause of a lost Wi-Fi connection is a screen time-out, which pauses your connection and can prevent apps from downloading. If you're downloading lots of games and other large apps on your phone via Wi-Fi, you might want to temporarily increase the screen time-out period or disable it. To learn how, see Lock screen FAQ.

  • The people who create apps and games for Windows Phone are constantly making tweaks and improvements, fixing bugs or adding new features. When a newer version of an app you own is available for download in Marketplace, you'll know it.

    On Start, you'll see a number on the Marketplace Tile that indicates how many of your apps have updates available.

    When you open the Marketplace Hub, you'll also see a message at the bottom indicating you have updates available. Tap the message to see the list and start installing them.

  • You may not have the latest version of the Windows Phone operating system (OS) on your phone. You'll need Windows Phone 7.5 to download and update apps.

    If you're not sure which software version is currently installed on your phone or how to install the latest update, visit Update central.

  • When you buy apps or games from the Windows Phone Store on the web, there are three ways to have them delivered and installed on your phone. Here are the options, from fastest to slowest:

    • Automatically: This is the fastest and easiest way to get an app you've picked up from the web Store. If you turn on this option on your phone (it's off by default), apps or games are automatically installed, typically moments after you click the Buy button. To make this possible, on Start, flick left to the App list, tap Settings, tap Find My Phone, and select Connect to these features faster (may use more battery). Because this option can use more battery power, it's disabled if the phone's Battery Saver feature kicks in.
    • Text messaging: If the previous option is turned off, you can opt to have an app sent the same way a text message (SMS) gets delivered. You must provide your phone number and permission to receive text messages from Microsoft, but you won't get an actual message. Instead, the app or game will just start installing on your phone. This option doesn't use any additional battery power, but these messages count against your monthly messaging plan if it's not unlimited. So to save on messaging charges, you can only have 15 apps delivered this way during any 24-hour period.
    • Email: During checkout, you might see an option to have installation instructions emailed to your phone. If you pick this option, you'll have to enter your email address. A few moments later you'll receive an email containing a link to the app in the Marketplace Hub. You can install the app at your convenience by tapping the Install or Buy buttons. Since you already paid for the app online, you won't be charged twice.
  • Many apps or games you buy from Marketplace are designed to take advantage of specific hardware and software features of your Windows Phone. For example, a photo app might need to use your phone's camera, and a restaurant guide might need to know your location to provide nearby recommendations.

    Some processor-intensive apps have memory requirements, and won't work on phones with 256 MB of RAM. You can check how much memory you have on your phone by tapping Settings > About.

    You can see what features an app requires by looking at the app's details screen in Marketplace. Apps are required to ask you for permission before using certain phone features. Here's a list of features you'll see listed:

    • Appointments: Allows an app to access the calendar and appointment info on your phone.
    • Camera: Allows an app to access the phone's built-in camera.
    • Compass: Allows an app to access the phone's built-in compass, if available.
    • Contacts: Allows an app to access the contact info on your phone.
    • Data services: Your phone's cellular data or Wi-Fi connection.
    • Gyroscope: Allows an app to access the phone's built-in gyroscope, if available.
    • Location services: The approximate location coordinates of your phone. To learn more, see Location and my privacy FAQ.
    • Photo, music, and video libraries: Allows an app to access all photos, music, and videos on your phone.
    • Microphone: Allows an app to access the phone's built-in microphone.
    • Owner identity: An anonymous identifier that allows an app to distinguish one person from another, but provides no personal info.
    • Phone identity: A unique device identifier that allows an app to distinguish one phone from another.
    • Push notification services: Notifications that an app automatically sends to your phone in the background.
    • Ringtones: Allows an app to access the ringtone collection on your phone.
    • Xbox LIVE: Allows an app to access the Xbox LIVE service or your account info.
  • App Connect is a feature of Windows Phone 7.5 that makes apps more useful and convenient—and that can also help you discover apps you didn't know you needed. You'll see evidence of App Connect in several areas of your phone. The Pictures Hub, for example, shows photo apps you've downloaded; the Music + Videos Hub lists apps related to music or video. Launching an app from either of these places can sometimes have added benefits: Depending on the app, Windows Phone might be able to send relevant information to the app to save you time—for example, the name of the artist or song you're playing. (In many cases, it's up to the app developer to make behavior like this possible, which is why you won't find all your photo-related apps in your Pictures Hub, for example.)

