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No more five-device limit for apps
You'd be amazed how quickly you can run into the five-device limit that applies to Windows Store apps. In Windows 8, the only fix was to remove one of your five authorized PCs from the list. Windows 8.1 eliminates this frustration by upping the limit for app installations to 81 devices.
(Prediction: at least three people will hit this limit and tell the world about it in the Talkback section of this gallery.)
Reading List adds save-for-later options
The Reading List app, new in Windows 8.1, might be the most useful of the new features introduced with this update. From any Windows Store app (including the built-in Windows 8.1 apps) you can click or tap the Share charm to slide open the pane shown here. Tap Reading List to save the headline and a snippet from the item, for easy reference later from the Reading List app. Your saved items are synced across devices as well, so you can save a flurry of web pages, news items, and even links to apps in the Windows Store, then catch up with the entire collection on a different device.
Note that you can't share anything from the desktop or from desktop apps. One small change in the Windows 8.1 RTM code is relevant here, though. If you open a page in the desktop version of Internet Explorer, you can right-click its tab to reveal an Open In Immersive Browser menu choice (that option wasn't in the Windows 8.1 Preview). Click that option to open the page in the Metro-style Internet Explorer and save it to the Reading List.
The Mail app gets serious
The Mail app included with Windows 8 was embarrassingly incomplete. Its Windows 8.1 successor is a strong candidate for Most Improved App, with a slew of big changes. Among them:
- IMAP support in addition to the POP and Exchange ActiveSync support in the Windows 8 app
- The ability to drag and drop messages and create rules on the fly
- Automatic filtering of newsletters and social media updates (you can disable this feature or change its behavior for specific senders)
- The ability to pin folders and designate contacts as favorites so you can quickly see messages from those senders
There's a search box above the message list as well, making it easier to find exactly the message you're looking for.