Unsupported Windows Phones Can No Longer Get Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Builds

Posted on July 29, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows Phones with 1 Comment

Unsupported Windows Phones Can No Longer Get Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Builds

Three years ago this month, the Lumia 1020 was the greatest smartphone on the planet. But it is no longer supported with OS upgrades from Microsoft.

Windows phone fans, you knew this day was coming. But now it’s official: The “RTM” version of Windows 10 Mobile version 1607—that is, build 14393.x—is the last version that Windows Insiders can install on unsupported Windows phones.

Technically, the ability to install pre-release Windows Insider builds to unsupported Windows phones was removed back in March when Microsoft shipped the final version of Windows 10 Mobile version 1511 and then revealed that it would renege on previous promises and only support the upgrade on certain Windows Phone 8.1 handsets.

But there was a workaround, in the sense that Microsoft allowed users to upgrade non-supported Windows Phone 8.1 handsets to pre-release Windows 10 Mobile Insider builds as long as they stuck to the Release Preview ring. Allowed; not supported.

Today, that workaround is ending. With the release of build 14393.x (we’re at 14393.5 today, but there could be a few more small iterations), Microsoft is indicating that Windows 10 Mobile version 1607 has reached that “RTM” milestone. And that this will be the last build delivered through the Insider Program to unsupported phones. So here’s a phrase Windows phone users have to be comfortable with by now: This is the end of the line.

“Unsupported devices will not receive any builds or updates newer than 10586.x,” Microsoft reveals in a post to its support community. “Unsupported devices will not be able to select any Windows Insider Preview rings in the Windows Insider app. [And] updates to apps and services may not be available for unsupported devices and in some cases may limit certain experiences.”

Game over, man. Game over.

As Microsoft notes, and as I recommend give how lackluster the Windows 10 Mobile experience is on previous-generation hardware, you can always use the Windows Device Recovery Tool to reset your handset back to Windows Phone 8.1. This will have two side-effects. One, you will lose whatever data is on the phone, so be sure to back up first. And now you will no longer have the option to upgrade back to Windows 10 Mobile. That workaround is closed.

As Brad explained back in March, yes, this whole thing is a mess, and egos and feelings are still frayed over Microsoft’s broken promises. But one year and about $10 billion in write-offs after Microsoft finally admitted defeat in the smartphone market, I will again remind Windows phone enthusiasts that it is absolutely astonishing how well Microsoft supports an audience as small as that which still uses its phones. I know this is hard on those who have beat the drum the loudest for Windows phone. But it’s also completely understandable from a support perspective.

It’s time to move forward.


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