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    Earlier this year when Verizon finally released the Lumia Icon, I gave the phone a solid review. However, one thing that always bothered me about Verizon's Lumia phones is their lack of color. For instance, the Icon comes only in white or black, but there is no red, which would seem like an obvious choice for the rosy-hued carrier.

    Fast forward to mid-year and the Lumia 930 picks up some borderline neon green, and bright orange back covers. Is there a way to switch them to add color to your Lumia Icon? You bet, and you can find the answers in our forums.

    In a thread titled 'Orange and green backs' forum member 'moverton asks the question about swapping back plates and reader 'malachijd' answers. Reportedly, the process is "very simple" although you do need to purchase a few items, including:

    • New Back: Green, Orange, White or Black. 11.90€
    • NFC Module 4.50€
    • Wireless Charging Module 6.60€
    • LED 7.43€

    The total investment is about $60 if you buy it all at once through a third-party website, detailed in this post. Removing the back is mentioned in the official disassembly guide (PDF) and overall, the project looks relatively simple to do, making it a fun weekend venture.

    Is $60 worth it to go from white or black to green or orange? Well, it is your money and your phone, and I have to admit that both the green and orange plates are outstanding looking. I leave the decision to you, but if you need help and want more info, you have friends to help you in our forums. Go!

    Thanks, Justin L., for the tip


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    Xbox One Pins

    As you obtain more games, apps, videos, and other experiences on your Xbox One, you want to able to access the ones that you use the most quickly. That's where pins come in. You can pin your favorite game or app to your Home screen for quick access.

    Head past the break to watch the steps on video.

    Creating pins

    1. Press the Xbox button to return Home or say "Xbox, go Home."
    2. Locate the game, music, video, or app of the item you want to pin.
    3. With the tile highlighted, press the Menu button. It's the button with the hamburger icon on your controller.
    4. Select Pin to Home.

    Xbox One pin to home

    That's it! Your favorite item is now pinned to the Xbox One's Home screen. By making a pin you've basically created a shortcut to start the game or app from the front of the Xbox One dashboard instead of navigating through the menu to find it.

    Rearranging pins

    If you want to rearrange the pins, there are two solutions. You can do it directly from the Xbox One, but it is not very user-friendly. There is an option called Move to Front, which moves the pin to the upper right corner. You can't simply rearrange pins to specific locations directly from the Xbox One.

    Xbox One move to front

    A better solution requires an app on your Windows Phone device. Make sure to install Xbox One SmartGlass Beta. Tap the menu button at the top left corner and select Pins. From there, you can tap and hold one of your pins and then drag it to the location you want.

    Xbox One SmartGlass

    What apps and games have you pinned on your Xbox One?

    We would prefer it if we can rearrange the pinned apps and games directly from the Xbox One, but it's cool that we can do it on our Windows Phone with the SmartGlass app. What do you have pinned on your Home screen?


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    The Lumia Cyan update is hitting more devices each day, and a big chunk of those are 'country variants' aka CV. Country variants are non-carrier phones, but even though they are SIM unlocked, they still have localization including default language, preloaded apps pertinent to that region and other network changes. As such, there is no such thing as a generic Lumia Windows Phone, because Hong Kong, Mexico, Thailand, Norway, and others all have their own 'country variant' for each Lumia model.

    The Lumia country variants are widely eligible for the Lumia Cyan update, at least for the Lumia 625, Lumia 925, Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520. However, not all of CVs are yet cleared, leading to confusion amongst readers who proceed to force-downgrade their phones to 8.0 in order to get the non-existing update.

    The mix-up stems from people simply not knowing which region their Lumia is as frequently these phones are bought from web retailers without that info being noted (e.g. the Lumia 1520.3 is not a US variant, but is often from Mexico). So here is a simple way to check your region of your device, which you can then compare against the Lumia update page or our tracker.

    Check your region on your Lumia Phone

    • Settings
    • Extras + Info
    • More info button
    • Manufacturer Name
    • Mobile Operator

    There you should see an RM-9xx number followed by the region information e.g. _apac_Hong_Kong_210, which confirms that my Lumia 1320 is a Hong Kong variant and as such, is eligible for Lumia Cyan. My Lumia 625 though is RM-941_eu_euro1_231 and the mobile operator is GB or Great Britain.

