Windows Phone 8.1

Does the third row of tiles make your Windows Phone 8.1 Start Screen too small?

One of the many features of Windows Phone 8.1 is the ability to add a third row of tiles to your Windows Phone Start Screen. We’ve already gotten used to seeing the third row in action on the larger screened Nokia Lumia 1520 but how is it performing on the smaller screened devices?

WPCentral member nexialbinding has started this discussion in the forums asking just that. Nexialbinding updated a Lumia 920 and is a little put off on how terrible things look with the extra row added.

Others have a mixed reaction to the new third row.

Raghave94 writes,

“It looks extremely small and bad on my HTC 8x

On the other hand, Franceso Savioni has Lumia 720 and thinks the extra row looks fantastic. Several Lumia 1020 owners note similar positive results as well.

Windows Phone 8.1 Live Tile Settings

So how do you throw the switch and add that third row of Live Tiles on Windows Phone 8.1? It's simple.

  • Go to your Windows Phone Settings
  • Choose the Start + Theme setting
  • Scroll to the bottom of the Start + Theme page to turn on the option to show more tiles

Easy as pie.

Personally, with my aging eyesight the third row is way too small for my Lumia 520 but not too shabby on the Lumia 1020. But what say you?

If you’ve updated your Windows Phone to the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers, jump on over to this WPCentral Forums discussion and let us know what you think of the new third row feature.



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mmm273 says:

on 920 its too small...

Kimi Alin says:

I have the opposite opinion :P I love it on my lumia920 and because of the third column I can add more normal-sized tiles instead of small tiles without scrolling too much.

traceamar says:

Love it on my 925. Everything I need is on the screen, no scrolling needed

jpkjpk says:

Yes, the medium translucent tiles look awesome on my 925 in the three column view!

ThiasJ says:


The "small tiles" are way too small on Lumia 920 ... but the medium sized tile is just awesome :)

toph36 says:

I like the small tiles on my 928. But they are small. If you think they are too small, don't use the small tiles. I think having 3 medium tiles instead of only 2 is great. Being able to have a wide tile next to a medium is great too. It is definitely great having the option. You don't need to enable the setting if you don't want to.

jpkjpk says:






jes1888 says:

How to enable it?

wpgeek820 says:

Yes, no scrolling needed but then the start screen background looks really good when there is something to scroll.

Also, Live Tile text on a few apps like WPCentral's is very small and almost unreadable. Maybe a bigger font with the next update and I'll be very happy with the extra column.

goldenpipes says:

I find nothing wrong with the small tiles on my 920

I'm using it on a 925 as well & like it.  The small tiles are definitely small, so it's better to use apps with no live tile for those.

BTW... I think WPC should have a "Post Your Home Screen" thread so we can all get ideas on how others are organizing things.  It might help some people organize their own home screens. :)


j_the_geek says:

Same for me. I added/changed a lot of the tiles to wide to make use of the extra space.

The start screen looks a lot more LIVE now :)

akks says:

Exactly! More medium sized tiles... More life!

dhruv07 says:

I'm lvin d third row on my 720 it looks like corporate nd HD elegance ..!!!

Bacchus1976 says:

Yes, I had a lot of tiles in the small size to save space, but I compromised on live tiles as a result. With the third row I now have far more live tiles on my 925s home screen. I think it's great. 


The small tiles are a little too small, but time will tell if they are difficult to read and tap, but my hunch is that I'll adjust pretty quickly. 

drkgrss says:

Agreed. I now have more medium sized tiles and I love it.


val.m says:

Exactly my thoughts. I just can't imagine going to a two column layout now. :)

Dare2Blink says:

+1020 I love it although ab extra large live tile would be great

Miti 1982 says:

Agree, did the same on my 920.

Not going back to 2 columns :)

And having a pic as background works great too!

