Start Screen Background Apps

Spice up your Windows Phone 8.1 Start Screen with OneStart

No Cyan until September

Some phones in India not getting Lumia Cyan until September

Cortana for your interests

New video shows how to add interests for Cortana

Lumia Cyan Update

Cyan going to Italy soon for the 1020?

New phone alert

All green Lumia 1520 now available from AT&T

Call me maybe

How to speed dial on Windows Phone 8.1

Cyan on AT&T

Lumia 520 and 925 on AT&T finally get Cyan and 8.1


Microsoft ends Device Hub beta, included in Lumia Cyan

How To

Want the Lumia Cyan update? You need to downgrade your phone first.

How To

Here's how to move apps to your micro SD card


Demo of the Animated Lock Screen for 8.1

Windows Phone News

Here's a sneak peek at Lock screen apps on Windows Phone 8.1

General News

Microsoft launches new training portal to get you started on Windows Phone

Windows Phone News

Lumia Cyan comes to the Lumia 925 on O2 in the U.K. and to the Lumia 625 on Ireland's Meteor

Windows Phone News

Long awaited Lock screen app for Windows Phone 8.1 almost ready for public beta

Windows Phone News

Microsoft releases helpful video to get you started with Cortana


Microsoft's aiming for flagship Windows Phones, killing Nokia X but selling MixRadio

Windows Phone News

O2 UK shares details on the Windows Phone 8.1 update, teases visual voicemail

Windows Phone News

Preview for Developers users need to rollback for Cyan

Windows Phone News

Cortana showing a stock chart is a nice touch on Windows Phone 8.1

Blurred Lock screen effect

How to make the coolest Lock screen for your Windows Phone in 4 easy steps

Since I’ve already shared with you my favorite wallpaper for Windows Phone 8.1 and some of my apps on my Start screen, I figured I’d finish the week up with something on my Lock screen. Granted, I’ve been known to change this often, depending on which app adds support for that feature. But today I’m back to an oldy but goody: The blurred Start screen.

As you can see in the above photo, it looks like my Lock screen is an opaque but see-through window to my Start screen. Unfortunately, transparent Lock screens are not back, but you can simulate the effect with a few easy steps.

This idea goes way back to March 2013, when user Joe920 posted it in our forums. That thread, found here, has become quite the fun spot to share ideas, and since we have a lot of new users, it’s time for a refresh. You can follow the steps in that thread, but there’s an easier way in 2014, that I’ll share with you now.

Blurred Lock screen effect unlocked

Translucent Lock screen effect

  1. Download the free and fantastic app Blur from the Windows Phone Store here
  2. Screenshot your Start screen (Start key + Power on 8.0; Volume up and Power on 8.1)
  3. Launch Blur on your phone and adjust amount of blurriness
  4. Then either save to your phone or just set as Lock screen

That’s it. It literally takes seconds to do. Now for tips!


  • On 8.1 devices, you may want to edit out the new static Status icons near the top
  • You can use Tilesparency, found here, to create ‘dummy’ Tiles in case you have a weather or clock app with info you don’t want (this is super picky, but just in case)
  • You can now also use your favorite Lock screen app to add things e.g. Lock Widgets (found here in the Store) to add weather or battery info, or just keep it plain.

I think this looks super cool and it’s easy to read my Lock screen info too. Tell me what you think!

Have a good Lock screen tip? Share them with us in comments or our forums!

QR: Blur      QR: Tilesparency

QR: lock widgets



There are 117 comments. Sign in to comment

tkdmacgeek says:

I asked Cortana on a date for last night, and she said yes!  I was all happy but then she stood me up! :(

JoneKone says:

.. this is a movie for you bro. ;)

SoapBox3000 says:

can i upvote your comment?  because that was an epic response!  great movie btw

Hey Daniel, what is that weather app on your start? Looks gorgeous.

jason8957 says:

You should try it.  It made my phone faster.

NIST says:

Personally I have a picture of our savior and saint Dan Rubino as my lock screen wallpaper. Makes chicks wanna touch it.

jbrandonf says:

I pray in the direction of Dan Rubino six times a day.

NIST says:

It's really all any of us can do.

Nice, my phone's cool factor is up about 5000% this week alone.

JNate says:

Not over "9000!!!!!" thouh -_-

Me neither, but I can't deny it's a cool way of customising your Windows Phone. =) Seen a lot of people who do this on the forums.

kenzibit says:

These transparency tiles are gonna kill people...smh

Ayman Jaddaa says:

This is so cool!

RockmanNeo says:

Ah I remember I used to sport the Uncharted 3 transparent lock screen. Good ol times.

With all the dynamic lock screens we will be getting, I hope transparency is coming back too.

