Live Lock Screen
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Hands-on with the new Live Lock Screen app for Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft has just released their Live Lock Screen app. It's currently in beta and only available for those on Windows Phone 8.1. The creative app replaces your normal Lock screen with one that is unique and animated. Check out our quick hands on with Live Lock Screen for Windows Phone 8.1.

First impressions? The app is nice for being a beta. You might notice a slight lag between pressing the power button to unlock your device and to have the display turn on with the new Live Lock Screens. That said, it's a very minor lag and wasn't always present when unlocking the device. Though it did feel a little more noticeable on our Lumia 630 with 512MB of RAM.

Yup. Microsoft managed to get the device working on low-memory devices. That's a relief since they had previously said it would require at least 1GB of RAM or more, and would have left out those with popular devices like the Lumia 520.

Live Lock Screens

We like the ability to customize the images. You can have the Bing image of the day either automatically appear as an image. Or you can get creative with your own photo or photos. If you select more than one photo, the Live Lock Screen app will alternate between them in time intervals selected by you.

Take the Live Lock Screen app for a spin and let us know what you think of the app.

Have a favorite Live Love Screen out of the included six? Let us know which one it is.

QR: Live Lock Screens

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Reader comments

Hands-on with the new Live Lock Screen app for Windows Phone 8.1

760 Comments

It doesn't seem to want to work when playing a music app. I fired up Nokia Mix Radio, screen timed out and I noticed the Live Lock Screen app reverted back to the standard one.

That's why people are reporting bugs; so that MSFT can fix them before they ship the official release. Didn't sound like complaining to me.

Beta. I really think most people that comment here should research what it means for an app to be in Beta. The complaining here is pathetic. I own and use an iPhone 5s, an HTC One Max, and a Lumia 1520. I am currently running iOS 8 Beta on my iPhone and it is filled with bugs but as a developer and tester, I was aware of this possibility when I installed it. 

On WPcentral it is like most of users here are simply not aware of what beta means or are just perennial whinners. Either way, it is irritating. No wonder some developers (Facebook) choose to have closed beta programs. 

I do not blame them. 

By the way, the app works just great on my Lumia 1520. A couple of hiccups but then again, it's still in beta!

Exactly! That's the point you are missing; this has not been released to the public! It is still in beta; meaning, those that download it should be beta testers willing to help flush out bugs.Not people looking for a finished product. The only reason you know about this app being available is because the good folks here at wpcentral shared the info with us.

And, don't worry, you are not alone. From reading some of the comments here, it is clear that a lot of people here need to research SDLC, and in that context, alpha, beta and beta testing. 

Instagram is still "beta" and advertised everywhere by Nokia and Microsoft, you know, to get new users on board with WP. Or are they actively looking for more testers?

Think slapping "beta" on something has become an excuse for sloppy work. Sloppy as in slow or buggy, whatever.

Wow! Well said! "Think slapping "beta" on something has become an excuse for sloppy work. Sloppy as in slow or buggy, whatever."

Many are being overly harsh about a beta... However, all this defense over it because its a beta brings up a couple of questions:

• How is MS tracking bugs and suggestions on a beta without an in-app ability for feedback?

• How long do Beta apps remain in Beta? Seems to me, and maybe my perception is wrong, that we have several apps that have been in Beta for quite a long time. What is the norm for turnaround time from Beta to full release?

• On those other operating systems, how often and how many Beta are released on average, and what are their average turnaround times as well?

Yeah, we need to remember its in Beta, but previous experience means these bugs won't be fixed until... What, 2015?

For the record, I personally am not complaining about this app. I actually like the aesthetics, just wish it had the ability to load images directly from Onedrive rather than having to 'copy' the image and store on the phone. As a a test, I added 2 pics from Onedrive and checked the amount of storage this app was using. Then I added 2 more images and checked storage again and it went up, so the app indeed saves the pics locally. Most people don't care I'm sure, but it matters to me.

Of course it's going to save the images locally. The app is a lock-screen app. The biggest complaint people have with it is that it's laggy at startup. It would be even laggier if it had to authenticate to and then download an image each time you unlocked your phone.

People please, whenever an app in beta comes out I already know it will have some bugs. It's normal for a new app. If you don't like the app don't waste your time downloading.

So what? This is the entire point of having a Beta release. Its to hear criticism and find out what doesn't work. The complaints are helpful and people should have high expectations or else how is the developer going to know where he should focus his attention?

I'm afraid you're confusing two different things. One thing is to give feedback and one is thing is to be complaining and insulting an app. You you read carefully you'll be able to notice the differences in many of the comments here.