PhilR8 says:

Yeah, I love that I can now have the full/large-sized tiles for all of my apps and STILL see more on the homescreen than before.  

astroboy#WP says:

agreed.  I like it on my Lumia 920 as well.  I definitely bumped up the size of more of my apps that used to be small or medium.  And I'm liking the new background picture option.  Definitely gives a freshness to the operating system on a phone that is already two years old.  I'm also liking that fact that even with a significant OS upgrade it is not causing any slowness in older hardware (unlike some other smartphones I've had in the past *cough* apple *cough*. 

vdasus says:

It depends from your style - i'm using to be comfortable, notes from calendar, many digits etc. Somebofy using more for quick access - it's totally different style of use. In my style - icons too small - reading is not comfortable.

That's absolutely true, this is one of the many good things that happened to my Lumia 920 after the update

Flavio76 says:

1520 was wayyyyyy to big, now I have the perfect phone, really great

nokia3660 says:

agreed, but the moment when I swipe right on my 920 to get into the app list, the difference in text size across the UI is very glaring. I wish they would have normalised the text size if the 3rd column is chosen 

Edit: My reply was meant to be the post regarding 920, well WPC

Totally using 920 as well and love the extra column of live tiles on it.

panesar7 says:

Me too. Have more of normal sized tiles, looks much better.
Simply loving it!

bjax says:

I agree. I wish the large tile would stretch all the way across.

ZanPan says:

That's my only gripe as well. The larger tile doesn't stretch all the way across.

I'm quite OCD so it bothers me quite a bit (I guess a large tile in the middle and then 4 small tiles on each side would work)

But thinking about it, I guess some images, like the ones displayed on the photos live tile, would proably look too stretched out.

I would like a collum tile, eventually.

bjax says:

Hmmm, I might try having the large tile in the middle...i would think if they do make it stretch, it would be up to devs to adjust the live tile image to look proper.

NokiaBeast says:

+1020  I would LOVE a column tile too!

crise says:

Yes totally needed

Eas195 says:

and with Lumia 620, it goes smaller. ;)

hotraia says:

Same here.
wrote by windows phone swipe keyboard

just used the medium size and large size tile more often.. 

problem solved.

Juzz Tianz says:

I really love this three column feature! Information on Live Tiles are still visible for me, and I dont need to scroll too much anymore and I can put lots of apps on my start screen now.

dortyboy says:

I love it on my 920. The screen looks fully utilized.

funkyGeneral says:

I also love it on my 920, but I have always been one to set my computer resolution as high as possible. The more I can fit on the screen the better.

Hildr says:

This. I wanted to upgrade my 920 for a bigger screen, but now it feels really larger! Love it!

PeadarWagon says:

Just use more medium tiles.

eXoTaylor says:

It is a tad small on the 920, but i think more tiles with small 1x1 tiles is a fair trade compared to the old version.

tribexx says:

I love it on my 928.

dazorange says:

It took me a day to get used to it but now I don't think I could go back. I also wish more tiles utilised the clear option now to increase the visibility of the background image. The bing apps especially should.

I love it on my 920. :)

beeq says:

Just perfect on 920

mjfadaway says:

They should add an option to have the empty space back on the right hand side if you don't want the third row of tiles. 

ziddy7 says:

Download 'tile gap', it allows you to put an 'empty' transparent tile of any of the 3 sizes on your home screen ;)

Dave R4 says:

Looks great on my 920... you must be blind

NH3MAN says:

Love it on my 1020... Need the extra real estate with all the apps I like to pin. The thing is that if you think the small tiles are too small then just use the medium you would still have almost as much room with the extra row, or just roll it back to the elementary way it was before. Options are good ;)

RayWP7 says:

Yeah, small is clearly subjective to people. I helped my friend install 8.1 and I wish still had my 920. Too bad I want a higher resolution device. 1520 will do for now.

larspassic says:

I can imagine with 480x800 resolution I might be hard to read, but on the 920 its fine

xankazo says:

If on a 920 is too small try that on a 620. Tiles suited for ants.

shadow118 says:

What's wrong with ants? :D

I like how the third row looks on my 620, I can use more medium and wide tiles now. 

