Microsoft has detailed the new features of Windows Phone 8 Update 3 – formally known as GDR3.

With the advent of the Lumia 1520 and 1320,Windows Phone 8 Update 3 aka GDR3 has made its first appearance but are not yet available for all devices. The majority of Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to receive the update before the end of 2013.

Microsoft’s GDR3 update is the third major update for Windows Phone 8, following on from GDR2, and is expected to be followed by Windows Phone 8.1 later next year. In terms of new features, GDR3 is a relatively an OS refresh rather than a new OS, but it does add a few new features, improves upon some of the current features, and enables better hardware in the future.

The GDR3 update takes the OS version number up to 8.0.10501.127 or 8.0.10512.142, depending on your carrier (this can be seen in the ‘about’ module of Settings app). Microsoft has published a list of all the known additions, changes, and improvements that are part of the GDR3 update.

To start things off, the update brings custom ringtones for text messages, instant messages, emails, voicemail and reminders.

Driving Mode is a feature allowing you suppress unwanted notifications such as SMS, calls, status updates, to avoid distractions while driving.

In Accessibility, A suite of apps will be included which helps blind and visually impaired people to take calls, manage contacts, send messages and emails, surf the web, and listen to the notifications.

Screen Rotation Lock, a feature enables locking screen orientation, so it doesn’t shift when you move your phone left or right.

Internet Sharing has been improved to include a faster pairing mode with Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets over Bluetooth. Now, you can share Internet by just a tap on the name of the network, without typing a password.

To save your cellular data on your Windows phone right out of the box, the OS refresh will let you configure your Microsoft account using Wi-Fi during the setup. With Update 3, cleaning temporary files would also be easier with details — such as which category’s taking up space.

The App switcher is a kind of Task Manager that lets you close apps quickly when you’re finished with them. Additionally, several glitches have addressed, and the connection to accessories over Bluetooth has been improved.

Besides, each of Windows Phone manufacturers (Nokia, Samsung, and HTC) will be delivering their firmware updates on top of the GDR3 later this year. Recently the Fin Company launched Lumia 1520 and 1320, which already have pre-installed Nokia Black firmware – aka Bittersweet Shimmer – the post Amber update alongside GDR3. Nokia also promised that their handsets would get both updates early next year.

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