Sorry Rod, I don't swing the same way you do...Also, he wrote "below". Are you that desperate? ;P

To avoid the probelm (since it's not a fix), disable "show now playing on lock screen". They seem to function under the same principle and conflict.

I love the idea I love the style, but there's too many bugs and problems.
1-the lock screen launching is too slow.
2-the lock screen photos have very low quality (I think it needs customization for each phone screen).
3-the screen shot the app takes that shows up when you open the lock screen has the same problem as (2) and when swipe up the lock screen a little and then you swipe the screen shot up or down it acts like a normal photo.
4-the quick status is always a star not the app photo.
5-I think the font is big.

When you click on the + to add a background image, then click on lock backgrounds instead of my photos. There are stripes there.

Anyone that can tell time, knows how to read analog though. So they don't NEED numbers. How many watches are out there that have no numbers on the face? Do you hear people complaining about that?

It works with normal lock screen but sometimes it doesn't startup so you will have to go to lock screen settings and switch the toggle off and on (the "show the artist background" toggle I.e).

The artist background has been broken for me since I got 8.1.  I just assumed I had to wait for Cyan for it to work.

I have cyan but its still broken...you have to turn off and on the artist background toggle in settings for it to work.
Maybe its the new music app that is causing the issue.

Artist background is partially broken for me too. Sometimes it shows up other times it doesn't. I really miss that feature when it was working properly.

If only there were a way to indicate that an application was in a pre-production state and would contain bugs and lack performance improvements.

I currently use Astronomy Picture of the Day to bring a new photo to the lock screen every day.  It appears that with this new app, that is no longer a posibility.  APOD has high quality pictures, so that would solve the low resolution / low quality problem you are having.   Perhaps there is a way to configure it to use APOD, but I'm not seeing it.

The preview app that showed the demo is much better.. And shows the minutes secs and hrs written in circles with am and pm in between... And we are missing stripes option as well

Time doesn't show up? Look up Movado in Bing images, right now! LOL.
As for that 4th option there are seconds, minutes and hours represented by the 3 circles. It would be nice to include a digital representation as well or maybe just 12, 3, 6 and 9 markers as an option though so your point isn't lost on me.

It's not that great though. Will wait until they put out something that is actually a lock screen and not a patched together app.

I've uninstalled the app because it was a bit laggy for me to get use to, but now everytime I go to wake up my phone I get hit with a "resuming" screen and than my lock screen, I've restarted my phone but that didn't seem to work, anyone having the same issues?

Seconded.

Animations are about as smooth a hitting a mini-tsunami riding a waverunner. And that's on the Lumia ICON. Imagine performance on a dual core device with 1 GB of mem.

For frame of comparison, Powerpoint transition animations have been around the block since 1997. The specs of 1997's Best Damn Computer include " a 2GB hard drive, 32MB of RAM and a 12X CD-ROM drive."

O really?

My shit is mostly brown. Although sometimes green and red pigments are present. Care to dissent on the topic of bowel movements as well?

UGH! I"m getting this too after I uninstalled it!!!  How do I fix it and make it go back to the native one without that 'resuming...' message?!

Did you manually select an image (or app) in the lock screen settings page after removing?  Maybe that will reset it properly.

Yep. After uninstalling it, I now get "resuming..." every time I fire up the phone before hitting the lock screen. Ugh. Beta is one thing, but this has now really screwed me. What the hell did it do to the os?

Same here. Restarting the phone and making changes to the native lock screen app did not help. I had to wipe my phone and start over (Settings > About > Reset your phone). That finally fixed the "Resuming.." issue for me.

You don't need to do hard reset . Just change some other picture from some app. Check if it's there lets say from Bing then change it back to your favorite picture and all should be sorted

Nope, that does not work. Something is definitely "stuck".

Correction: Changing from a different app did seem to work... I enabled Facebook lockscreen and then disabled, and so far it's back to normal. Thanks!

Nice! BTW in the video it looked like you had attached neon light to 635...when you moved it I could see a light beneath it, maybe the shadow, but it looked cool.

Prefer awesome lock screen app, have you tried it Sam? Shows weather, headline news, calender and notifications etc. Awesome lock- in store

Everyone knows about Awesome Lock. And this is why the new beta lockscreen is awesome. With the new lockscreen API Awesome Lock could be updated to not only display information, but to also be interactive, which would be even more awesome!

Well excuse me know it all, didn't realize you spoke for 'everyone' so I apologize. Now what's this Could be u speak of Mr KIA. Wanker

Sam do you know how this can be extended? When API gets released, would the new designs from 3rd party devs show up in this app or as different app in applist. I think it would be latter but hoping for former.

