Upgrade To Windows Phone 8.1 & Enjoy A New App Store Interface!

Christian Cawley 11-07-2014

After upgrading to Windows Phone 8.1 you’re likely to find a few impressive changes, among them an overhaul of the app store. This improvement makes managing your apps far easier, as you will see.


The Old Store: What Was Wrong?

Following the upgrade from Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8, one of the most notable things was that there had been virtually no change to the Store app. Apps could still be installed and upgraded How To Install Apps On a Windows Phone 8 Device Since their launch in late 2012, Windows Phone 8 handsets have built upon the legacy established with the previous Windows Phone 7, released in 2010. There are many developments and key changes, from enabling better... Read More , but on the whole little had changed. The layout remained the same, as did how you could manage your apps.

This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing: installing apps was simple, as was rating and reviewing. App upgrades, meanwhile, had to be performed manually, but at least this method allowed you to monitor what was being updated and when.

With the same app store interface persisting into Windows Phone 8, it seemed as if this was the extent of Microsoft’s ambition in this area. So it was a relief for those who upgraded to Windows Phone 8.1 early (with the Developer Preview How To Upgrade To Windows Phone 8.1 Now If you want to speak to Cortana and get access to other cool new features, you will have to wait until June at least. Unless you'd update early. Like now. Read More ) to see just how the Store had been changed.

The New Windows Phone Store


Upon launching the Store app on your Windows Phone 8.1 device you’ll spot a new 4-screen view, starting with some featured apps. Scroll to the right to see Quick Links to Featured Apps, Top Free Games, Best Rated Games and more (scroll up and down through this list to see the full range of options).


Another swipe to the right will reveal a list of app categories, while a final swipe will display a list of recommended apps chosen for you based on others that you have recently installed. Swiping again will cycle back round to the first screen.


At the foot of the screen you will find the Search button, enabling you to search the Store for your preferred app.

Managing Apps & Downloads

When an app is installed on Windows Phone 8.1, you’ll see the progress bar running across the top third of the screen; you can also use the check install button to see how far things are from completion. Tapping View will display the app in your App List, highlighted with the word “new”.



If you like a new app, as before you can easily leave feedback by long-tapping the entry in the App List and selecting rate and review from the menu.

Expanding the menu at the foot of the new Store app (and there is only one Store for Windows Phone users, unlike Android which has several unofficial alternatives The 4 Best Google Play Alternatives for Downloading Android Apps Don't want to use the Google Play Store? Or don't have access to it? Here are the best alternative app stores for Android. Read More ) will reveal some new options, my apps, downloads and settings.

Tapping my apps will display a list of apps that have been installed on your Windows Phone device, and any previously owned handsets. The list is split up into not installed and not available for this phone, with the latter restricted due to compatibility issues (for instance, they’re incompatible with Windows Phone 8 or 8.1).



To reinstall any of the apps listed under not installed, tap the list button at the foot of the screen to begin selecting apps, then tap the Download button.

Available through the Store app menu and via the Settings > Applications screen are the Store settings, where you can toggle location and set a PIN to protect purchases. It is here that you can also decide whether to update apps automatically and limit updates to downloading over WiFi only – very useful if you’re concerned about data usage. If you have opted not to update apps automatically, you can use the check for updates button to perform this task manually.



Also in this menu you will find the downloads button, where any current downloads are displayed. You’ll also see that you can swipe to the history screen

What About The Web Store?

Interestingly, at this stage there have been no apparent changes to the web-based interface to the Windows Phone Store, found at www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store.

As before, you can use this to find and install apps to your phone over the air (OTA), although this doesn’t always work even if your computer and Windows Phone device are both online. When an install fails, however, the Store will instead send you an email with the download ink as a workaround.


It’s difficult to say whether the web store will be upgraded when Windows Phone 8.1 is rolled out. Currently, it is a long way behind the Google Play store (despite a revision in late 2012) in terms of content and app management options, so let’s hope we see some changes soon.

A Fresh New Store For Windows Phone 8.1!

The changes Microsoft has introduced to Windows Phone 8.1 are certainly worth the upgrade, and when it comes to the Store, they are improvements that help the platform overcome its lag behind Android and iOS.

There is still more that could be added (an easy uninstall option from within the Store, for example), but it’s good enough for Microsoft to turn its attention to the web interface for the Windows Phone Store and get that up to scratch.

Have you tried Windows Phone 8.1 yet? Are there any improvements you’re really pleased about, or looking forward to? The comment box below awaits your input!

Related topics: Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8.

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  1. George
    July 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Biggest drawback I see with new interface is that the app update is indicated by a very small box on the top right, hard to even notice it in the new busy store start page. This should have been the first tile - indicating updates, active downloads and any other 'attention required' stuff.

  2. Oz
    July 11, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    How can you "upgrade" to WP 8.1 its not released yet?

    • AMRooke
      July 11, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      The Developer Preview is the only "upgrade" option currently available. OEM versions are also shipping on several new devices.

  3. james
    July 11, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    You do realize this whole article is about windows phone 8.1. No computer will update to wp8.1. Did you just google for an 8.1 article to rant on? If so, you are my misplaced rage hero.

    • c1c2c3c4c
      July 11, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      It's probably another Samsung bot leaving negative reviews :/ the problem with the are you human, do you speak English questions is that they are yes 90% of the time and bots have been able to figure that much out for years even if they weren't. All it needs is a list of the 3 questions they ask.

    • c1c2c3c4c
      July 11, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      Weren't asking*** sorry phone typing

  4. Timothy Farner
    July 11, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    That's all well and fine, but for the thousands upon thousands of people with computers that won't update to 8.1 without completely restoring their computer, this improvement is worthless. I would be more impressed with Microsoft fixing the update problem. I bought 3 computers in the last year and only one of them would update to 8.1. I have tried every solution found on the internet and nothing works for the other two computers. I have too much on them to do a restore so 8.1 is useless. I'm not too disappointed because 8.1 is not much of an improvement but I know that in the future, Microsoft will push all support and apps to 8.1.

    • Janna
      July 11, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Upgrade To "Windows Phone 8.1" Not Windows 8.1. Anyway I haven't had any problems updating all my Windows 8 computers to 8.1.

    • AMRooke
      July 11, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      While off-topic (not Windows Phone 8.1 related), you may be able to get assistance with the desktop upgrade from Windows 8.0 to 8.1 by contacting Microsoft Technical Support. I was also unable to upgrade one of my 4 Windows 8 desktops to 8.1 (it would download, and install, but then said the install failed, and roll-back with a vague error code), but MS Tech Support was able to remote in and then the upgrade went as desired.