Upgrading to a newer Windows Phone? Perhaps you’ve got your eye on some of the LTE based devices announced at CES, or some of the other hot new second generation hardware that your carrier is showing off in the stores. There is lots of goodness in a new phone, but there’s some things you need to know about your applications before you undertake this migration.
First off, there is no way to back up your device and restore all your apps, saved games, and configurations on a new device. There is hints that Microsoft might be working on implementing this in a future release. But as of today, there is nothing. As such, before you head down this path, you should head over to Windows Phone Marketplace on your PC and see that it has an accurate list of the applications you’ve installed. This will serve as a handy way to recall what apps you want to reinstall on your new phone.
The next thing you’re going to run into is paid apps. What happens to all those apps you paid good money for on your old phone? You’ll quickly notice that the Marketplace on the phone does not have any indication that you’ve already purchased the app. There’s no indication that it’s free for you to re-download onto this new device. Rest assured, it is. Once you find the app, simply select “Buy” at this point, the marketplace figures out that you’ve already paid for it, and allows you to download it to the new phone for free. Not very intuitive if you ask me.
But hold on… all paid apps are not equal. Things are a little different if you picked up an application during a promotion where the developer was offering it for free. For example, I picked up Cocktail Flow during MIX 2011 when the developer had a free – during the MIX conference – promotion. It’s an awesome app, and I’ve used it many many times. Unfortunately, it’s not considered a paid app on my account. So when you tap the “Buy” button on your phone for these apps, you will actually be purchasing the app. It’s not a big deal for me, as Cocktail Flow is well worth the money. However, it’s very misleading for the consumer. If I acquired an app during a free period and at some point later it becomes paid, I should still be allowed to re-download it on another phone without having to pay for it.
Other than this gotcha with the free promotion apps, you’re good to tap the “Buy” button while re-downloading your apps on your new Windows Phone.