August 20, 2018 9:00 am

Important dates regarding apps with Windows Phone 8.x and earlier and Windows 8/8.1 packages submitted to Microsoft Store

As a part of our Windows device life cycle, Microsoft Store will soon stop accepting new apps with Windows Phone 8.x or earlier or Windows 8/8.1 packages (XAP and APPX). Soon after that date, we will stop distributing app updates to Windows Phone 8.x or earlier and Windows 8/8.1 devices; at that time, updates will only be made available to customers using Windows 10 devices.

Take note of the following dates so you can effectively plan your development cycles:

  • October 31st, 2018 – Microsoft will stop accepting new app submissions with Windows Phone 8.x or earlier or Windows 8/8.1 packages (XAP or APPX)
    • This will not affect existing apps with packages targeting Windows Phone 8.x or earlier and/or Windows 8/8.1. You can continue to submit updates to these apps as described below.
  • July 1st, 2019 – Microsoft will stop distributing app updates to Windows Phone 8.x or earlier devices.
    • You’ll still be able to publish updates to all apps (including those with Windows Phone 8.x or earlier packages). However, these updates will only be made available to Windows 10 devices.
  • July 1st, 2023 – Microsoft will stop distributing app updates to Windows 8/8.1 devices.
    • You’ll still be able to publish updates to all apps (including those with Windows 8/8.1 packages). However, these updates will only be made available to Windows 10 devices.

We encourage you to explore how you can port your existing app to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) where you can create a single Windows 10 app package that your customers can install onto all device families. You can learn more about UWP apps here.

Updated August 20, 2018 9:01 am

Join the conversation

  1. I’m a bit confused by this. If, for example, tomorrow I published an appxbundle to the Store that supported Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile/PC devices, then after October (or whenever it is ready) I wanted to add support for ARM64 devices, would I not be able to add ARM64 support to the existing app without dropping support for the Windows Phone 8.1 devices? Does adding support for a new device platform (like ARM64) constitute updating an existing app with respect to these changes without affecting existing device support?

    Also (though admittedly less likely), if a developer wanted to publish a new app to the Store after October, one that supported (for example) Windows 10 1709 devices or newer, but they also created a Windows (Phone) 8.1 compatible version of the app (maybe a cut-down experience), would they be able to distribute the Windows (Phone) 8.1 version from the store just for older Windows 10 devices whilst distributing the same app to Windows (Phone) 8.1 devices outside the Store?

    • In regards to your first scenario, you can continue to make updates to the appxbundle beyond October 31st 2018, including adding support for ARM64. On July 1st, 2019, Microsoft will no longer distribute the specific app package that target Windows Phone 8.x and earlier devices to those devices.

      In regards to your second scenario, Microsoft will no longer accept new applications targeting Windows Phone 8.x and earlier beyond October 31st, 2018. You would need to submit that package prior to October 31st, 2018. After July 1st, 2019, that package would not longer be distributed to Windows Phone 8.x and earlier but would be offered to Windows 10 Mobile devices.

  2. I am wondering why Microsoft is not promoting Xamarin here, as it is also a part of the Microsoft family. For me Xamarin is the real “universal” platform as Xamarin Forms can target Windows via UWP, Android and iOS (and even macOS, Tizen etc.). All platforms can be reached with a shared codebase in C# and/or shared UI in XAML.

  3. Can I still download apps? Sad death of Windows Phone 8.1. It was very stable and better than Windows 10 Mobile.

  4. I don’t understand why the Store for Windows 8 will last longer than the Store for Windows Phone 8.1. Especially the Store on a smartphone is indispensable. For me as a developer it is not understandable why the backend is no longer kept alive.

  5. I am facing the issue that my new app submission targeting to windows phone 8.0/8.1 is unable to view by the users of windows phone 8.0/8.1. Previous version 6.4.4.4 and current submitted version is 7.0.0.0.
    Windows phone 8.x users unable to see/download from the store but windows phone 10 users are able to download.
    Please respond as early as possible.

    • We are checking on this issue at a Microsoft Store level. I encourage you to open a support ticket, if you have not already done so. To do so: Visit https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/support and click the “Contact Us” tab. Use the drop-down options to select “Dashboard issue” > “App submissions” > “Package management” and then choose to “Chat now” or “Submit an incident.”

  6. Um… has the cutoff for WP 8.1 app updates already taken effect, or am I missing something? I have a WP 8.1 / W10 app that I pushed an update for and was notified was “In the store” a week ago, yet I still cannot see the update after trying on multiple WP8.1 devices. Even if I reinstall the app entirely it still gets the old version.

    • We are checking on this issue at a Microsoft Store level. I encourage you to open a support ticket, if you have not already done so. To do so: Visit https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/support and click the “Contact Us” tab. Use the drop-down options to select “Dashboard issue” > “App submissions” > “Package management” and then choose to “Chat now” or “Submit an incident.”

  7. Will it be possible to sign existing apps with symantec certificates for enterprise distribution without the store after this change takes effect? Right now we resign our app every year because sadly the symantec certificates are only available for one year.