    That is all there is to it, so hopefully you can now have a better understanding of why your phone is not yet getting an OS update, even though you see other Lumias that are the same model taking it!


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    Nokia Camera

    With Nokia Camera, you can change a lot of camera settings like white balance, focus, ISO, shutter speed, and brightness to take the perfect photo, but all of that don't matter if you don't pay attention to framing or composition. Fortunately, Nokia Camera provides framing grids that you can activate within the settings. We'll teach you how to turn them on and how you can use them to improve your photos.

    1. To get started, turn on Nokia Camera.
    2. Click the three dots on the lower right corner or the top right corner depending on how you're holding the camera.
    3. Tap settings.
    4. Framing grids is the second option. You can choose rule of thirds, golden ratio, crosshairs, or square.

    Nokia Camera settings

    So now that you know how to activate the framing grids, how exactly do you use them? Let's explain each one.

    Rule of Thirds

    The basic idea of the rule of thirds is to divide an image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. This creates lines, which helps you place your subjects. Placing subjects along the lines or where they intersect theoretically creates a better image than placing the subjects in dead center of the frame.

    Rule of Thirds

    Golden Ratio

    The Golden Ratio framing grid in Nokia Camera looks similar to the rule of thirds but the placement of the lines is a little different. According to DPS, instead of breaking into 3 equal parts (1+1+1), sections are broken down into 1 + 0.618 + 1. The idea comes from famous mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci. He noticed this ratio appears often throughout nature and forms designs that are pleasing to the human eye. It's a very interesting theory and there are several resources online that go more in-depth.

    Just like the rule of thirds, place the main subjects or points of interests at the intersecting lines or along the lines. If it's a portrait photo, place one of the eyes at an intersection.

    FYI, the Golden Ratio appears in the Mona Lisa.

    Golden Ratio

    Crosshairs

    The crosshairs grid consists of two lines that intersect right in the middle. We rarely use this grid, but it can be helpful in aligning the horizon or putting subjects directly in the middle.

    Square

    If you intend to share your photo on Instagram, the square framing grid is really handy. This ensures your subjects fit inside the 1:1 ratio when you upload it to the popular social network.

    Nokia Camera

    Do you use framing grids?

    You're going to see improvements in your photos right way when you use the rule of thirds or the golden ratio. The main idea is placing your subjects a little off the center of the frame produces better results than having them directly in the middle. If you combine these guidelines with the advanced controls that Nokia Camera provides, you can come up with some amazing photos.

    Have you been using framing grids in Nokia Camera? Which grid do you use the most? Are you happy with the results? Let us know in the comments!


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    Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled the feature set for Windows Phone 8.1 Update. As it turns out, there are quite a few new additions to the OS refresh that make it worth getting, including those Live Folders, rapid charging, improvements to Internet Explorer rendering and more.

    However, there are many questions about the Preview for Developers program and what it means for those enrolled, but who do not yet have their Lumia Cyan update. We are going to walk through a few scenarios of what to expect depending on your setup.

    The current 'hold' on Lumia Cyan updates

    The Preview for Developers program is little to no risk for users, even though technically it "may" void your warranty. Having said that, we are not aware of any instances of people breaking their phones or denied service.

    There is one issue though that is affecting many people, and it has to do with BitLocker, an encryption system for those on corporate accounts. People who are on the Preview for Developers for 8.1 and who are eligible for the Lumia Cyan update, cannot get it right now. Microsoft put a 'hold' on the update for everyone due to those with BitLocker being at risk during the update. As a precaution, all are blocked. The only people who can get Lumia Cyan are those on Windows Phone 8.0.

    Now, three things:

    1. Microsoft is going to fix this, but there is no ETA. It may even come in next week's update, but we do not yet know
    2. IF (and only if) Lumia Cyan is now available for your Lumia, you can alternatively backup your phone, downgrade the OS to 8.0, take the proper updates and Lumia Cyan, hard-reset, and restore your backup. It is easy but time consuming to restore.
    3. Even without Lumia Cyan, you can still move from 8.1 to 8.1 Update without doing anything; you will get Cyan eventually, as you cannot miss updates. Just have patience.

    For most of you, what is above is all you need to know. For others who want more, let us break down these scenarios.