I'm not even sure why the trend is to release beta apps at all. Especially Microsoft. If this thing needs another week or two to make it solid, freaking take the time. Are they just throwing shit to see what sticks? I also don't know why it's taken them so long to release something as trivial as this. Is coding for Windows Phone so god damn hard that it takes geniuses to port games and apps and make simple screensavers?

But he has a valid point...  I mean, how many Microsoft software programers does it take to make a screensaver..

This thing was shown months ago on stage, yet this app, release just today seems the same as what was shown, laggy and useless.  you do have 6 themes, but you can't modify them at all, you can't change the font, or color, you can't add or remove information, so it's basically, you can personalize your screen, just as long as you use one of our 6 screens.

And really, what's the point of releasing everything as a beta... I mean, if it was something complex, I would understand (ie facebook & facebook beta) but this is just a screen that shows the date and time...  like NIST says, take to more weeks, and release it as a full app.

This is not just a lockscreen with pictures it has its own complexes that MS faced when they were developing...and with beta tag added to it makes possible for MS to collect feedback from the users and release the latest version...assoon as possible

First the people ask when the lockscreen app will be released ? And then after release they whine about ah release the damn fullfledged app..?For those who think like that just take your time until the full version is released..until then don't complain..

My Lumia 810 is showing none of these so called issues you guys are complaining about. This app works great!!!! HINT, don't download betas if you think they are bad. You guys deserve the frustrations if you clearly say you don't like betas but yet still download it. :)

Beta is a great way to find bugs. If you've never developed a software product, that's probably why you don't see the need for a beta. It's an amazing way to get feedback and even change the final product based on what people say. Plus, thousands of testers are significantly better than ten in house. You can't nor will you ever cover every use case by yourself, let alone how this might give them data on multiple phones.

Haahaa WTF did you just say? You're basically telling me that Microsoft doesn't have a testing department or access to the equipment they support? I'm in the middle of some application support right now at work, and I can pretty damn tell you it will be tested in every possible supported piece of equipment before it gets released. We even have a "test plan" as part of the project. Smh

That because your use case is not as big as Microsoft's.

Microsoft has user all around the world, that's 173 countries or so with different language of choice. In each country they have many Lumias model available in the market, each model usually have more than one variant. Do the math and get how many use case they will have.

Not to mention the use case of people have certain apps that doesn't work with this app, like someone said above which makes the use case become very high because Store has a lot of apps.

Microsoft can test the use case one by one, but who know when it will be released?

OR, when they think that the app is good enough and almost ready for the public, how about give it to the consumers as beta and let them find all the possibilities that can lead to a bug.

They think smart.

So this screen saver is location aware and is different in every country? Different animations and themes in different countries? Really? Is that what you just said?

Oh my gosh, what's with all the whinning? The app is still in beta! People like you ruin it for the rest of us. If you don't want to be part of the solution then DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE APP! Wait till we have helped the developers pick out and clear the bugs!

Sheesh! Very irritating.

It's not just him, almost everybody seems to be complaining about EVERYTHING thats being published on this site as of late. even good news turns into a shitstorm of negativity. 

My guess is that the lock screen was designed from the ground up to be static and they had to finagle quite a bit to make it live and interactive. It does not seem to have been trivial.

Pmsl, I think they use us to find bugs etc. Instead of paying their developers to make it solid they use us wp users. Shit app anyway, the app awesome lock is far superior and has zero bugs, NIST have u tried awesome lock?

What's great about it is the possibilities it opens for developers onces it gets out of beta, if they let developers access the codes for these kinds of lockscreens. Developers can already customize the lockscreen, but nothing close to what this app does.

Wouldn't it be easier to just make available the ability for programmers to make these instead of actually having to make the first one?

Trust me.. When other developers get their hands on the functionality the possibilities will be endless.. Also, there's way more functionality that can be added.. Maybe audio... Just use your imagination... I imagine more will happen with Start Screen background images as well..

Yeah, kinda felt the same way as soon as I enabled it myself, but its kinda expected being that its just an app. This could have been implemented in the OS itself and maybe a complimentary app to work with it just like Glance Screen and the Glance Screen Background beta app work today. I question this whole app based system of WP 8.1.

This is implemented in the OS. This is just an app that uses the lock screen API. The API is in the OS. Then devs make their own apps to utilize that, as they do with any other feature, like tiles. This is just an example app.

Agreed. I didn't see the point when everyone was complaining about it not being available, and having it now I still don't see what all the hype was about. The normal lock screen works just fine.

