Windows Phone 8.1 has recently been updated to version number 14203 as part of the Preview for Developers program, with Microsoft rolling out a number of changes that could be later released to everyone when the testing period is completed.
In addition to improvements for Battery Saver, Windows Phone 8.1 build 14203 also comes with some changes in the way the operating system handles updates.
As NPU reveals today, Windows Phone 8.1 build 14203 can now download OS updates on a microSD card if you're running low on space, with the switch performed automatically without user input.
When a new OS update is found, Windows Phone first looks for available space on the device. If there isn't enough space for the download, the OS then checks the microSD card for the same thing and saves all necessary files accordingly.
Needless to say, this OS update feature is not available for all devices out there, as a microSD card slot is needed. Lumia 930, for example, won't be able to benefit from this improvement, as no microSD support is being offered on Microsoft's 5-inch flagship device.
Here's an excerpt from Microsoft's changelog for the new Windows Phone 8.1 build 14203:
“Install updates when you want by scheduling them for a time that works best for you. And if your phone supports SD cards, it will now detect if you’re running low on space when updating and use the SD card. (Scheduling an update is available after updating to build 8.10.14203.206. Support for using your SD card for updating your phone depends on your phone model and manufacturer.)”
Even though the addition of such an option comes in handy to everyone with a Windows Phone device full of videos and pictures, there's no doubt that it's also really helpful for affordable devices shipping with limited storage space.
Microsoft is offering a wide array of budget models in developing countries, so reducing the amount of storage offered to buyers is a way to keep the price as low as possible.
MicroSD card support is, however, offered in case the buyer needs to boost capacity, so Microsoft shoots two birds with one stone by avoiding an important price increase and offering users the possibility to increase storage at the same time.
The feature is currently part of the developer version of Windows Phone 8.1, but it should become available to everyone in the coming months.