SlottyVX says:

likewise i have the 620, while they are small i dont have trouble with them and havent hit a wrong tile/window as of yet.

Disagree! I love it! More wide tiles now. With some mediums, made less important tiles gap fillers. Works great on my L920. :)

Chacness says:

Love it on my 920.

Love it on my 920. Never going back to 2 tiles

tdavi82 says:

The icons are small, but I like it on my Lumia 920. Text on news tiles like NBC News are not difficult to read. I like to keep relevant apps on the same row. The new tile column does make it a challenge. I want to fill in the gaps, but at the same time, I don't want to clutter up the Start Screen.

I disagree, I think it's fine. However, the background image thing sucks because Microsoft didn't make the Music and Games apps capable of cooperating with it, so it leaves a big chunk of the picture unfilled. It makes the whole thing look stupid, so I turned it off.

I love it on my 920.

Marco Gomes1 says:

The small tile is definitely too small. The other sizes it's a question of getting used to it, I hope.

Not necessarily - I switched to show more tiles but I'm using all of them in medium and large sizes. This way I get an in-between small and medium amount of tiles on screen: more than just mediums, less than all small, so I effectively have 3 columns of medium tiles that are easy to see with live info.

Personally I'm pretty happy with how my 920 looks now.


danielgray says:

On 920, it is very small. I tend not to use small tiles now. I am using the wide tile for the first time. Loving it!

stui83 says:

Teeny tiny on my 620 haha

Sicarius123 says:

I love it on my 920. Made quite a few apps larger, but a lot of apps I need frequent access to while only needing a number notification I can make tiny.!12379&authkey=!AK...

Expression2 says:

Perfect on my Lumia +1020!

negi ji says:

but its optional man & three square tile is looking awesome man.

Romberry says:

I have a Lumia 820 and when I first turned on the third column I also thought "too small." But after living with it for a day, the whole "too small" thing went away. Basically, it was a change and it took a little while for it to seem normal. Now that I'm used to it, wouldn't go back.

The 930.  In the US and in cyan AND on any carrier.  And no, not the gimpy Icon.

LTTG says:

It doesn't look bad on my 720...

Deamion says:

At first it looked too small on my 620, but before my day was over I was used to it. It makes the phone look like it has a higher resolution screen.

The same way a higher resolution screen makes your desktop icons smaller.

abhishake620 says:

that is excatly how i feel but yeah it does take time getting used to ......glad the screen sze is small can easily pull down the action centre .....1520 people will have a hard time pulling it in one hand though.....

teoami says:

I have no problem pulling it with one hand...


buh dum tsss

broar94 says:

Exactly! I love this new start screen too. Very useful

ashutn says:

Same here, I'm also using 3 tiles setting on my Lumia 620, I mainly t use medium n large size tiles

stui83 says:

Interesting concept, will try it out

Yes, is hard to read the text on the tiles.

pwachleman says:

Seems perfect on my 1520... :)

HarkAtYou says:

On my 1520 it looks as though there are now two black spaces at the edges which weren't there before? Did it look like that before? I don't like it, I want the tiles to reach the edges.

But I do like the new smaller keyboard, text and buttons

Marco Gomes1 says:

The tiles never filled the whole screen till the edges, well, at least since WP 8

HarkAtYou says:

We're both right, I just checked side by side screenshots of my home screen, you're right that they didn't go all the way to the edges, but they were a lot closer. It's because the gaps between the apps are smaller, so it pulls in from the sides. It used to be nice and even, gaps at the side and in between apps, now it looks odd and disjointed. Plus because the background is black is makes it look like I has a really skinny but tall iphone5 style screen.

I do like the way they've moved the apps up a bit, I didn't like the big gap at the top before.

On my 1520 it's perfect. Just a bit too much space on the edges of the Home Screen though.