All the people whining for customization and when further customization is available, they can't see nothing special about it ....

It wasn't overhyped, it's exactly what they showed us! If you thought it was awesome when you saw it and think it's lame now that you have it... Well... it's not their fault. Also, think of it as a beta preview app. Once they give access to developers to the codes behind it other developers can turn this into whatever they want, so instead of having static lockscreen with some info we'll finally have interactive background, which I think is pretty awesome!

I download the Live lock screen to try it.

I didn't really like any of the lock screens though it was fun to try them.

So I want to revert back to the orginal and theres no simply option to do so, so I uninstalled the live lockscreen to get back to the stock one.

 

But now there is an issue, the laggy and slow load times that happened with the live lock screen is now happening to the stock one!!

Sometimes when I press the power button I will get the resume screen and loading dots for 2/3 seconds before the stock lockscreen shows.

The live lock screen is way too buggy wish I didn't bother to try it :(

 

Update: I discover by reading some the comments that the best option was to enable kids corner as then a pop will ask you do you want to disable the live lock screen, that worked!

 

As it seems if you uninstal it without disabling it first it still funcations in some way to slow down the stock one. O.o

I agree, but as others stated, it is beta. Needs more features, but they will come. I like it, but I like having my Facebook photos on my lock screen. I am sure that is a feature they will add at some point.

Excellent app, especially for Beta release. Recommendations:
* Integrate with existing Lock Screen app in Settings
* Integrate with Bing Weather - backgrounds, temperature data, and/or hourly forecast data
* Add compatibility with Kid's Corner
* Add text "Choose your backgrounds... Press and hold for settings" to help users discover context menu
* In Add screen, move Backgrounds and Accent Colors to separate screens
* In Add screen, add swipe action to move between separate screens for Backgrounds, Photos, and Accent Colors (vs. current menu)
* In Add screen, add Select All option in each of the Backgrounds, Photos, and Accent Colors screens

* Add a Feedback button, and/or link to Microsoft's User Voice site.

I would make it my default lock screen if they add weather to the mix. For now I need to keep weather hound, but I do like it.

Other way round, it is up to the weather app devs (or any other type of app) to support the live lock screen API. You are looking at this app the wrong way.

OMG someone with a clue giving proper feedback.

Thumbs Up Hartman

If only the whiners had some brains they could post constructively.

 

Sam,

I agree with you. It will get better and it is Beta. To get an Idea , Download the PREVIEW OF THE LOCKSCREEN OF WP8.1 . It's in the store made by the same team who brought us the  MOVIE MAKER 8.1 App. It shows the numbers in the Clock and more Notifications .

This will be a very great App . It already is ( In my opinion)

try to uninstall it...and if ever you chose to store your new apps to sd, try to store the app on your phone storage before reinstalling it... i think that could do the trick.. at least on my part it did well.

The new lock screen designs are nice, but it's completely lagged up my 1020. I'll stick to Awesome Lock until some bug fixes are introduced

Lags too much on my 1520 for my liking. I'll wait till it has better performance. I also would like a transparent background option.

So much this. It actually scares me that Microsoft seemingly don't care about having a slick UI anymore. Everything's just got laggier since 8.1.

Beta is beta, but something like this should never be so slow, certainly not on a 1520.

First it was lagging like hell on my lumia 620..the start screen also responded after a second or two..Now I can say that it has come back to normal..

At some point MS will need to start focusing on getting legitimate apps to the platform not stuff like this that excites only WPCentral

Considering the massive number of official apps we've been getting over the last six months I'm pretty sure it's clear that they are working very hard on it. Is there some sort of rule that anything that isn't a new official app (something MS really has no control over) should be put on hold?

These sort of apps are the ones that make the platform unique. MS can provide external branding with the legit apps you mentioned, and they can also provide internal branding with this kind of app.

Some long overdue productivity apps are coming for business users, I nearly cried yesterday I was so happy.. Might be the difference between company choosing WP over iPhone as we dump BBerry

Really, really, beautiful. Anticipating for an update to make this beautiful app even more beautiful! Good thing it works on 512MB devices.

Let's be honest, Android always evolves, take a look how it started, and where it is now. The material design is a total revamp of UI. While windowsphone is getting slower to catch up!

Material UI just made Android look more like Windows phone! It's Android that needs catching up in the UI section, not Windows Phone.

True that! WP was always the best looking OS. Awfully open nature of android has kept their boat floating so far. You can do anything with a lagdroid. It'll probably just run slow.

The live lock screen turns off the kids corner. Hope they'll fix this. Also the addition of weather from third party apps like Amazing Weather on the default lock screen would be nice.

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