Lumia owners, both from Nokia and Microsoft, your days are numbered. At least if you’re still running Windows Phone 8.1. It might be a shock to some that that version of Microsoft’s defunct mobile OS still exists and still runs. It might not be a shock, however, to hear that Microsoft is pulling the plug on it this year. Fortunately, Redmond has a bit of mercy and a path forward for the few still holding on to some of these phones for dear life.
Microsoft has actually ended support for Windows Phone 8.1 back in July 2017. This was the last version of Microsoft’s mobile OS that was distinct from its desktop platform. Starting with Windows 10, Microsoft tried to share a common core with Windows 10 Mobile but that, too, eventually met its demise.
For more than two years now, however, Microsoft has actually kept Windows Phone 8.1’s app store alive. While apps and the OS itself may no longer be getting updates, it at least allowed owners of Nokia Lumia and the later Microsoft Lumia phones to continue using their devices to some extent.
Starting December 16, 2019, that last bastion will be taken down. They may be able to continue using apps but with degraded quality. They will no longer be able to install apps and, more importantly, won’t be able to reinstall apps they uninstalled, regardless if they owned them before or not. That means once they reset their Lumia phone, that’s pretty much the end.
Not unless they happen to own one or more of 17 specific Lumia models. These phones listed by Microsoft are eligible to upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile to keep on using their phones. The catch is that Windows 10 Mobile itself reaches its end of support on December 10, 2019, though Microsoft has yet to announce when its access to the app store will end in a similar fashion.