    Scenario 1: You already have Lumia Cyan and Windows Phone 8.1 (Lumias only)

    Turn on your phone, go to Settings, and scroll down until you see Extras + Info. Open that up and if it says 'Software release: Lumia Cyan' you are on the latest update. The Lumia 630, Lumia 635, and Lumia 930 all come with Lumia Cyan automatically.

    If you are on Lumia Cyan right now and obviously Windows Phone 8.1, then you can enroll in the Preview for Developers program by downloading the app, accepting the terms, and enabling it. When Update 1 is available, you will be notified that there is an update, and you are good to go.

    Bottom Line:

    There are no issues with this scenario.

    Scenario 2: You are on Windows Phone 8.0 or 8.1 but do not have Lumia Cyan (Lumias only)

    Turn on your phone, go to Settings, and scroll down until you see Extras + Info. Open that up and if it says 'Software release: Lumia Black' you are on the older update.

    You can still enroll and use the Preview for Developers program. The update process below is what happens to you next week, depending on where you are starting:

    • Windows Phone 8.0 > Windows Phone 8.1 (1400) > Windows Phone 8.1 Update (141x)
    • Windows Phone 8.1 (1400) > Windows Phone 8.1 Update (141x)

    If you are on Windows Phone 8.0, your phone gets a few updates to get to Update 1. If you already enrolled in Preview for Developers and you have 8.1 (but not Lumia Cyan), you simply move to 8.1 Update.

    Whenever Microsoft lifts the 'hold' on the Lumia Cyan software for those in the Preview Program, Lumia Cyan is downloaded an applied to your phone.

    Bottom Line:

    If Lumia Cyan is not yet available and you are on 8.1 Preview, just take Update 1 and wait until a fix comes along, you will be fine in the end.

    Scenario 3: Non-Lumia phones and 8.1 Update

    As of now, Samsung, HTC, Huawei, and other have not started their 8.1 rollout. As such, it is unknown if they too have the BitLocker problem. Regardless, now that Microsoft is aware of it you can bet the switch will not be thrown unless they know it is safe, so do not worry about it.

    Since there is no ETA on those updates from Samsung, HTC and others, if you want Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 next week, just enroll on the Preview for Developers program, take the update and be happy.

    Bottom Line:

    If you are on 8.0 or 8.1 Preview, grab Update 1 if you want it next week. Your manufacturer or carrier can still push out the necessary firmware when they are ready. You cannot miss an update.

    Valuable links and more information


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    People Hub

    The People Hub in Windows Phone is the center for all your contacts. It goes above and beyond your typical contact list and integrates social networks like Facebook and Twitter (thanks Social Extensibility framework). By aggregating all that data into one, contact card, your People Hub becomes invaluable for keeping your friends all in once place. Windows Phone does a good job automatically piecing everything together, though sometimes it misses adding your phonebook contact with their Facebook profile. Here's how to manually merge and link contacts in the People Hub on Windows Phone.

    Why does Windows Phone miss merging separate pieces of into one contact? It usually misses it when you've given your friend a nickname in your phonebook that doesn't match up to their real name on Facebook or Twitter. Or maybe your friend is using their middle name as their last on Facebook, and the system is unable automatically to piece them together. Either way, it happens, and you have two contacts in your People Hub that are the same person. Let's link two contacts together in Windows Phone to merge them into one.

    How to link and merge contacts in Windows Phone

    Link Contacts

    • Select the contact you want to link
    • Tap the link button on the bottom in the app bar
    • Choose and tap the contact you want to link with
    • You're linked!

    Linked Contacts

    It couldn't be any easier to clean up your address book and get rid of duplicate entries. A few taps and you've now combined multiple contacts into one. A great thing to do when you've started to link Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email accounts and more to your People Hub.

    Have any questions? Sound off below or hit me up on Twitter (@samsabri) for help.


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    In the Windows Phone Update 1 Preview, new Bluetooth profiles are supported in the latest OS update from Microsoft, giving consumers access to new abilities. Those new profiles included PAN (personal area network) 1.0 profile, aptX codec support for A2DP, and browsing support for AVRCP.

    In regards to PAN, one visible area in which consumers can immediately see the difference is visible under Internet Sharing.

    Previously, this section included a simple on / off toggle, along with the device name and password. However, with Update 1 rolling out today for those on the Preview program, you now get an additional section to choose how to share that connection, either through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. As suspected, being able to share your internet connection through Bluetooth is the new differentiating factor from the previous 8.1 release. Although not nearly as fast or effective as Wi-Fi, being able to share over Bluetooth is useful for legacy devices and other specific-usage scenarios.

