Microsoft further explains the Windows Phone 8 GDR2 update

gdr2 htc 8x

We’ve known the basic features for the Windows Phone 8 GDR2 update for a while now, but we haven’t known the exact details. Things like “better Xbox Music experience” are vague, and don’t really tell us much. Today Microsoft has written a post on their blog to explain the GDR2 features in depth. Let’s explore what your phone can do with GDR2.

Data Sense

DataSense allows users to track how much data they are using, and what specific apps are using that data. You can set limits to make sure you don’t go over your plan. Nothing has really changed with DataSense itself, but now it’s available on T-Mobile along with Verizon.

FM Radio

In GDR2 Microsoft has brought back FM Radio support for a number of devices. To see if you have it go to the Music+Videos app and check if “Radio” is listed under Collection. To use FM Radio you need to have headphones plugged in to act as the antenna.

Camera

GDR2 improves what you see when zooming in on high-res photos in the viewfinder, and on some phones you can change what app launches when you press the Camera button. Go to Settings>swipe over to Applications>Photos+Camera. I haven’t been able to find any apps that will work with this feature on my HTC phone, but for Nokia devices there is Pro Cam.

Google

This update finally resolves the Exchange ActiveSync saga. Windows Phone 8 now supports CalDAV and CardDAV. You can safely get all your Google Calendar and Contacts information synced with your Windows Phone device. If you were already using a Google account you don’t have to do anything.

Storage

You can now go to Settings>Phone Storage and click on the colored bar to see what is taking up space on your phone. There isn’t a lot you can actually do with this information, but it’s nice to see what is taking up the most space. GDR2 does address the “Other storage” problem. If your phone fills up the “Other storage” will get reclaimed for more storage.

Xbox Music

GDR2 has several fixes for Xbox Music cloud collection. This service is supposed to sync music between your Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices. The feature doesn’t really work like it’s supposed to, but Microsoft has address that in GDR2. Duplicate songs will no longer show up, and the cloud collection should sync more frequently. It’s also easier to select multiple songs to download or add to playlists.

And that’s Windows Phone 8 GDR2. Many fixes and improvements under the hood, but we should see more major fixes in GDR3. Do you have GDR2 on your device yet?


  • Hank

    I like the FM radio and the various tweaks, but I’m really enjoying Nokia’s ‘Amber’ that accompanies GDR2.
    ‘Glance’ are ‘flip to silence’ are awesome.

  • John

    HTC 8X on AT&T.. no update yet.

  • Is GDR2 an acronym? What does it mean?