Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 new features uncovered

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Microsoft made a lot of announcements at this year’s MWC event, starting with their new low-budget Lumia devices – the 640 and 640 XL. While the Redmond-based company didn’t focus too much on this aspect, both of them come with Windows Phone 8.1 GDR 2 – which includes some small, but really useful new features.

Besides improving user experience, the update means to ease the transition between WP 8.1 and Windows 10, although we still don’t know when Microsoft is going to roll out GDR 2 on the rest of existing Lumia devices.

During MWC 2015, various new features have been spotted starting with quick text – it lets users quickly insert a pre-defined line of text in email and SMS messages via a new symbol located on the suggestion bar. The option includes a few phrases but users can easily customize them as well as add new ones.

WMPU noticed this option only on a Kyocera prototype – which was running a slightly different version of GDR2 compared to Lumia 640.640 XL –  and it’s not clear if the feature will become available on other devices.

The Settings also went through some significant changes. Firstly, all of them are listed in a single page – the Apps pane from the Settings menu has been removed. Secondly, all of them are listed under categories, which makes navigation a bit less frustrating. There’s also a Search function that lets you find a certain setting even faster than by scrolling through the shown list.

And something that many users have been eagerly awaiting: now you can Pin individual settings to the Start Screen! Like with other items, simply long-pressing on a setting will reveal the ‘Pin to Start’ option. This can save a lot of time for those settings each of us access most frequently – and thanks to Live Folders, we’ll be able to bundle them all in a single place, once the feature becomes available on more devices.

WP 8.1 GDR2 - App permissions

Under the Privacy category, a new setting is available, called ‘app permissions’ – in the related pane users can setup the permissions installed apps can access regarding the Calendar, Camera, Contacts, Messaging and Microphone.

If you’re excited about the upcoming features Windows Phone 8.1 GDR 2 is going to bring check out the short demo video made by Windows Central.

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