    Have you wanted to share your internet over Bluetooth? If so, let us know how you plan on using this new tool in comments!


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    Live Folders

    If you just installed Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 that was released earlier today, you'll be happy to know that you can now create Live Folders on the home screen. Microsoft calls these "Live" folders because whatever app or game is included in the folder still has their Live Tile enabled. How do you create them? It's easy! Let us show you.

    Head past the break to watch the how-to video on the Nokia Lumia Icon.

    1. Press and hold a tile until it pops into the foreground.
    2. Drag the tile over another tile you want to join in the folder.
    3. Tap the area that says 'Name folder' to rename it to whatever you want.
    4. Drag other tiles you want to the folder.
    5. That's it!

    Live Folders can be resized. Just press and hold on the Live Folder, and then tap the arrow on the lower right corner. We like this new feature on Windows Phone 8.1. One example we're using Live Folder is to combine all of our messaging apps like Skype, Whatsapp, Groupme, and Facebook Messenger into one place. Another example is adding our favorite games into a Live Folder.

    Live Folders

    Just like you could with contacts and Nokia's App Folders, you can copy and paste emoticons from your email or SMS text box to the folder name. For example, add a controller emoticon for Games.

    Live Folders is just one of the new features included in the GDR1 update. Another noteworthy feature is Internet Sharing over Bluetooth. There are several more features behind the scenes that are also interesting such as interactive phone covers and support for new resolutions. Want to know more about the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1? Make sure to check out our topic page.

    What Live Folders are you creating? Let us know in the comments!


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    Cortana

    Earlier today, the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 started trickling for users who are on Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers. As the Windows Phone team at Microsoft shared a few days ago, the latest update brings Cortana to China and UK in beta and to India, Australia, and Canada in India.

    This early adopter program for the latter is opt-in, and gives people the option to try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK. Let's see how we can configure it for Windows Phone devices in these regions.

    Steps to activate Cortana alpha version

    Essentially, all you need to do is to change your speech settings to English US or UK. If any other permutation works, let us know in the comments.

    • If you've changed region or language settings previously to try out Cortana when it released for the US, revert to the original settings for your country. A restart maybe required if you change these settings. If you haven't, confirm that the settings are in order.
      • Language: English (India)/English (Canada)/English (Australia)
      • Country/Region: India/Canada/Australia
    • If you've not made any changes before, you'd need to start here and just change your speech settings.
      • Speech: English (United Kingdom)/English (United States)/English (United Kingdom)

    How do you know if it works? Tap the search button, and you'll have Cortana greeting you rather than the vanilla Bing screen. The top right corner will inform you that it's an alpha version, so things might be awry or some features may not be available. Microsoft would be learning from the user behavior to improve the experience as the product evolves.

    How do you find Cortana in alpha edition? Do you find any limitations or mishits? Tell us in the comments!


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    Speed dial

    Want to dial your momma fast? Then you're going to need to add her as a Speed dial contact. It's super easy and only takes a few taps. Here's how you do it on Windows Phone 8.1.

    Windows Phone 8.1 introduced a new panel in the built-in Phone application. It's the Speed dial panel and allows you to place instantly call a contact. Add your family, best friends and boss to your speed dial list for instant contact.

    Here's how to add a contact to Speed dial on Windows Phone 8.1

    • Launch the Phone application in Windows Phone 8.1
    • Swipe over to Speed dial
    • Click the 'add' button in the app menu
    • Select a contact (if multiple phone numbers exist, select the number you want as the option for speed dial)

    Speed dial

    Voila! You've just added a person as a speed dial contact. They'll now show up in your speed dial. Tapping their name will instantly dial and call their telephone number. It's the fastest, easiest way to quickly call your friends and family.

    Who have you added to your Speed dial in Windows Phone? Let us know!


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    If your car has Bluetooth and you have just updated your device to Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1, you need to head over to your car right now and try this out. Update 1 has added a neat little feature that lets you activate Cortana directly from the voice command button on your steering wheel. Such a tool is useful for finding local eateries, gas stations, parking, or just looking up information while driving and avoiding getting a ticket.

    How do you set it up? Read along and follow the steps.

