How often do you change your Windows Phone Start Screen?

WIndows Phone Start Screen

Our Windows Phone Start Screen is an easy way to make our phones our own. Even before Windows Phone 8.1 introduced transparent Live Tiles and Start Screen background images, through third party apps and in-house settings you could customize things quite a bit.

There is a Windows Phone Central Forums discussion, started by Forum Member Sir William Wiener that asks how often do you change your Start Screen background images and accent colors? Sir William finds himself tweaking the Start Screen a lot while the habits range from daily changes to weekly to "every once in a while".

Which all leads us to the same question Sir William has asked, how often do you change your Windows Phone Start Screen? For those running the Preview for Developers copy of Windows Phone 8.1 do you change out the background image daily, weekly or whenever the mood hits you?

How about accent colors? Do they reflect your mood, change them regularly or do you keep things parked on your favorite color?

Personally, I've kept my accent color parked on Steel for some time (just like the color) and change the background image every now and then. Strangely, though, I keep coming back to my first background image after a few days.

But what say you? Hop on over to this Windows Phone Central Forums discussion on your Start Screen habits and share your thoughts on the subject. Additionally, if you have a Start Screen layout that you particularly like and want to share it, we have this forums discussion going on that might be worth dropping in on.



Reader comments

How often do you change your Windows Phone Start Screen?


Nah... Depends on my mood but I say monthly. I have my favorite colors but it would also depend a lot on the color of your phone I would say.

I change my accent color every day. Though when I have the background enabled, I keep the picture for at least a week.

Daily. Sometimes I change throughout the day. Changing background to suit my mood as well as rearranging/resizing tiles.

I changed mine when 8.1 came out. But unless a new app or design for the homescreen happens, mine will never change.

Same here. Too much of a hassle to get it back organized again after changing. Hope it becomes possible to save layouts and have presets. Real folders are also needed because I hate it when start screen grows too big because then it takes too much time to navigate to the right position.

Yes! I want real folders too, like on Android and on IOS, not just an app that can show multiple apps in one tile like Nokia and Samsung did.

With real folders we mean folders where you can put apps together in one tile and when you tap on it it expands so you can open the apps inside the folder. Not like it is right now. Now the folder apps from Nokia and Samsung create a tile so you can group multiple apps in one tile, but when you open such a folder you are actually opening the 'folders app' in which you have to tap on the app you want to open. But making 'real folders' is not possible for app developers, it should be made by Microsoft.

Where do you get these sweet and subtle background images from? Each and every person working at WPC seem to use amazing backgrounds. Mind sharing the link please, George?

I'm usually teal or red. It often depends on the sports team I'm cheering for at the time.
My glance screen, lock screen, and wallpaper are currently GoT themed.

Rarely. I usually won't change the accent color (it syncs with my W8.1 devices, anyway). Occasionally, ill change the background picture, if I find/take a really great picture. Background picture is usually always of my son or of my wife and son.

Always the deep red. Until transparent tiles.

I used to only change the start screen when I hard reset because I could never remember exactly what I had before anyway. Guess with 8.1 that's over.

I must say I kinda dislike transparent tiles because they're distracting... But I like being distracted so I can't go back.

My accent fluctuates between emerald, cyan, teal, mauve, steel on a weekly or monthly basis and my start screen background changes once almost every week.
The lock screen is controlled by Hello Friends which provides awesome collages and changes the lock screen automatically. That app is worth checking out.

Very rarely. I changed to transparent tiles when 8.1 got out but changed back in less than a week. Transparent tiles as is today is just not my thing. So happy Microsoft had the intelligence to keep it optional.

I don't know about you all but maybe once a week. Also anyone notice any battery drain on 920 with he preview??

