One month on from the previous update, here's the refreshed/latest news and comment on applications and services on Windows 10 Mobile - the OS itself has now had its very last security update, but it still works on the whole. This feature will summarise what's broken and what's not, along with workarounds where possible. Note that I've kept the URL the same, so March's comments are all still here.
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The really interesting thing about Windows 10 Mobile is that it's fully backwards compatible with old Windows Phone 8 software. Even for games. Which you really wouldn't think after browsing the Microsoft Store, since many of the classic titles aren't there anymore. But that's no reason to be disheartened, especially if you're prone to a little installing and unzipping, since there are archives of classic WP8 games online and it's the work of moments (once you've got everything in place) to 'sideload' these titles to your Lumia 950 or similar in the current day.
This is somewhat obvious if you think about it, but it's worth expanding on anyway, since it almost caught me out yesterday. There are a number of readers with older phones - Lumia 640/XL, 730/735, 830, 930 and 1520 is a good (though not definitive) list - which started out on Windows Phone 8.1 but which were offered Windows 10 Mobile, at least via Microsoft's Upgrade Advisor utility. And have been running W10M smoothly. But now in 2020, in the event of problems, don't even think of using long time stalwart utility WDRT (Windows Device Recovery Tool) to restore your phone's original OS in order to 'rebuild'. Let me explain...
"It's Surface phone the way it should have been", comments guest writer Arpolend Sevostyanov. He writes "It’s an interesting time for Windows phone owners, as the official support of Windows 10 Mobile is coming to the end, installing custom firmware made by enthusiasts on daily drivers becomes a viable alternative. One of the most exciting such projects is called 'WoA project' and I’ve been using my Lumia 950XL with WoA for about 3 months - here are my first impressions."
The question is a tantalising one. How would someone get on setting up a Windows 10 Mobile smartphone from scratch... in 2020? i.e. a starting point of up to date security but no more updates to come - ever, plus a patchy set of mainstream services. I keep the latter tabulated and up to date here, but I also thought it worth documenting how everything comes together (or not) on a freshly factory reset Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, certainly the slickest and shiniest (and boy, is it slippery) Windows phone ever made.
With some social applications, comms apps and Microsoft services being phased out as time goes on, I thought a ready reference table of where Windows 10 Mobile stands would be useful. And I'll revisit this every month to update each section as needed. In summary, there's likely to be little disruption to 'normal' activities this year but a few more caveats in 2020, now that Windows 10 Mobile is out of official support. [This is the January 2020 update, a month on from the previous one.]
With Facebook having stopped their first party (OSmeta-based and very bloated) applications for Windows 10 Mobile months ago, users have had to look elsewhere for their fix of family news and jokes. So what options are still working and what about Facebook Messanger and Instagram (also now part of Facebook's empire)? I investigate, in this last feature before Christmas. (AAWP will be back on December 27th.)
A few years ago I rounded up ways to view (and edit) PDF files under Windows 10 Mobile, prompted by Microsoft's Edge browser failing at the time to read these (usually) reference files. Happily, Edge has been sorted out in the meantime, plus some of the third party options have changed, so here's a more up to date round-up!
In my video stabilisation feature here, I was asked in the comments to do a test of audio capture in video mode - i.e. how good are modern microphones in smartphones? The short answer is: very good. Gone are the bad old days of Nokia being the only manufacturer that cared enough about audio to put decent high amplitude microphones in its smartphones. See below for video and audio proof.
Whether you're wiping a Lumia to give it to someone else, or to sell it, or you're just being super-cautious about which devices have your data on, there will be occasions when a phone needs a full factory reset. Yes, there's a finnicky button sequence to do this on a Windows 10 Mobile phone, but don't worry, there's also an official way, through Settings. Here's a walk-through...