Guidance for app management for Windows Phone

August 19, 2014

Applies to Windows Phone

This topic covers the basics of managing your app submissions in the Windows Phone Dev Center.

Each app in the Windows Phone Store has one or more packages (XAP, appx, or appxbundle) associated with it. Each package serves a unique combination of platform version, screen resolution(s), and language(s). An app’s state consists of its packages, each package’s Store listing info, and the app’s Lifecycle stages.

When you select Update app on an app’s Lifecycle page, you’re about to change the entire state of the app. When you publish the app, either automatically or manually, these changes to your app’s state are reflected in the Store.

On the Update app page you have these options:

  • Edit App info

  • Upload and describe your package(s)

The following image shows the actions you can take for each package on the Upload and describe your package(s) page.

Update selected, Delete selected, or Add new
  • Select Replace to service an existing package. This includes adding support for more features or more languages. Don’t use Replace to update an existing package with one that targets a different version of Windows Phone.

  • Select Delete to reduce app support for a particular platform version, resolution(s), or language(s). If there are other packages associated with the same app, during the publishing process the Store checks for a replacement package that can run on devices that were previously served by the deleted package.

  • Select Add new to add a package that supports a new version of Windows Phone.

NoteNote:

If your existing app has a package that targets Windows Phone OS 7.1, and you’ve created a new package to run on Windows Phone 8, use the Add new option to upload the new package that targets Windows Phone 8. Don’t use the Replace option on your Windows Phone OS 7.1 package to upload an additional, new package that targets Windows Phone 8. If you select Replace, the Windows Phone 8 package will overwrite the Windows Phone OS 7.1 package, and your app will no longer be available to phones running Windows Phone OS 7.1. This applies also to Windows Phone 8.1.

The Add new option enables you to make two or more packages available and ensures that packages are available to customers using all versions of Windows Phone.

If you unintentionally overwrite a package that targets an earlier version of Windows Phone, you can restore the earlier package by using the Add new option to upload it again.

If you have a Windows Phone OS 7.1 app that you’re considering updating to take advantage of Windows Phone 8 functionality, see App submission tips for Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8.

Here are a few examples that illustrate how an app with one or more packages is targeted to different Windows Phone devices.

Example app 1

Package

Targeted devices

7.1

7.x, 8.0, 8.1

Example app 2

Package

Targeted devices

7.1

7.x

8.0

8.0, 8.1

Example app 3

Package

Targeted devices

7.1

7.x

8.0

8.0

8.1

8.1

Example app 4

Package

Targeted devices

8.0

8.0, 8.1

Example app 5

Package

Targeted devices

8.0

8.0

8.1

8.1

Example app 6

Package

Targeted devices

8.1

8.1

Example app 7

Package

Targeted devices

7.1

7.x, 8.0

8.1

8.1

So, a lower platform version package is served to a phone with a higher platform version only if no higher platform version package has been published for that app.

NoteNote:

You must ensure that a higher platform version package is a superset of the lower platform version package in terms of supported resolution(s) and language(s). This is necessary to avoid orphaning users of your app when they move to a higher platform version phone.

Here are a few important rules that you need to be aware of if you plan to publish a Windows Phone 8.1 package for your app:

  1. After an app has a published Windows Phone 8.1 package, subsequent updates must contain a Windows Phone 8.1 package.

  2. After an app has a published Windows Phone 8.1 XAP, subsequent updates must either have a Windows Phone 8.1 XAP, Windows Phone 8.1 appx, or Windows Phone 8.1 appxbundle.

  3. When an app has a published Windows Phone 8.1 appx, subsequent updates must either have a Windows Phone 8.1 appx or Windows Phone 8.1 appxbundle. In other words, a Windows Phone 8.1 XAP is not allowed.

  4. After an app has a published Windows Phone 8.1 appxbundle, subsequent updates must have a Windows Phone 8.1 appxbundle. In other words, a Windows Phone 8.1 XAP or Windows Phone 8.1 appx is not allowed.

  5. If your submission has a Windows Phone 8.1 package, its version number must be higher than the version number of the previously published Windows Phone 8.1 package, if any.

  6. If your submission has more than one Windows Phone 8.1 XAP, they must have the same version number.

XAP packages

In rare instances, you may have large XAP files that contain large files for each language supported by the app. If this is the case, you should consider refactoring your app into multiple smaller XAPs, each supporting a subset of languages, to reduce the install size of the app on the phone.

NoteNote:

We recommend that you avoid creating multiple packages unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Appx packages

If your appx package is becoming too large, please use an appxbundle instead. Unlike an appx, which must be downloaded in its entirety by a Windows Phone 8.1 device, appxbundles are handled smartly and only the resources that are applicable to a specific device will be downloaded. See App packages and deployment for more information.

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