Akash Patel says:

At first i thought it look ugly but after setting background image i am liking it.

erzhik says:

If you keep all your tiles small, of course third row will make them even smaller. I'm fine with two rows.

Hagenlund says:

Looks awesome on my 4,3" 8X! People who don't like it need to get glasses or turn it off again!

Yeah it does look bad with my awesome Lumia 520

Chemilinski says:

I feel the opposite with mine. :)

ebin5 says: looks great in my 520. My eyes not aged as George as I'm only 18.

Pranay1995 says:

Really, is it available for Lumia 520?, i heard that they were dumping this feature on 520 & 620 because of their 4" screen size

Sajal Garg says:

It looks awesome on even 520..

AbacusGlitch says:

I also have a 520 and it definitely does have the feature.  The small tiles look to small and i don't think the phone is powerful enough to handle the animations well.  It looks like the animations are cut short for speed.  That isn't necessarily all bad.  I use small tiles for minor apps like the calculator, calendar, etc. and the ones i originally had as small tiles are now upgraded to normal sized tiles.  Tile fonts are too small but it still is a welcomed feature despite it's issues.

Aniket Bhat says:

Could you maybe upload a screenshot somewhere?? 

Tried it on my 920 and went back. Just too small for a 4.5 screen IMO. My next phone should be a 5 incher.

NIST says:

The extra wide black gutter doesn't help either. I wish the screen went edge to edge.

The border is for usability, it helps prevent users gripping their phone from accidentally opening Apps.


Odog4ever says:


If you hold a phone one handed your fingers natually curl around onto the screen (unless you have a phablet).

Why is it so hard for people to grok usability is the reason behind "arbitrary" UI decisions?

Marco Gomes1 says:

I use my phone with only one hand all the time and I call bs for that excuse. It's a phone, it's not a boob that you wrap your hands around. Put the phone in one hand and look at it. You never even get close to the borders of the screen.

jakrog says:

Indeed! Why is there so much black space on the sides? Any functional reasons for it?

Glowprod says:


Unfortunatly they need to keep the margins for people using white background, it would look odd without white space on the edges.

NIST says:

The border plus the gutter is about the width of a small tile. I would prefer to see it more on par with what the HTC m8 and Samsung does which is edge to edge. That would be MAJOR for our OS.

rogerhew says:

+925. That's the way to go. Get a bigger screen, no whinging.

CobaltDragon says:

Love it on my 925. Resized some tiles larger, but love the extra space.

There's always the option to turn it off. There isn't much to complain about honestly. On a small screen cramming more information means everything gets smaller. Its called physics. Lol.

dasfoto says:

Actually, it's more like "called geometry" than "called physics".

NH3MAN says:

Yea, but I'm waiting on the phone that uses physics in its UI, Now that's the future ;)

zenithware says:

On 625 is ok!


Nikhilarthan says:

No it doesn't make looks awesome in parallelax effect

Yes. They are too small for my taste, I switched back to the large tiles, But I still love having the option.

themichal007 says:

On 920 it's way too small

Dave R4 says:

you must be blind then

themichal007 says:

Well that's your opinion

SamiHanna says:

Perfect on my ativ s

SIMONator24 says:

I want WP8.1 too on my Ativ S so i can use third column :(

So... install it... ;)

aafa says:

dont wait man. you'll be waiting at least 2 months...just man up and sign up for the developers preview!

Onursari says:

I guess it should be fixed. It looks small but I use it on 820.

Kunzinator says:

920 here, I like it and it has actually let me take advantage of certain live tiles more. The ones I don't need info from I am able to make very small which then gives me more room for the live tiles with useful information.

NH2G says:

I love it on my 8x.

ibbyj says:

After using 3rd row on my 925 for a day switching back makes mw phone seem silly. Everything so large makes it look like a toy.

NH3MAN says:

I know that's right, makes it look clunky to me...

DarrenSproat says:

No... It's awesome. Have more real estate to use larger tiles on more apps.

