20 common problems with Windows Phone 8, and how to fix them

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Windows Phone 8.1 is the follow up to Windows Phone 8, which rolled out to devices rather quickly. Despite it’s strengths, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform is not without its flaws. In this roundup, we take a look at common WP8 issues that have been reported by users, and we try to find workarounds and solutions to quickly deal with them. If you’ve encountered any of these Windows Phone 8 problems and you know of a good solution that hasn’t been mentioned, then please post a comment and we’ll add it as soon as we can.

Problem: Black screen during calls


A lot of few people have encountered persistent problems with their screen going black whenever they make or receive a call on their Windows Phone 8 device. This makes it unresponsive, so it’s difficult to cancel or end the call.


  • If you tap the Power button twice the screen should blink back to life, but you may have to act quickly to end the call.

Potential fixes:

  • This is likely an issue with the proximity sensor. Make sure that you don’t have a screen protector covering it. It’s located next to the front-facing camera at the top of the phone.
  • You should also make sure there’s no dirt covering it. Give it a wipe or try using compressed air on the top edge to blast any dust away.
  • Some people have reported success by pushing on the screen where the proximity sensor is located.
  • You could ask for a replacement unit, although some people have encountered the same issue on more than one device.

Glitch: Camera not working

Some people have had problems with their camera on their Windows Phone 8 device. In some cases, the camera button and camera app icon simply don’t seem to trigger anything. In other cases, a message will appear about the camera failing to initialize.


  • Try pressing and holding the camera button for a couple of seconds and see if that starts it.
  • Press and hold the volume down button and the power button together for 10 seconds. Your phone will restart and the camera should be working again, but the problem might reoccur.

Potential fixes:

  • Make sure that your software is up to date; check your device manufacturer’s website.
  • Back up any important files and reset your phone via Settings > About > Reset your phone.
  • If the problem persists, then it’s time to talk to your retailer, carrier, or manufacturer about a replacement handset.

Problem: Duplicate songs


A lot of people have run into issues with their music collections on Windows Phone 8 devices. Sometimes songs appear twice, or even three times. If you look in the folder on your phone there will only be one track, but in the music app you’ll see multiple copies. Unfortunately, this can be a tricky problem to solve.


  • A few people have found that turning off Xbox Music cloud collection helps. Go to Start > Music + Videos > More > Settings and turn off Xbox Music cloud collection.

Potential fix:

  1. Make sure that you have a complete back up of your music collection.
  2. Now delete all of the music on your phone and on your SD card.
  3. Make sure that you back up anything precious on your phone and reset it via Settings > About > Reset your phone.
  4. Put the SD card into your PC and reformat it.
  5. Create a folder called Music on the blank card and manually drag and drop all the music you want into that folder.
  6. Now put the SD card back into your phone and wait for it to update.
  7. When you want to add new tracks take the SD card out of the phone and put it in your computer and drag and drop the new track into the folder, then put the card back in your phone.

Bug: ‘Other’ storage filling up

A lot of people suffer from a flaw in the WP8 system which caused the available storage to gradually fill up. Go into Settings > Phone storage and tap on the bar to get a breakdown of categories and see how much space your music and videos, pictures, apps, and system are taking up. There’s also an ‘other’ category which covers attachments from emails, app & game data, and other temporary files. Unfortunately, this category fills up and there is no way of clearing it out without wiping the phone.

Potential solutions:

  • Microsoft’s GDR2 update addressed this bug. The “other” category will still fill up, but it should be automatically cleared out when the storage reaches capacity.
  • Nokia released a Storage Check tool which can help you gain an insight into what is eating up space and clear away temporary files.
  • There is also a free app called Shrink Storage which enables you to fill your storage and then restart your device and trigger the clear up to empty it out.

Problem: Push notifications not working

windows-phone-7-qantas-live-agent-app-notificationIt’s fairly common to encounter issues with push notifications. Sometimes updates do not come through to your device like they should. This can result in issues with apps like Facebook or WhatsApp where no notifications come through, but when you open the app there are a ton of updates queued up. Many Windows Phone 8 users have been complaining about push notifications not working properly on the platform with a number of popular apps. There are some things you can try.


  • Try restarting your device by holding down the Power button for 10 seconds then tapping to turn it on again.

Potential solutions:

  • Check your Wi-Fi or data connection. Poor coverage will impact on push notifications. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi > Advanced and tick the box next to Keep WiFi on when screen times out.
  • Go to Settings and make sure that Battery saver isn’t turned on as it can disconnect you in order to save power.
  • If you are using your network, then make sure that your data limit hasn’t been exceeded. You should also check your limits in the Data Sense app and make sure it isn’t restricting you.
  • Uninstall the app you are having a problem with, restart your device, then reinstall the app to see if that helps.
  • Some people reported success by turning Location and Find my phone in Settings off or on and then restarting the device.
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