    1. To get started, turn on Bluetooth on your Windows Phone. Go to settings -> Bluetooth -> On
    2. Pair your car to your Windows Phone device via Bluetooth. There's no universal way of doing this, so you may have to check you car manual
    3. Once connected, it appears Windows Phone adds Cortana to the phone book (If not, you can create a Cortana entry with the dummy phone number '555-555-9876')
    4. Now all you have to do is tell your car to "Call Cortana" using the voice command button on the steering wheel. It may be different on your car. On the car I tested, I needed to add Cortana as a speed dial
    5. Go ahead and ask Cortana for anything that you've normally asked her

    That's it! Try this out on your car and let us know if it works!

    Thanks for the tip, Aaron H. and Alienhead95!


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    This morning, Microsoft published a partial changelog for Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1. The listing is incomplete because it misses things like Cortana's Bluetooth integration or the new Store Live Tile. However, one area it did get right is the ability to select multiple entries on messaging, contacts and even phone calls.

    Previously, in Windows Phone 8.1 and below, users could either delete everything in the call-history or delete one by one. This approach lacks the granularity that many users desire, so the ability to bring up the familiar multiple-select check boxes goes a long way to improving control over one's content.

    To see the change yourself, you can just head into the Phone app and tap the ellipsis '…' near the bottom. Found in the middle is now 'select calls,' which previously read as 'delete all.' Once engaged, checkboxes should appear on the left side, letting you go through and choose multiple phone calls for deletion.

    If you still would like to delete all of your entries, choose 'select calls' and now bring up the ellipsis '...' again. An option to 'select all' is now available, letting you delete all calls.

    Features like call duration (details), block number and add to speed dial can be found by a long-press on a call entry. Those are not new, as they came with the original release of Windows Phone 8.1 though they are still good know in case you missed them.

    Overall, the ability to select multiple calls is a minor refinement, but it helps to make people's lives easier when using Windows Phone.


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    Apps Corner

    Apps Corner is one of the new features that Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1 brings. In a nutshell, it lets you set up a custom Start screen on your device, where you can share only the apps you choose with the people you let use your phone. This is great for showing off your phone, while hiding private information from emails, calendar, and photos. This is also handy in setting up phones for employees, students, or coworkers, by exporting your Apps Corner settings from your phone and importing it onto other phones.

    Here's how to set up Apps Corner:

    1. Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap 'All settings.'
    2. Scroll down and tap apps corner.
    3. Tap 'Apps' and select the apps that you want people to use. Tap 'Done' when you're happy with your selection.
    4. If your phone doesn't already have a lock screen password, you should set one now to make sure that people can't get to your Start screen from Apps Corner. Tap 'Protect my phone with a password,' type a password in the New password box, type it again in the Confirm password box, and then tap Done.
    5. Turn Action Center and Settings on or off, depending on whether you want people to be able to use these features when using Apps Corner.
    6. Tap Advanced, and then turn these features on or off, depending on whether you want people to be able to use them — Camera button, Search button, Start button, Back button, and Modify Tiles. Press the back button when you're glad with the settings.
    7. Tap the launch button at the bottom to run Apps Corner.
    8. Give the phone to someone else, so they can use it with only the apps and settings you've selected.

    Apps Corner

    That's it! To get out of Apps Corner, press and hold the Power button, and then swipe right. You can also pin Apps Corner to the home screen so you don't have to dig through the phone settings.

    What apps are you putting in Apps Corner? Let us know in the comments!


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    Xbox One gift cards

    Did someone just give you an Xbox gift card, Windows Store gift card, prepaid card, or promotional code? They usually come in the form of cards with a 25-character code. You can use these prepaid codes to make purchases without a credit card. We'll show you how you can redeem the codes on your Xbox One, Windows Phone device, or your computer.

    There is not much of a difference between an Xbox gift card and a Windows Store gift card. Both cards add funds to your Microsoft account for purchases in Windows Store, Windows Phone Store and Xbox Marketplace.

    Redeeming from the Xbox One

    The easiest way to redeem a gift card or prepaid code on the Xbox One is to simply say "Xbox, use a code." If you do not have a Kinect, go to Games, then select 'Use a code.' You will have two options:

    Xbox use a code

    • If your gift card has a QR code, hold it up to the Kinect sensor. It should be within about 2 feet of the sensor.
    • The other option is to manually enter the 25-character code.

