Here’s how Windows 10 Mobile updates will work

Microsoft still plans to deliver updates itself, but will work with wireless carriers for testing.

The Lumia 950
Marc Ferranti

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Microsoft will get a little help from wireless carriers on new versions of Windows 10 Mobile, even as it bypasses them to deliver the updates to consumers.

““Microsoft is working closely with mobile operators to leverage their testing and our flighting to meet and exceed current quality bars,” the company told WMPowerUser in a statement. “We will use their input but will decide when to send the updates out based on input from Mobile Operators and our Windows Insiders.”

The statement helps clarify Microsoft’s previously announced plans to deliver updates itself instead of relying on carriers. It seems Microsoft isn’t completely cutting wireless carriers out of the update process, as their testing could help expose any security or stability issues. But in the end, Microsoft will have the final say on when to push out new versions.

Users who’d rather not wait will also be able to install preview builds themselves through the Windows Insider program, just as they can currently. Of course, doing so carries the risk of running into more bugs, but also helps the platform as whole by giving Microsoft more test data to work with.

The first flagship Windows 10 Mobile phones will be Microsoft’s Lumia 950 and 950XL, announced last week. But so far, AT&T is the only confirmed wireless carrier in the United States. In lieu of any other carrier arrangements, Windows fans will need to buy directly from Microsoft, in which case carrier interference would be a non-issue.

The impact on you at home: This is good news for Windows Phone users, who haven’t always been served especially well by wireless carriers. Verizon’s Lumia Icon, for instance, ran outdated software for roughly eight months before Verizon finally coughed up the latest version of Windows Phone 8. Many Windows Phones in North America still don’t have that update.

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