Certifying and Distributing Windows Store Applications to Earlier (ie Non-Supported) Versions of Windows 10 Mobile

In my previous post on Visual Studio 2015 RTM, Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Developer Tools and Debugging on a Windows Phone device I covered modifying the TargetPlatformMinVersion property in the Visual Studio project file in order to deploy your Universal Windows Platform application to a Windows 10 Mobile device. Granted that this post is probably a little too late, since the next build of Windows 10 Mobile is now out (I’m yet to install it), but it is possible to publish your application to the Store so that it can be installed on a non-developer enabled phone.

Now you’d think you’d just be able to create a Store package with the TargetPlatformMinVersion property set to the required value (in this case 10.0.10166.0 to match what I currently have on my device – see the OS Version attribute in the About screenshot below). Unfortunately this is not the case!

If you do attempt to generate a Store package you’ll see an error similar to the following image – “10.0.10166.0” is not a supported value for TargetPlatformMinVersion. Please change it on the Project Property page

Ok, so step one is to revert the change to TargetPlatformMinVersion so that you can at least generate a Store package. From the Project menu in Visual Studio, select Store -> Create App Packages (if this option isn’t enabled, make sure you have you UWP project selected in Solution Explorer). Follow the prompts to do a Store build – this should generate an .appx file you can work with.

What we’re going to do is manually modify the generated package. From the Start menu, select the Developer Command Prompt for VS2015

Change directories to where the .appx file resides. Execute the following command, substituting you .appx filename. This will extract the contents of the .appx file into a sub-folder called “export”

makeappx unpack /nv /p myapplicationpackage.appx /d .export

Open the AppxManifest.xml file using your text editor of choice. Locate the line that looks similar to the following and replace the MinVersion with the version number you want to target (ie 10.0.10166.0)

<TargetDeviceFamily Name=”Windows.Universal” MinVersion=”10.0.10240.0″ MaxVersionTested=”10.0.10240.0″ />

Close and save the updated AppxManifest.xml file. And return to the command prompt and execute the following (again feel free to replace the .appx filename)

makeappx pack /nv /d .export /p myapplicationpackage-updatedversion.appx

And you’re done – submit this package to the Store, and a couple of days later (yes, whilst certification only seems to take a couple of hours, the distribution of UWP apps is very slow at the moment, so expect to wait at least 24hours from when certification is completed) you’ll be able to install your application…… of course, all of this could have been saved if you’d just updated to the latest Windows 10 Mobile build, which I’m about to do now!

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