The newest Insider Preview build for Windows 10 Mobile is now available to Windows Insiders, Microsoft reports. Build 10136 promises a sleeker UI and myriad feature improvements, but be sure to read the fine print before downloading.
We've had a lot of questions about Windows 10 Mobile over the past few weeks, as Microsoft's upcoming mobile OS has gotten markedly less attention than its desktop counterpart. Now that Windows 10 for PCs and tablets is launching July 29, it looks like mobile is getting some more attention.
Build 10136 is only available for phones running Windows Phone 8.1 and opted into the Fast ring. That means if you're running the most recent Windows 10 preview, Build 10080, you'll have to reverse back to 8.1 through the Windows Phone Recovery Tool, select the Fast track via Windows Insider app, and download the new build.
The back-and-forth is due to migration issues affecting upgrades from 10080 to 10136. Microsoft debated withholding the newest build to address this, but ultimately decided (with the help of Twitter followers) that Insiders would rather not wait.
For those who don't want to re-download Windows Phone 8.1, there are no precautions to take. Your phone is still configured to download the next build, in which Microsoft expects to address the problem.
If you decide to upgrade, Microsoft cautions that the lock screen will freeze when the download process is complete. Normally a post-upgrade migration status would appear, but it's missing in this build. The freeze will last up to 10 minutes, but then the date/time will appear and you'll be able to unlock the phone.
Insiders who undergo, and complete, the bug-ridden upgrade process can explore the following new features:
- Cortana improvements: Microsoft's digital personal assistant will now track flights and packages, and provide alerts for going to work, home, or the airport. Users can inquire about weather, stock quotes, or currency and receive answers directly inline. Cortana also has a darker theme color and revamped homepage. Microsoft says that it's "very close to our final design."
- One-handed use: A design tweak for smartphones measuring at least five inches will make them easier to use with one hand. Press and hold the Start button, and the screen will slide down so you can access features at the top. Tapping the black space on the bottom of the screen (or holding the Start button again) will cause it to move up.
- Phone/Camera fixes: Photos comes with a few nifty updates. Tap a month to get a list of months and navigate old photos or double-tap to zoom in on a photo. The Lumia Camera Beta app is also available on a Lumia 640, 640XL, 930, Icon, or 1520.
- UX changes: New design features include a transparent PIN pad and changes to icons, fonts, and layout.
Microsoft also informed us of known issues for this build, which include:
- Duplicate tiles under All Apps (Search, Phone are examples)
- Skype may not work after upgrade. Work around this by uninstalling on Windows Phone 8.1 before downloading then reinstall after the upgrade.
- The "enter A1B2C3" reset may not work after too many attempts to unlock via PIN, and you won't see the PIN pad. Avoid this by pressing Emergency Call after entering the PIN then pressing Back. You should be able to enter the PIN after that.