Recent Features - How To

'Your Phone' in 2021: What is it, is it finished, who's it for?

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Microsoft's 'Your Phone' software, now effectively built into Windows (in that you're prompted to 'link your phone' when first signing into Windows on a PC), has been evolving nicely through 2019 and 2020, see the linked stories below. But it's not quite a 'slam dunk' yet, partly due to mobile platform limitations, partly because it still feels a little like a solution to a problem that few people have in the real world...

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Status report for January 2021: services and apps on Windows 10 Mobile

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Here, for January 2021, is 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. Details and links have all been updated throughout. Note that I've kept the URL the same, so the last seven months of comments are all still here.

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Anatomy of a smartphone photo #18: Graveyard Wonder

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In the latest in our occasional series on smartphone photography, I may have moved on from a Lumia as a day to day phone, but the ideas and ambitions are still there. In this example, I return to the graveyard featured in #17, but this time with oodles of December fog to add atmosphere. The result? One of the favourite photos I think I've ever taken with a phone.

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How to: Sync to-dos and reminders between Windows, Cloud, Android

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A few weeks ago, as the latest benefit from its ever closer integration with Microsoft products, Samsung flipped a switch in their 'Reminder' application on their Android 10 (and upwards) smartphones, enabling full sync with Microsoft's To-Do system (Windows 10 Mobile, Desktop, Cloud, inside Outlook, etc.) And it all works, in fact it does so as well as anyone might hope for, and (for AAWP readers) this includes compatibility with 'ye olde' Windows 10 Mobile. Screenshot proof and a walk-through below!

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Continuum-esque Windows hot-desking, 2020 style

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I thought this might be of interest, from someone who was all in on Windows 10 Mobile and Continuum (or Android and Samsung DeX) as the way forward four years ago. Even though Windows 10 Mobile had the rug pulled out from under its feet by Microsoft and then died the death of (lack of) a thousand apps, the dream of hot-desking lives on in other guises. Witness my data point below - it's not a perfect solution but it's technically elegant.

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Pimping the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro (2020 edition)

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What happens to a media-specialising smartphone when its OS runs out of steam? I explore this in 'pimping' the 2017 IDOL 4 Pro, one of my favourite devices, into limited but effective action in late 2020. A super screen, premium build, superb wired audio, and loud stereo speakers all impress. Who cares about the rest of the world? (I've left the original early 2019 comments in place, for interest!)

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Old, but not obsolete: Windows 10 Mobile Threshold's new life

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In the fourth 'gentle hacker' guest post from Nico, from Italy, he switches away from flagships and looks at older and lower end Lumias which struggle with the latest Windows 10 Mobile builds - WP8.1 is no longer practical, but what about a halfway house? What about sticking with 'Threshold', the very first W10M build from the end of 2015? It turns out that there's a sweet spot here where more apps and services work for these less capable devices. But as usual, put on your geek hat for best results!

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An unofficial Windows 10 Mobile branch guide

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Drawing on guest contributor Nico's experience, here's our guide to where each Windows Phone (8.1) and Windows 10 Mobile smartphone should end up. No, not Microsoft's official 'end of support' branch for each, but where an enterprising geek like yourself might take them with the aid of the usual interop tools and phone ID spoofing. 

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How to: 'Unlock' Lumias 550, 650, 950 and 950 XL

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Guest author Nico brings us a guide to 'unlocking' any of the Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile Lumias, with the example aim of replacing the boot and closedown graphics, but I'm sure there are more practical things possible. Yes, we've reached that 'hacking' stage of an OS, where the manufacturer isn't interested anymore, so it's down to users to play around under the hood, it seems. 

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Windows 10 (Mobile) Maps meets Flight Simulator 2020

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Windows 10's maps have always been pretty good, part sourced from HERE and partly from other places and their own research. You've been using them in the Maps UWP application in your Lumia or similar for years. Which is why I was fascinated by the video embedded below, with Microsoft's new (and much-acclaimed) Flight Simulator 2020 using Bing Maps and aerial imagery directly, applying elevation data and detailed 3D models to present a super-realistic world to fly in.

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