This introduces a problem that's the core of WP experience, we only have one Start Screen. I'm not fond of multiple home screens, but having different configurations I think is a must for some, such as one for work one for home. I think it would benefit Microsoft if we could maybe manage configurations, and/or maybe a feature that toggles different configurations based on appointments/geofencing. If you're at work it changes to that configuration, if you're at home/away from work you have your personal configuration... Just a thought.
To answer the question, accent colors change daily with me depending on what I wear. I like to be coordinated. My default colors at home are cyan and cobalt.
I never understood the argument of having a "lack of customization" because as fat as I know changing accent color is only on WP and its system wide. Other platforms require deep modding. I think with just this Microsoft hit a strong balance between customization and standardization.

Yeah, choosing apps are especially difficult in an office environment than sitting on a sofa.

Red accent matches my red 920, so that's permanent. Change tiles, sizes until I love it, then will change the 8.1 background when I feel like it.

For a couple of days I changed back to red accent with no background, then changed back. Great to have this option.

I change it often but unfortunately, since Microsoft kept the restrictions on the accent colour palette, I always go around the same colours: indigo, the darker green, the now not-so-darker-blue and dark grey. From time to time I go with the darker red too. Which means that my background images always reflect these range of colours to match the accent colour.


Hopefully this stupid restriction on accent colours will be erased in a GDR.

Quite often, color theme that corresponds with holliday or my favorite NFL team.  Start screen often, lock screen not very often, I like the pic I have there.

For really no reason, I every great once in a while hard-reset my device, particularly when there is a new OS update. Other than that, I just like to keep the device "fresh", like remove old files, gain space, of course after backing up what I need to. Thus... when this hard reset time happens, that is when the tiles might shift or different ones might come abord the start screen. Other than that, for the most part I have a set layout I keep.

As for accent color, and this was more prominent before the tile background picture feature kicked in .... strange as this sounds.... I would change the accent color based on what color long sleeve button down dress shirt I am wearing.

Microsoft should provide us with more background images for Windows Phone on their website just like they provide additional themes for Windows 7 & Windows 8.

Theme perhaps monthly. Background image if set to something static than rarely ever. I have used an app to rotate the lock screen in the past but don't use it currently.

I have Lock Mix & have it change it every 30min with a random rotation of Star Trek, Doctor Who, & favorite APOD photos. I've got weather & a daily bible verse on it.

İ like lime accent color since I saw the videos of l630 :) I change the background every day, sometimes hourly.

Took a while to find something that I liked both on the phone and desktop... but now that I have found it I think I am going to keep it for a while

I change it very often :3 now I have a cool background with rounded squares, in purple and blue... So cool

Before 8.1 I kept it purple to match my purple HTC 8XT. Since I got 8.1 I changed it weekly, & lately I change my color & background daily. Mix it up with all the different colors. Those with white or black Lumia's, try Settings-Ease of Access-High Contrast & also try between light & dark themes under 'start+theme'.

I add a few icons here and there. If they give us the ability to save and restore our start screen layout I would change more often.

Not really. I know about that. I'm talking something like blackberry where you have work and personal start screen that you can change on the fly.

It's hard to find a background image that suits my liking, so this is something I rarely touch. Same with the accent colour: As this is can not be individually edited, I have to stick with one of the three I find suitable. The arrangement of my tiles only changes marginally, e. g. when I am switching apps for the same purpose, install new ones or when I temporarily pin some details to the start screen.

I like the mixture of transparent, themed and app specific coloured tiles, so I REALLY HOPE that WP will support individual theme colours, and that all developers will give us the before mentioned three options for their app's tiles! Also the negative transparency effect that Metrotube provides is something that I'd like to see much more often, because it makes use of both transparency and colour!

If I really like a certain image it might stay there for months. Not big on changing my start screen to often. Lock screen it changes every day. Glance screen I change every blue moon.

It took me a while to get my start screen to where it is now. The only thing I change is the theme color every two days

Tile layout, not changed often. As for background images I usually mix it up every 2-4 days. I have not gone back to colored tiles since I installed 8.1.

I change the layout according to what's important at the time and that could change weekly but usually ever couple of months. I change the background image probably every couple weeks.

Mines constantly being tinkered with. I think the longest I've kept the same setup is about a week. I'm not talking massive changes but little things like moving the apps I used most in week up and then the next week I'll use different apps and move them up the chain.

