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Well, it had to happen eventually, though it's still sad to see Microsoft finally drop the Insider build provisioning for old devices which topped out at the Anniversary Update (AU), from 2016. This back door was used until recently by all and sundry to get older phones* up from Windows 10 Mobile AU up to the Creators Update (CU, Spring 2017), giving them an extra six months of full support (up to Summer 2019). Stuck on AU, these older phones will run out of security patches and bug fixes before the end of 2018.
Unbelievably, we don't seem to have reviewed this secure database (i.e. secret stuff manager) system before on AAWP. Even in the days of the WP8.1 version. And at some point a Windows 10 UWP version was released... and we still didn't review it. Partly the developers' fault for not, you know, contacting us - ever, but we should have spotted it anyway. Making up for lost time, here's a look at the latest generation of this massively sophisticated personal security tool.
In this week's podcast, Rafe Blandford and I chew over the last 10 days worth of stories and news, covering Windows Hello, PDF reading, PWAs (again) and Operation Elop (oh boy)... See the show notes below!
Windows 10 Mobile's imperfections are well known, at least around these parts, since we're intensive users. (Ask the wider world and they probably think the OS is dead.) And, while waiting for Microsoft and an all-singing folding phablet, there's a very real temptation to switch over to Android as your phone OS of choice. But is the grass any greener on that side of the fence? In this feature, I present, hopefully honestly, the various pros and cons.
Surprising everyone, this month's 'February update for branch 1709' from Microsoft includes new Windows Hello code that completely fixes the fingerprint recognition issues that the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro has had since launch.
Microsoft's continued changes to the Edge browser (hopefully continuing to make it more secure and more powerful) under Windows 10 Mobile have had a side effect - it now makes a mess of reading PDF (Acrobat) files, with blank pages or error messages. Microsoft has promised a fix in the next update, but in the meantime, here's how to carry on reading your downloaded PDF documents.
People think of our OS being dead. Not quite. We're still looking at (up to) two years of support in terms of monthly patches and fixes for Windows 10 Mobile. And build 15254.248 (from .158) is fresh out today, so go grab it for all phones currently on the 'Fall Creators Update'.
I have a confession to make - the 'finally!' in the title refers to my logistics, not to the application or its developer. 'ini Reader' has been a Windows Phone 8.1 application for years, letting users browse their Feedly aggregated news, and some time (cough - over a year) ago it got a big Windows 10 UWP rewrite. And it sat in my to-do list ever since. But I'm making that right with a review now.
A week or two ago I did a feature on running modern (2018) PWAs (Progressive Web Applications) under Edge on Windows 10 Mobile. And, while it's clear that Edge/W10M will never get to the same functionality level as desktop browsers, most PWAs run just fine right now. In this case, I wanted to highlight Google Maps Go, a PWA designed for running on low end Android phones. Turns out it runs perfectly under Windows 10 Mobile too!
The Insiders programme came with a number of warnings, along the lines of 'by opting in, you agree that things may go horribly wrong and you may need to wipe your device at some point in the future'. Now, most of us ignored this glibly, upgrading away, switching Insiders rings without a care in the world, and usually without incident. But glitches do happen, not just in The Matrix, but also in the Windows 10 Mobile Insiders programme. And here's the full tale of how my 950 XL was restored to 100% functionality...