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What's on your Windows Phone Start screen?

A lot of people have asked us about how the Start screens on our Windows Phone devices look like. Daniel started a Start screen layouts series here, and other Windows Phone Central authors followed him. There’s also this popular thread on the Windows Phone Central forums where everybody is sharing their Windows Phone Start screens, and some of them are also sharing the images they are using so you could replicate their creativity.

While previously, the only 'wallpaper' image you could have was on your lock screen, Windows Phone 8.1 has introduced the ability to set an image as Start screen background. Now, the transparent Live Tiles give a peek into that image and the scrolling brings a nice parallax effect.

It’s not just about the image you set as the background. The creative layouts of Live Tiles is are interesting to observe as well. Also, sometimes an app choice has to be made depending on how good, and functional, the Live Tile is. Moreover, now you’d also have to consider if the app provides a transparent Live Tile.

How does your Start screen look like? Do you have any app suggestions that help make a nice-looking Start screen? Head to this thread, and share it with the community.



There are 86 comments. Sign in to comment

louisoneal says:

A million icons.

Bryan Suazo says:

This plot is very overused isn't it ? But well, I change my start screen every once in a while. I think is fun to mix things up

osars ehi says:

How do I get those nice backgrounds

casaout says:

hey Osars Ehi

We created an App, Picturex to exchange pictures for an event with highest quality. This is also ideal to exchange pictures with fellow WindowsPhone users (fans) :) You may find many great backgrounds (and start screen screenshots) here (click on your WP do be automatically directed into the picture album)!

I'd also be happy to help in case of any questions and appreciate a positive review :)



Rem97 says:

What app is that with the time, weather, location and battery percentage on the tile?

TechFreak1 says:

Think it is called TimeMe Tile.

Sounds like something better for lockscreen

Aero_Smash says:

You don't say?

Wael Hasno says:

I wonder if it is possible to clear the start screen completely? Like, pitch black? Should be possible.

kingkoopa09 says:

Nah but I have the black on black which is nice looks like floating icons, white doesn't work, nokia 1520

Why would you even do that though?

Freelicks says:

Yeah, but then it disappears and you just see the app list. I usually clear my home screen whenever setting up a new phone and go down the list after I've downloaded my apps.

scdkad says:

I always wondered about that. Didn't feel like having to repin everything.

percistratus says:

If you clear the start screen it disappears and you only have the app list

CJ Thunder says:

Anyone notice more pictures in the background folder recently or am I crazy?

kingkoopa09 says:

Yea they added them with the update

CJ Thunder says:

What update? It seems like they just slid in there randomly... I've had 8.1 since release and a few pics seem new as of this weekend...guess I'm crazy...

Bryan Suazo says:

Nope, there are new backgrounds!

lancguy says:

I don't have a wall paper on my background. It's such a new feature, that most of my aps don't support it. And on those that do, it just get's too busy. With the smaller text the new 6 small tile (icon)layout allows, it gets difficult to actually see what notification or update is showing on the tile. Of all the features enabled in this release, this is my least favorite.

MatchAttax08 says:

What's the app with the date on it on the third picture

Jazmac says:

That is Chronos.

How can we get the new system tray where we can see if Wi-Fi or cellular data is used?

TechFreak1 says:

It will always default to WiFi , if both WiFi and Cellular are on and connected therefore will only show the WiFi next to the cellular reception. The WiFi is replaced by the cellular icon (depending on your carrier) i.e. LTE, 4g, H, H+, Edge when your data connection is being used - this behaviour is new and only on wp 8.1.

Neek Capl says:

The thread is closed!

MyNL822 says:

you linked wrong thread, that thread wasn't even popular, this is what you meant to link:

cybermoose89 says:

I change it often cant really decide

monigal2 says:

Fb, me tile, fb messenger, clock hub, to name a few

casaout says:

Your startscreen looks very cool! Would you mind sharing it with other Windows Phone users via our app, Picturex? Picturex was created to exchange pictures for an event in highest quality. This is also ideal to exchange pictures with fellow WindowsPhone users (fans) :) You may find many great backgrounds (and start screen screenshots) here (click on your WP do be automatically directed into the picture album)!

I'd also be happy to help in case of any questions and appreciate a positive review :)



Linvite says:

Thank you and done. :)

casaout says:

Thank you! We hope, you like it?! If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us:

InlineV says:

Picturex could be one of the more interesting app concepts that I have seen for quite some time. I could argue for less, "jarring" transitions but the API you are using to open the app albums from the URL is very slick. Your algorithm for selecting appropriate photo content to upload is very effective and dare I say it, refined. Honestly, this adds a whole new dimension to sharing photos and it could scale to other types of content. Seriously, I can't think of many apps that will open when forwarded to a URL. When I clicked on your link and it asked me to search for the app, I half expected it not to be able to find something. When it did and it seamlessly allowed me to download the app, sign in with my Microsoft Account and then view the album contents, I couldn't believe it worked. This is very similar to a SharePoint Community. It's so obvious that it is almost brilliant. You guys are onto something. The only question is around the revenue model. I could see an ad model going through the roof in usage across all three major platforms with subscription being optional. Really cool stuff that needs to be highlighted by Microsoft, Nokia, WPCentral and God.

casaout says:

hey InlineV

Thank you very much for your awesome feedback. We are very happy that you like Picturex :) We put a lot of thought into the mapping of the albums to the url and making the experience as easy as possible!