DarrenSproat says:

Lumia 1020, btw...

rjton says:

on my lumia 620 looks so small, i dont like it

but on bigger resolution i like

Turanga06 says:

Loving it! My 1020 screen looks bigger and nicer!

Chris Tyas says:

Awesome on my 1020. It actually puts the outer edges of the outer tiles further out, i.e. It reduces the black margin slightly and makes better use of the screen. The only issue i have is that i now have everything on my start screen and hardly need to scroll and see the nice parallax effect.. :|

psiu_glen says:

Waaay too small on my 520. Have held off on my 928. Will probably wait quite awhile to see if they actually keep tweaking things or if they just ship.

Doesn't help that they shrunk it in on the sides...

Took a bit getting used to on the 1020, but looks nice

RolexDPracer says:

I have a 822 and so far it works for me. It's handy having more apps available in one touch.

I am using medium square tiles, It looking awesome..

looks good with tile of medium and large size on my lumia 520

muiiio says:

Size-wise it's ok, but seems kinda slow with a background image applied...

I'm getting use to it, :)) lumia 521

Dan Strong1 says:

Using 1020. At first I thought small but after a day or so I've got used to it. Its nice not scrolling down as far now. Ideally the phone would be 5in, will have to wait for a 1030 maybe...

Not a fan of the small tiles

psiu_glen says:

I already use a combination of small, medium and large tiles matching on both my 520 and 928 and fit pretty much everything I want already...

Just fine on my Icon. But if not, I appreciate Microsoft giving us a choice. BTW typed with word flow!

ImSoWade says:

Can you do both tile sizes on the Icon?

Anant Anand says:

But why to keep small tile at all? We can have 3 medium or one wide with one medium time in row... For my L720 it's great... Even small tiles rock!

DVELOPinc says:

Exactly. I have this combination of tiles on my L521 and its just fine.

Cam2A says:

I'm torn over if I'm going to use it or not, but it's nice to have the option for those that do want it.

theefman says:

Absolutely, it's eye strain city for me on my Lumia 1020, would prefer it on a bigger screen.

eXus#WP says:

Perfect on my Ativ. Using it for months through a registry tweak and it would have been hard for me to go back to a standard layout. By the way, I hate the big font in messaging and applications list, hope to find a way to get smaller text soon.
People, try it for some days before telling you hate it :-)

pauljrtz says:

Looks good on my L820

SpaceyO says:

With the 3rd row, the small tiles are quite small on my 4.3" 822, but they're very usable.

I couldn't go back to 2 rows of tiles if I tried. I'm loving the 3 rows.

Alaera says:

I enjoy the extra column on my 820; the smallest tiles are simply shortcuts to things like my flashlight, and the text on the other size tiles is large enough for my eyes.

Joeul_Ramos says:

It looks wack on my Lumia 521

Yeah that's a small ass phone doe...

925 love it not too small! But it doesn't load the tiles to well when sliding...fix that!

lerimer says:

At first i didn't quite like it on my 925, but after 2 minutes it grew on me. I don't see myself going back to two rows after seeing how awesome it looks with the third row enabled.

tavisirbu says:

So what if it looks small? I like the way it looks on my HTC 8X

L Beezy says:

I like my large tiles to expand across the screen on my 920. With the extra row, it doesn't now. So I'll stick with the regular setup. But, whatever floats your boat yo.

odoggyfresh says:

The smallest tile setting is too small, but now I just make most of my tiles the medium size. I like being able to haev 3 of them across the screen, it seems like the perfect size. I have some wide tiles, but like some people have mentioned, it would be nice if those went all the way across still.

BPaules says:

It's amazing on my L928.  I can actually use the wide tiles without using a sixth of the screen... :P  Also the text size etc... Everything was too big before (though I didn't really know until I could change it).

faida says:

İ love it on my l720. looks more beautiful than 2 columns.

aswinbarathb says:

It looks too damn small on my Lumia 820

Fizoto says:

It's fine enough on my 625, although the words are a little blurry.