    App Connect also comes into play when you do web searches, especially for movies, products, and places. In some cases, you'll see a relevant app suggestion right at the top of your search results. In other cases, you'll see apps mentioned when you drill into the details of a search for movies, products, and places—like a cinema app when you're looking at showtimes.

  • Microsoft is continuing a series of infrastructure upgrades to improve Windows Phone Marketplace. While most Windows Phone users’ phones have automatically been switched over to the improved Windows Phone Marketplace infrastructure, in the coming weeks a small number of users will need to install a simple Refresh Marketplace App to continue using Marketplace to download and/or update Windows Phone apps.

    The Refresh Marketplace App is a small app developed by Microsoft to help some Windows Phone users complete their transition to the improved Windows Phone Marketplace infrastructure. The app will make changes to the Marketplace configuration on the phone to ensure that it communicates with the updated online Marketplace infrastructure. Installation of this FREE app involves the same basic installation steps as any Windows Phone app. You can download it over a cellular data connection or Wi-Fi, and it takes only a few minutes to install and run.

    If you are one of the small number of users who needs to install and run the Refresh Marketplace App to continue using Marketplace, you will receive a You must install the Refresh Marketplace App notice and will see this app as the only one featured within the Marketplace Hub on your phone. Follow the instructions below to download and install the Refresh Marketplace App:

    1. Ensure your Windows Phone is connected to a cellular data connection or Wi-Fi.

    2. Open the Marketplace Hub.

    3. Tap the Refresh Marketplace App icon or name to go to the app details page, and then tap Install to download and install the app. The Refresh Marketplace App will be installed within the Games Hub on your phone, opening the Games Hub in the process.

    4. Find and tap the Refresh Marketplace App in the Games Hub, then follow the on-screen instructions to complete reconfiguring your phone to access the updated online Marketplace infrastructure.

    5. Re-open the Marketplace Hub. You should no longer see the You must install the Refresh Marketplace App notice, and you should be able to see various featured apps and games. You can now continue to use Marketplace on your Windows Phone—enjoy! If you choose, you can uninstall the Refresh Marketplace App at this time.

    Troubleshooting

    If, after following the previous steps, you continue to receive the You must install the Refresh Marketplace App notice or are unable to install apps from the Marketplace Hub on your phone, do the following:

    Basic

    1. Turn off your Windows Phone by holding down the power button and following the on-screen instruction to Slide down to power off.

    2. After a few seconds, push the power button to restart your phone.

    3. Ensure your Windows Phone is connected to a cellular data connection or Wi-Fi, then plug it in using the wall charger that came with your phone. Leave your phone plugged in for at least 10 minutes, then try again to access Marketplace.

    4. Re-open the Marketplace Hub. You should no longer see the You must install the Refresh Marketplace App notice, and you should be able to see various featured apps and games. You can now continue to download apps from Marketplace—enjoy!

    If you continue to have problems, see the following Advanced steps.

    Advanced

    1. From the Start screen on your Windows Phone, flick left to the App List. Go to the Games Hub and note whether the Games Hub icon says Xbox LIVE or not. If yes, continue with Step 2. If not, skip to Step 5.

    2. Tap the Xbox LIVE Games icon to open the Games Hub.

    3. Tap MoreMore icon, then tap Refresh. You should see Updating... on the top-left of the screen. When this goes away, continue to Step 4.

    4. Re-open the Marketplace Hub. You should no longer see the You must install the Refresh Marketplace App notice, and you should be able to see various featured apps and games. You can now continue to use Marketplace—enjoy!

      If you continue to have problems, do the following:

    5. If your Games Hub icon doesn't say Xbox LIVE (or if Steps 1-4 don't restore the full Marketplace experience), plug in your Windows Phone using it's wall charger, ensure your phone is connected to a cellular data connection or Wi-Fi, and charge your phone for at least 24 hours. During this time, your phone will automatically attempt to connect to the updated online Windows Phone Marketplace infrastructure, after which you should be able to continue using Marketplace.

      If after following all of the steps above you continue to have problems, contact Microsoft Support.

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