    Redeeming from Windows Phone

    It would be nice if the Xbox One SmartGlass app has the ability to redeem both QR Codes and 25 Digit codes, but that's not possible yet. In the meantime, you can use the Wallet app for Windows Phone.

    1. Launch the Wallet app from the app list.
    2. Tap the add button at the bottom of the screen.
    3. Select Microsoft gift card.
    4. Enter code.

    Wallet add card

    If you would like to be able to scan QR codes or enter them using the SmartGlass app, let your voice be heard. Go tell Microsoft at their Xbox Feedback page.

    Redeeming from a computer

    The best way to redeem a gift card or prepaid code from your computer is through the browser. Head over to live.xbox.com/redeemtoken and click the Redeem button. Enter your code, and then click Confirm.

    What's your next purchase?

    That's it! Once you redeem a gift card to your Microsoft account, you can buy and download apps, games, movies, TV shows, and more at the Windows Phone, Windows, Xbox Games, and Xbox Video.

    What are you buying next? Let us know in the comments!


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    Google Calendar

    Did you dump your iPhone or Android device to come to Windows Phone? You might be using Gmail to keep a handle on your calendar and contacts. Here's how you easily sync your Google Contacts and Calendar to Windows Phone.

    Windows Phone has some great support for accounts built right into the operating system. Adding your Gmail, and its associated calendar and contact list is as easy as signing in.

    Here's how to add your Google Contacts and Calendar on Windows Phone 8.1

    • Go to Settings
    • Click on email + accounts
    • Click 'add an account'
    • Scroll down and select 'Google'
    • Click 'connect' on the page asking you authorize Windows Phone to your Google account
    • Sign in with your Google account information
    • Click 'accept' to give Windows Phone access to your Google account

    How to add Google account to Windows Phone

    That's it! After clicking accept on the final step, you'll be taken back to your email + accounts page within your settings. You'll see your newly added Google account syncing. It's syncing your Google email, contacts and calendar.

    How to add Google account to Windows Phone

    You'll find the inbox of your newly added account on the bottom of your Start screen. Your Google Contacts will be inside the People Hub, which is a collected phonebook of your contacts. Your Google Calendar can be found within the default Calendar app on Windows Phone. Go into the settings of the Calendar app to see the control you have over your recently added Google Calendar.

    Using 2-Step Verification?

    If you're using 2-Step Verification with your Google account, you don't need to do anything too crazy to sync with Windows Phone. On Windows Phone 8.1, you'll just be prompted to enter your security code to verify you identity. You'll do that right after entering in your password.

    On Windows Phone 8, you'll need to go create an App password in your Google account. Use this App password you created in place of your regular password on Windows Phone 8. Just go to accounts.google.com and click on the security tab. From there you'll click the settings tab next to App passwords to generate a unique password. This password is what you'll need to use instead of your regular Google account password.

    Push or pull?

    Sync Settings

    After you connect your Google account to your Windows Phone, you can control a few things. Go to settings -> email + account and click on your Google account. Here you'll be able to change the account name, email download patterns and more.

    The account name is just how this Google account shows up on your Windows Phone when pinned to your Start screen. You can leave it the default Google, but you can change it to anything you want. This is useful if you have multiple Google accounts synced to your Windows Phone.

    Next up you can control how your emails get downloaded. You can have your Windows Phone pull down new emails in intervals you set, manually or as they arrive. Feel free to select 'based on my usage' to let Windows Phone intelligently handle it for you. That's also the default, but change it to whatever suits your needs. By clicking the option to download new emails as they come in you'll be getting them instantly. This is a great setting for your most important email accounts.

    Does your Google Calendar change often? Within the settings here you can also select how often your calendar and contacts sync for this Google account. You can set the interval or sync manually, but its set to a 2 hour sync interval by default and that should be fine for most people. Again, adjust for your needs.

    Have any questions? Ask below or reach out to me on Twitter (@samsabri). We'll do our best to help you out!


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    The Lumia 1520 is in many ways the perfect Windows Phone assuming, of course, that you are okay with a 6-inch display. However, if there is one Achilles Heel that only occasionally rears its head it is the 'scroll/tap' issue. Although more a nuisance than anything, the bug randomly occurs when scrolling on the display using a swipe, but instead the device registers it as a 'tap.' This hardware "misreading" results in the phone opening links, tweets, photos, or hyperlinks when the user only intended to scroll up or down.