And thanks for the suggestions about the revenue model. We are very open for suggestions and trying out a lot of different stuff! 

We are working hard to improve Picturex for Windows Phone (and soon delivering an iOS and Android version). 

We would love being featured on WPCentral, Microsoft, Nokia, and all others ;) And all of you #WinPhans could also help us! Please spread the word, give us feedback (, follow us (, and help us making Picturex the best picture exchange experience that started on your (and our) most favourite platform! 

Thank you!

terrokkinit says:

I have about three or four screenshots I've uploaded to my Twitter account (same nickname as here). Not that I'm promoting myself.......ok maybe a bit haha ;). I can't get enough of customizing my start screen on this phone!!

ScubaDog says:

Those all look positively horrible.  Just a confusing, jumbled mess.  Good grief.

kingkoopa09 says:

To each his own, to you it does to him everything I perfect

spinzeroWL says:

Amen. I couldn't use those start screens. Give me relaxing colours and clear tiles...

Tips_y says:

The good thing about it is you can change it if you don't like it - or don't use it at all.

WxGuesser says:

It would be nice if they would get 8.1 deployed for the rest of us so that we can use all the information that is being posted about it. All of this should have waited until it's deployed.

Bob101910 says:

Anybody can get it right now. No reason for them not to write articles about it.

Tips_y says:

You can get it right now, before it gets deployed to the rest of the world. That topic has been covered again and again and again by so many bloggers from a lot of sites for weeks. I can't understand why you are complaining when you can download WP8.1 anytime starting about. what was it, two weeks ago already?!!

TechFreak1 says:

Yup, plus anyone can make a free app studio account.

Sicarius123 says:

I have a photo of a wheat field with heavy bokeh. Any background I use for 8.1 I search ' whatever' + bokeh in image search. That way you get a great picture that isn't distracting!

Montpbm says:

A Lizard lop

JohnStrk says:

My fully functional Me Tile! :)

milfermon says:

I just pin the apps I use the most, with a simple black background, I like to keep things like that

poohbear_88 says:

Can anyone please tell me the reason I cannot find a link to click at the bottom of the stories to take me to an app download or source is that way on purpose and It can only be done on the WPcentral IE website version???

Riostar81 says:

I try not to cram too much on my start screen, but i do have a pretty nice setup with a cool wallpaper. There should be a wp8 start screen contest!

TechFreak1 says:

Check the forums lol, I believe someone already posted a link to that topic already. But here it is...

thisispants says:

Slow news day, trot out a start screen "article".

kvsanal78 says:

App for time , clock, whether, battery percentage etc please reply I need all the stuffs

TechFreak1 says:

Search the store :P.

kvsanal78 says:

Don't know the apps

Lumio says:

Clock hub for digital clock;

there are n number of apps for battery.

Robot_Man says:

After using pictures for my start background for a few days after 8.1 update, I'm back to simple color tiles, it maked every thing look clean and simple, also looking for notificaions is much easier.

negi ji says:

nice but not better than my live tile creativity & i have screen background much better than this.

Lumio says:

Abhishek, you referred to a closed thread.. 

Tejas Javery says:

Can anyone and me the image set in the background of the first screenshot in the image of the post...?

Lumio says:

It's in the background of your WP, if you've updated to 8.1

7th row. 2nd column in the "Wallpaper" folder under Settings > start + theme

PainAkatsuki says:

My background folder got deleted suddenly...anyone facing the same problem...and any solutions

Lumio says:

It will be visible only under Settings > start + theme, and not on "Photos". Is that what youre; asking?

Dario L says:

What to do with push notifications... None is coming to me... Plz help...

jonatsh says:

The thread is closed, I can't post mine.

Lumio says:

The closed thread has a link for the new thread, at the last comment. 

Antluv82 says:

How could we sent it Tu WP Central

DKXKnight says:

My start screen changes often. Sometimes my background is the Doctor from Doctor Who. Right now it's the TARDIS. It's also had Pokemon on it:)

indieimprint says:

Where can I get some good backgrounds? None of the ones I tried so far worked out too well

DKXKnight says:

Have you tried rearranging the tiles? There are some great apps in the WP store that create blank tiles that you can use for those parts of the background you don't want covered at all.

TonyHove says:

The transparent effect with the custom wallpaper has become one of my favourite features of 8.1 update. Never saw that coming!

As cool as the transparency effect is, I find my self taking a fraction of a second longer to find an icon because they all look the same. The colour of the icon is a quick way to spot it.

SeraphX2 says:

So, the thread is closed.  WTF?

Hi All,

I bought new Nokia Lumia 1520 and updated it with Developers Preview and its awesome. But my problem is Xbox music app stopped working and currently i am using Music Hub Tile. Please suggest me how to get my Xbox Music App back. It would be a great help if anybody reverts to this request and thanks in advance.