Yaah damn small..I refer old

BikeMrown says:

Love it on my 928. Keep in mind, I have VERY good eyesight though (20/10).

I definitely like I on my 8X, but text can be small and a bit blurred on tiles. Not sure if a 1080p 5" screen will help?

NIST says:

Too small for me on the 1020. I wish they had one more size larger for the tiles though. I want my calendar tile all the way across on top, not buried.

dray111 says:

I love the new customisation for the start screen.... The third route of tiles is very helpful n plus the dozing is also good..... Really a big improvement to the start screen....

fourbadcats says:

nitpick: It's a column, not a row

blackprince says:

More of this please

blackprince says:

Try that in Excel and see how far you get

JSax1 says:

Thank you. Was going to say the same thing.

AccentAE86 says:

I like it on my 1020. But it is going against the design guidelines for good touch target sizing and spacing. Just like how start backgrounds go against the clarity of content design guidelines. Looks like MS is giving in to the pressure of user demands despite compromising some of their initial (and great) design by guidelines

majortom1981 says:

How is it giving in ? You dont have to enable 3 rows and you dont have to enable the background picture. Choice is better for everyone.

cjallan417 says:

I was confused at first, but then realized we're talking about the third column, right?


I know this will be ironic to write in a comment, but would it make sense for WPC to disable comments in articles when trying to encourage discussion in a forum topic? It seems that the discussion ends up taking place in the comments every time.

blackprince says:

Many are confused about rows and columns, luckily you are not.

Sajal Garg says:

Right..its the third column..not row

PepperdotNet says:

Fifth and sixth columns actually.

MiyadAnsar says:

Thnk abt 620 thn.....

techygeek82 says:

I wonder if the people complaining that it's "too small" are the same people who were upset when it was originally announced that the 'extra row' was intended for larger screened devices. MS listened to peoples feedback, included an OPTION to have an extra row, and now people are going to complain all over again? I'm not saying people who claim the tiles are "too small" are complaining, but there are certainly some folks out there who are.

blackprince says:

Microsoft gave everyone a third row and more in Windows Phone 7 Series

Bigsro says:

On my 1520 it's amazing...;-) I'll try on my 920 later!

Fritzly says:

I like them very much on my 920... after modifying the layout of my start screen. Said that I also feel that now MS should add a fourth size for tiles adding an extra wide one allowing me to have, for example, a tile occupying the entire width of the screen for the calendar.

Studio384 says:

520 and works fine.

grsoto says:

920 fantastic. Love it.

pattayo_ib says:

Works pretty impressive on my Nokia Lumia 920! Maybe a bit smaller for some. But this is one feature i always wanted so that i can have a whole on the screen. :)

WPUser111 says:

Doesn't look good on my Nokia Lumia 820. It's too small.

Simple_WiLL says:

Not bad on my 925. However it would be nice to keep the double wide tiles the same size, or bigger than what they are with the 3rd row added. Also decreasing the space between the top row of tiles and the battery/cellular info was an awesome touch. Makes the screen look fuller :)

blackprince says:

Look another one, its a column, a third column

DVELOPinc says:

Look another one, its a row, a third row.

blackprince says:

Whatever helps you sleep at night

steve_w_7 says:

Only three rows of tiles?  Must be a new phone.  As you find more apps, you'll fill up that screen in no time!  I have 16 rows of apps.

Sajal Garg says:

N i have 9 rows

unknownguns says:

I don't think it looks too small on 520, I think its just the right size for me :)

Stadifer says:

Looks fine on my Lumia 925. When you first turn it on it's a little jaring because the tiles do shrink down quiet a bit but you do get used to the new tile size and even the small tiles are easy enough to tap and not miss.

I just like being able to squeeze more information on my screen and reducing the amount of scrolling I need to do to reach lesser used apps lower down my start screen.