    Ever since the Lumia 1520 started exhibited this problem, it was largely assumed to be a software (firmware) problem, or a screen-calibration tweak. The randomness of the bug and subsequent software releases though calls this explanation into question. Even more, some users have it and others do not.

    Now, a new theory grounded in the hardware of the device appears to go a long way in explaining the problem and even how to solve it.

    In our forums, member Hesham Fouad has posted an interesting idea. His main proposal is that this is a hardware design flaw related to the size of the display. More precisely, the digitizer contacts behind the display become misaligned. The cause of the misalignment is screen flex, like when you put the phone in your front pocket, display down, and the device flexes downward slightly causing the center contact to miss the connection.

    The solution to the problem is twofold:

    1. Lightly press down on the top and bottom of the display
    2. Do not carry the Lumia 1520 in your front pocket, display down

    This explanation by Fouad is elegant because it not only explains why software tweaking (or disabling the super-sensitive touch) has no effect, but it also clarifies why only some users experience this and not others (and even the randomness within an affected device). In theory, people with a Lumia 1520 who never put pressure on the display, causing it to flex do not experience this bug.

    As to the solution, although it has only been a few minutes, my Lumia 1520 does seem to respond better to touch. However, being schooled in science for a long time, I know placebo effects can be vicious.

    Assuming this is the cause of the problem, Nokia (and now Microsoft) would not recall the device if only because this does not rise to the level of prohibiting the usage of the phone. Although it can be an annoyance, I personally cannot say it makes me not want to use the Lumia 1520, of course, your level of irritation may vary.

    If you are experiencing this problem, head into the forums and read Foud's post, the subsequent discussion, and the let me know if his 'fix' is working for you.

    Source: WPCentral Forums; Thanks, slysy, for the tip!


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    Xbox One Controller update

    It's not mandatory, but there has been a firmware update available for the Xbox One controller for a while now. If you've purchased an Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter, then this update is necessary in order for it to work properly. The process is very simple. Follow the steps and watch the video after the break.

    1. Turn on the Xbox One and sign in to Xbox Live. This ensures the Xbox One is connected online with access to the latest updates.
    2. If you're planning to use the Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter, plug it into the bottom of your controller and plug in a headset (a headset must be plugged in so the adapter will turn on).
    3. Plug the big end of a micro-USB cable into the port on the side of the console. This cable is included with your Xbox One packaging, but other micro-USB cables should work like the cable that comes with your Windows Phone.
    4. Plug the small end of the USB cable into the top of the controller.
    5. The update process should automatically start. Follow the instructions, and don't disconnect the USB cable while the update is in progress. If the update doesn't start automatically, press the menu button, select Settings -> System -> Update controller, then select Continue.
    6. When the update is complete, unplug the USB cable. If you have more controllers to update, you can connect them one at a time, and select the Update another button on the screen.

    Xbox One Controller update

    That's it! If you try to update a controller that has already been updated, the Xbox One proceeds to the success screen within a few seconds to indicate it is already updated.

    Microsoft has not made this update mandatory, so you don't have to do it right away. Nevertheless, the update is available if you wish to have the latest firmware. Are you going to update your controller?


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    Offline Maps

    Offline maps are one of the nicest features in Windows Phone. You can download maps for your region, so you don't eat into your data plan each time you want to use map data. Offline map data is saved by default to your phone storage. You might want to move the offline map data to your SD card if you have one, here's how.

    We recently looked at how you can move apps and games from your phone storage to your SD card in Windows Phone 8.1. You can also move podcasts, music, photos and videos using this method. It just doesn't work with all that offline map data you have.

    The size of your offline map data will depend on where you live. For example, the offline map data size for Vatican City comes in at just 51MB. You might as well keep that on your phone storage since it's not much. On the flip side, the state of California needs 342.7MB for its offline map data. You're probably going to want to put that on your SD card if you're hurting for space, so let's do it.

    You're going to want to grab the Lumia Storage check beta app to do this. It's a free app from Microsoft Mobile in the Windows Phone Store. It originally launched in March 2013 as a way to help Windows Phone users visualize their data and control it. Storage sense in Windows Phone 8.1 more or less made the Lumia Storage check app irrelevant, except you still need it to control map data.