I should delete clock hub tile first :P

jbrandonf says:

It blurs. I didn't bother and I can't see it.

Not for me. Looks appealing on the article but not on my phone. Good article though.

I like the HTC app's weather lockscreen, the images are awsome.

mr_808 says:

I'd really like this if the image faded away into the start screen, but the way the blurred lock screen goes up over the clear start screen image makes it a little jarring.  I'm gonna hold out for the Rudy's lock screen.  Man, that's gonna be awesome! 

Blacklac says:

This was my let down too. Caught me off guard the first time I used it and the whole screen/tiles raised. Wasn't what I thought it was going to be.

jbrandonf says:

It's just an image. Did you really think it was going to change how the phone worked?

tomgielen says:

Blur from Rudy Huyn looks better!!

I'm still using lockmix, its been 3 months and I'm still loving it, reason: the chuck Norris 'facts' widget it provides :)

Nakazul says:

I like it because the layout of the widgets. :)

topleya says:

I'm hoping that Rudy's lock screen app can perform something similar, but functioning

CreepinJesus says:

It's a shame the lockscreen 'slides' away rather then 'reveals' :(

CJ Thunder says:

Ditto, not really translucent.

Jesus, some people. It's an image, not a lock screen transition. Is there to makes your lock screen look cool not to change the way you unlock your phone.

jeff adams3 says:

So can you make you app transparent????

jayruguitar says:

Thanx for the refresher Dan. I've been doing this since you first wrote about it a year ago and haven't looked back since. Looks great!

MrGoodSmith says:

I enjoy the daily Bing photos in my lock screen.

mango.lover says:

Dude, too many lock screen articles. It's overkill! You're starting to look like Gizmodo back when the iPhone 4 was released.

No such thing. Also: you don't have to read these ;)

(We also haven't done many Lock screen articles; you're mixing it up with our 8.1 Start screen stuff)

bayanii says:

Yup. This is the first one I've seen. We need more. I don't know why people thought the transitioning to the start screen would be different. Silly kids.

mango.lover says:

I stand corrected. Yes, not that many lock screen articles. Got confused because of the live tiles image.

glassadam says:

More please. I for one appreciate them and other WP cosmetic tips. Keep 'em coming!

I'll stick with Bing images for my lock screen. Although I wouldn't mind having Bing as my background to.

davidD93 says:

the Bing POTD is the only thing stopping me from making this my lock screen.

matheee says:

Ditto! bing pic of the day is just awesone... Even if it chages at 9 o'clock here in Europe... ;)

scsgoal says:

Why can't Creative Studio edit screenshots?

bayanii says:

Creative studio is meant for your raw images, which allows the algorithms to be manipulated.

scsgoal says:

That makes sense.  Thanks!

Sharpmango says:

Nice little article and factoid.. Ive done it now, makes a nice change from Bing for a bit

nakialj says:

Daniel Rubino Start Screen looks amazing!

pexbirdxd says:

That's so cool! I'm gonna try it, i got the Transparency Tiles app and Win 8.1 HD Wallpaper ready.

ortizang says:

Guys is it possible to install windows phone 8.1 in a phone with windows phone 7.8?

Question of the Day award goes to...

dortyboy says:

Ehh I'll pass.

Thimbro says:

I like Bing weather on mine. Useful but just wish there were more pictures other than the same 4 or 5.

I've got the 8.1 update. Im facing some problems with whatsapp...The photos and videos are saved in a folder called 'other pictures'. Now the problem is I cant access the photos or the videos from within the app but I can send from the picture hub. In the store live tile, it no longer displays the number of apps that needs to be updated. Is anyone facing the same problem?

SwimSwim says:

"On 8.1 devices, you may want to edit out the new static Status icons near the top"


Not fond of this, to be honest... Reminds me Android. Thankfully, most apps hide the status bar, so it's not too bothersome. :)

Addison says:

Really cool idea. Just wish the translucent slab looked like it was sliding over the tiles as I unlocked it instead of a static imitation -_-

Lipe13 says:

Looks clean and neat. I'd rate this lockscreen idea 8/10, and would totally do it.

Chef316 says:

Thanks again WindowsPhoneHacker for the Blur app and for jumping my old HTC HD-7 to WP7.8 :-). Had already dome this on my WP7.8...then again when I got my WP8 L925! But currently have the ultrasound photo of my son who is due to be born in August on my lock screen!!!

wanzerty says:

Really Nice! Thanks Daniel :D

twelvetudors says:

It looks cool when the lock screen is still, but it loses it's wow factor when you start to move the lock screen and it becomes apparent that it's just a picture. If Microsoft added a frosted glass type option as a new lock screen though, I'd be down with that, even though I feel it's done horribly on iOS7.

