WP8.1 preview: How to make the most of it

We'll probably get the WP8.1 preview pretty soon, so let's think about what we should consider doing to make the most of it.

  • Read this excellent article from WPCentral to learn all about how to get access to the preview, and how it will (or will not) affect your phone.
  • The update process should not affect any of your data and settings, but still it's probably a good idea to create data backups and a list of the apps you have installed. Just in case.
  • If you live outside the US and want to use Cortana, change your region to US via the phone settings (and then reboot). Also, you'll most probably need to change language to English. There are three separate language settings in WP - phone language (for the UI), speech language (for speech input/output), and keyboard languages (for keyboard layouts). According to reports, you'll only need to set speech language to English, but I believe you'll need to change phone language as well - we'll see.
  • Some people say that if you change the region of your phone, you may not be able to purchase apps in the Store. If that's the case, switch back to your location to purchase apps.
  • Go through Cortana's notebook to personalise the experience. Make sure you add contacts to your inner circle and give them nicknames, and define locations such as home and work.
  • With all the new features in WP8.1, there are large amounts of new settings you'll need to go through in order to get the personal experience that suits you most. So I'd recommend going through all the sections in the phone settings as well as all the settings for built-in apps and check for new stuff. You'll definitely want to adjust the settings for: action center (customise notifications for each app, custom quick settings), data/storage/wifi sense, Start screen customisation.
  • Don't forget to make use of the ability to store apps on an SD card!
  • Go to the app Store and see if there are any new apps that are WP8.1 only.
  • Google calendars should now work with the built in calendar app, try and see if it works.
  • Some of the new features and built in apps may be good enough to replace some third party apps you're using, so see which option is better for you (new podcast app, new calendar, various news and weather feeds in Cortana, new camera, new youtube player in IE, quick settings in action center)
  • Now that you can receive notifications silently (action center), you may want to install additional apps which you'd like getting notifications from without getting disturbed by them (news apps, social apps).