    How to move offline map data to your SD card

    Step one? Remove offline map data already on your phone. Sorry, you can't just 'move' the data from the phone to the SD card. At least not yet. We're going to have to remove the map data already on your phone before we can put it on the SD card. Failure to do this will result in you have the same map data on both your phone AND your SD card. Sort of making the whole point of this article moot.

    Offline Maps Settings

    Let's remove it, go to settings -> swipe over to applications -> maps -> download maps and then select and delete any already installed maps. Do that, and we can get the party started to put offline map data on your SD card.

    • Download and install Lumia Storage check beta [Download]
    • Launch Lumia Storage check
    • Swipe over to details and click on change beneath Maps
    • Select SD card for where your phone stores maps
    • Re-download offline map data

    Lumia Storage Check

    Do the following, and when you go back to download offline map data, it'll be saved on your SD card now. A little bit of work, but it's how you get that data to your SD card. You'll want to move it to your SD card if you're planning on doing a lot of travel and don't want to eat through your data plan when using maps.

    Let us know if you move your offline map data to your SD card. Don't forget to list how much storage space you're using for offline map data!

    Via: Windows Phone Central Forums


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    Have a lot of movies or TV episodes stored in your computer and want to watch them on your big screen TV? Here are the steps on how to easily stream those videos from your Mac to the Xbox One using this handy app from the Mac App Store called SofaPlay ($4.99 - Download now). It's so easy and convenient, that I want to slap myself for not knowing about it earlier.

    1. On your Mac, go download and install SofaPlay from the Mac App Store.
    2. Open Xbox Video on the Xbox One. If you do not have it yet, go to your Xbox home screen and scroll all the way to the right until you see the search tile. Look for Xbox Video, and then install it.
    3. Open SofaPlay on your Mac and select the Xbox-SystemOS option from the dropdown list.
    4. Drag a movie file into SofaPlay.
    5. That's it! The movie should start playing on your Xbox One.

    I was surprised at how easy it was to set up. Previously, I copied my videos into a USB stick and then attach it to my TV. With this setup, I can just drag and drop the videos from my Mac, and then immediately watch it on TV.

    There are a couple of issues worth mentioning. SofaPlay is unable to play videos I have in .mov format. It did not have problems with .mp4 videos, though.

    Sofaplay

    Another issue is that I cannot drag the playhead or have forward and reverse buttons on the SofaPlay player to skim through videos. It's not a major issue though, since you can use your Xbox One controller, SmartGlass on mobile devices, or the Xbox One Media Remote. Other than that, I love that I can now easily stream my movies to the Xbox One.

    SofaPlay for Mac is $4.99 at the App Store. There is a free lite version available, but it is limited to just two minutes of video streaming.

    Are you a Mac user and use SofaPlay? Do you stream videos to the Xbox One in any other way? Let us know in the comments!


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    Upload to Youtube

    Upload to Youtube, a Windows Phone 8.1 app that lets you upload videos from your camera roll to Youtube, has recently been updated with a cool new feature. This handy app now lets you upload your last video with the help of Cortana. Want to see it in action? Continue reading and watch our quick how-to video.

    Here's how to do it:

    1. Make sure to have the latest version of 'Upload to Youtube' from the Windows Phone Store.
    2. Bring up Cortana. You can do this by holding the search button, or clicking the Cortana live tile on the home screen.
    3. Say, "Upload that last video to Youtube."
    4. That's it. Upload to Youtube will open up briefly and then upload the most recent video in the background. You get a notification when it has finished uploading.

    It seems this process was made for getting the video online as quickly as possible. The video is automatically uploaded with the title, 'Latest Windows Phone Video,' and privacy as unlisted. You'll have to edit them later on if you want to share them with friends.

    Upload to Youtube

    The new voice command feature for Upload to YouTube needs to be unlocked via an in-app purchase. It costs 99 cents. This new feature has been added in version 2.1. In addition to the voice control, the update also adds Norwegian translation, more options for your upload, and bug fixes.

    Upload to Youtube is the first YouTube uploader for Windows Phone 8.1. It's a free download from the Windows Phone Store with in-app purchases.

    Will you be using this feature with Cortana? Let us know in the comments!

    QR: Upload to Youtube

    Further reading:


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