That may well be an option now we have animated lock screens available in 8.1.

xrs22 says:

I use blur, lockmix and glance beta. Blurred the lock screen and glance screen.

glassadam says:

Transparent lock screen sounds cool. This was a feature in the past? Bring it back!!

Ahh that was a little glitch in WP7 that allowed transparent wallpapers to be a thing thanks to .png files. Sadly, it was fixed in the Tango/Mango update.

thisispants says:

This is kinda cool.

Nakazul says:

Hey, blur works again in WP 8.1. Stopped working for me awhile a go. Thnx for the tip.

That is really rad, seriously!

Sicarius123 says:

Blur doesn't work for me in 8.1, does nothing. Worked fine in 8.0.

I've found the best way to get a great 8.1 background is to search for whatever scenic thing you want + bokeh. Set the picture as your lock screen and start background. The bokeh effect makes it much easier to read your tiles than a normal picture.

Oubeid says:

Blurred my lock screen and it looks awesome!! Now my girlfriend is jealous.. She wants to get a Windows phone now lol

HM02 says:

I can't tell which weather app that is in the second pic. Any ideas?

medianemesis says:

Blue Skies. Check the Store. It is free for a limited period...

HM02 says:

Oh ok. I had that for a couple of days, but I couldn't handle it not updating every hour.  I see they added an option to buy it to unlock new update intervals. Nice

shadow118 says:

Tried it, didn't like the effect. Instead I just put the same picture I had as background for lock screen as well. Now it looks kinda interesting

Grimlock says:

Boo, this is some IOS7 transparency effect type stuff!!!


(But I do enjoy all the start screen stories)

Studio384 says:

It would be cool if the lockscreen only contained the blur, so you do not see actual tiles move up. Would be a nice effect.

How do I make my tiles look like yours?

MrSimmix says:

Ha ha! This I like

Dual Half says:

Any news about the diagonal lock screen like the one Joe shown at Build???

Ed Boland says:

I have an even cooler trick (IMO) where I use a wallpaper, cut in half vertically, with the left half on the main lock screen, and the right half on the enabled Kids Corner lock screen. You have to play with it to get it just right, but when you do, you can swipe left and right to both screens and have it all one picture.... Right now, I have a Titanfall wallpaper. And Of course my Kids Corner is renamed "Photography".. I pin all my camera/photo apps there.

SAM 77 says:

Lol using three apps to get a desired effect is a good indiactor of what is wrong with the world.



Hyperbole, much? I mean, are you always so dramatic over hacks posted on the internet, like is that what you do? Cause that's awesome.

pallentx says:

Yeah, on the iPhone, Siri reads your mind and just does it.

On my phone screen shot does not works at all after pressing volume up and power button on my wp8.1 Lumia 520. No photohub,no screenshot on locked the screen.

xankazo says:

Really cool effect!

Groovy, thanks for the tips!

How to make my lock screen the same as the picture above? To make the lock screen transparent, who can tell me?

You're new here, right?

yeah. I've already know how to do that,thx. But I don't know how to reply to you with the app wpcentral.

avigyan says:

I find this pretty ugly.

pattayo_ib says:

It's pretty anyway then. Hehe

Can't see a need to 'edit out' the static status indications as they're hidden by the real ones on the lock screen.

rculver9056 says:

Pretty cool thanks ;-)

siddhant_96 says:

Daniel....please keep us updated with your customization so that we can also get updated with you! :)

vikrant6 says:

I would like to see actual transparent lock screen, hope Rudy is listening...

pr0phecy says:

Strange. I can't find blur in the store. The wpcentral link to blur also doesn't work for me.

marcus26 says:

This needs to be properly implemented by Microsoft. Needs to be more dynamic. It looks ok

marcus26 says:

That blur app is rubbish though. Best just doing this on the computer

Sagar Garag says:

Nokia Play To is not working after wp 8.1 update...anybody else facing the same problem?

I m facing below error while I m using lock widgets
An error occurs
You should have to connect your phone to the internet

Incidentally, I had such a fortunate tile arrangement that with this app, the blurred lock screen image creates the perfect illusion of the phone having a kind of transparent background (HTC 8S) Thanks for the tip!

Nice one.

Thansk to update this.

Jason Parmar says:

Thank Daniel, this is awesome!

Just curious, how do you use Bing Vision for QR codes now, I have Cortana and can't work out how. I used RedLaser and the "Blur" app linked to the Live Tile one too (strange).

pallentx says:

My favorite lock screen so far is Amazing Weather HD's. You can point it to a photo album and it overlays weather info at the top. Its the only one I've seen that will randomly cycle through a folder of images and not just pick one.