I was sitting at my desk this morning thinking about how excited I am to test the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview, which is technically due out any day now. And it occurred to me how selfish I was being: why hadn’t I shared with you, our readers, how to install the Windows Phone 8.1 release for developers the second it’s available? How rude of me! To correct that, here’s how to make sure you’re ready to run the latest version of Windows Phone 8.1 when it hits.
Step 1: Register as a Windows Phone developer.
This is super easy and it’s not going to cost you anything, like it does to develop for some other platforms. Head to http://appstudio.windowsphone.com and sign up as a developer. This is basically Microsoft’s site for creating really simple Windows Phone apps using a web interface, and by going this route you skip the regular $19 developer registration fee.
Step 2: Download “Preview For Developers” on your Windows Phone.
Find the phone that you want to install the Windows Phone 8.1 update on and then search in the Windows Phone App Store for an application called “Preview For Developers.” This is basically the core application that’s built for developers and will force your phone to download the latest version of Windows Phone, even if it’s tied to a carrier. Keep in mind, however, that there’s no real going back once you get the latest updates that dont come from your carrier.
3. Install the latest updates.
With Preview for Developers installed, you’ll be able to manually check for the latest updates. I found that there was already an update available after I put the app on my AT&T Lumia 1520, so you’ll probably want to double check that you have the latest updates installed. That way, when Windows Phone 8.1 hits, you won’t have to wait for several patches to download and install first.
4. Wait with the rest of us.
Now that you have the app and the latest updates installed, all you have to do is sit back and wait for Microsoft to sound the horn that Windows Phone 8.1 is available. When it is, just boot up Preview for Developers, check for the latest updates yet again — this should return with a confirmation that Windows Phone 8.1 is available — and then install it. Keep in mind: the release is aimed at developers, so you’re probably going to see bugs and other issues as additional patches roll out. That said, you’ll also get a chance to check out the best new features of Windows Phone 8.1 ahead of anyone else.
Hopefully this guide helps you get your hands on the update ahead of your peers. Microsoft promises that the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview will be out during the first part of April, so it shouldn’t be much longer.