Managing Live Tiles in WP7

July 28, 2011, By Christian Cawley

One of the coolest things about Windows Phone 7 is the tile-based user interface which collects all of the key native functions such as contact management and photos under the guide of specific hubs.

Not only is this a revolutionary approach to the vast amounts of data the average user has on his or her phone, it also allowed Microsoft to discard with the typical widget interface of Apple and Android phones in favor of “live” tiles, a method of displaying relevant and current information to the start screen of a Windows Phone.

This is displayed in its most basic form with the display of the number of text messages you have outstanding, or calls that you have missed, and in its most exciting and interesting by creating shortcut tiles to apps such as The Weather Channel.

Managing Tiles and Live Tiles on Windows Phone

On top of all of this, it is also possible to rearrange the tiles on your Windows Phone start screen, a great way of achieving a level of customization and individuality should you be searching for it. When combined with the options for altering accent and background colors, you should find that you have all of the customization options covered!

Suggested Live Tiles

More and more apps are offering live tile functionality for Windows Phone 7. These include:

• Weather apps such as The Weather Channel, World Weather, Weather Bug, Ocean Data.
• Travel-related apps such as Commuter, Train Travel, Seattle Traffic Map
• Messaging apps such as the Beezz Twitter app, TinyText, Textme.
• Financial apps including Currency Tile, Stocks Tile, My Money Tracker
• Sports news apps like the My Football iPhone port and NBA Scores Lite

Many other live tile apps are available, however, and all will display the latest information on the start screen for you to then tap the tile and open the full app if you wish to find out more!

Adding, Moving and Removing Tiles

Once you are happy with your choice of live tile, you will probably want to add it to your Start screen. If this doesn’t happen automatically you can easily add a new tile to the front screen of your phone by opening the apps list and tapping and holding the appropriate app and selecting Pin to start.

This will then create a new shortcut tile which is added to the foot of the Start screen. You can do this with any app, not just one that supports live tiles, although of course standard apps will not have any live functionality.

If you’re not happy with the positioning of the new tile and wish to place it elsewhere, this is easily achieved by tapping and holding the tile; the rest of the Start screen will fall away, and you will be able to drag the tile to a new position.

Simply tap the tile to drop it into place, or tap the corner of the tile to discard it. Note that this can be done with any of the existing, default tiles, useful if you don’t intend on using, say, the Calendar.

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