-Start screen background : Depends on my mood ... Usually 5~6 times a day lol.
-Accent :
Depends on the wallpaper I'm using ... Usually Lime, Emerald, Orange, Yellow, Cyan or Magenta (I Call it The Daniel Rubino set up) but Cobalt is my favorite though.
- Theme :
Also depends on the wallpaper.
- Lockscreen Wallpaper :
Every 20~30 minutes lol.

Right now, I'm using The Light Theme with Orange accents.

I keep the same accent colour (red) but will change the layout of the tiles from time to time when the mood/situation takes me. I am still trying to get used to transparent tiles and background images so I do tend to swap those about from time to time.

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I don't muddy my Start screen up with a background image.  I've never seen one that looks better than sticking with original theme tiles.  I want efficiency and readability.  I avoided Android precisely because of how chaotic it always looks and was very disappointed that Microsoft chose to do this to WP.  Anyway, I rarely change my screen.  At most, I may change the theme color, but again readability in most lighting conditions is most important.  I put considerable thought into the arrangement and size of tiles on the Start screen because, again, efficiency is key.  The only thing that drives me to change that arrangement is either a new app I want to add to the screen or a change in live tile functionality of existing pinned apps that causes me to rethink size or location.  Anything besides that is simply waste.  So, no, I don't change it very often.

Not often, I find one I like and keep it a while.
However, I would LOVE it if Xbox Music displayed current artist on the Tiles like it did for the Lock Screen! :D

The top few rows hardly ever get shuffled around. Everything else is fair game, though. I change them at least once a week. Since 8.1, I change the background probably more than once a week.

I change the background retty often; I haven't found one I'm super happy with yet. I've also done things like put the cover of my current audiobook for the background. My accent color is my favorite color so I haven't changed it since it became available in WP 7.8 on my old phone. I rearrange tiles a little once a fortnight.

Couple of times a week, I find it takes time to find a background that actually looks good with a tile setup or I'd do it more often.

Anybody know if there's a trick to saving background files to the Background folder?

Cobalt. Always cobalt. All the other colors either make white text hard to read or just don't go well with the yellow of my 1020.

I change mine up all the time. Mostly just from the large grid to the small grid. Overall I prefer the large one over the small one, but my Lumia 822 is too small for all that so I just switch to the large grid occasionally.

With a cyan phone I rarely change my accent color. I have had fun talking photos that would be suitable for the wallpaper. Right now it is a bed of river stones, so I changed the accent to too steel. I was wondering if people would be interested in a forum to exchange original photos for background?

Change the accent colors every couple of weeks. Can someone tell me why there are so few choices? Is it a memory issue?

I agree that a color picker would be nice so that we could customize accent colors, but I've found a workaround with 8.1.  Instead of using an actual picture as your background with transparent tiles, you can make a solid color block in the color of your choice (in just about any image editor) and use that instead.  It makes the transparent tiles look just like they were standard accent color tiles but in whatever color you want.  I've done this to get a deep royal blue on my start screen and it looks great on my Icon.  As an added bonus, you can still use a different accent color, then, which can be kinda neat (I paired the royal blue tiles with a crimson accent color) and helpful.  In particular, I've found that I really like steel on the tiles from time to time, but that I have a really hard time telling which emails I've read then because the steel accent color is so similar to the regular text in the email apps.  Doing this, I could have steel colored tiles and still have another accent color used within apps.

It's not a perfect solution since it doesn't work with non-transparent tiles nor do other apps draw on the background image like they do for the accent colors (if you wanted that), but I've found it to be a decent solution.

Changed my accent color every week.
Changed lock screen every three days.

Since I have SOOOO many pictures waiting to be featured in my start screen, I change almost everyday, along with an accent color to match it.

I have a folder on one drive for lock screen images, about 100 pics right now, then use photo stream to auto switch every 4 hrs. I like variety. I crop my own for most.

Dont have 8.1 yet, but sure I'll probably do the same for tile backgrounds once I do.
tile colors I change whenever I'm in the mood. Ditto for ringtone and notifications. Right now my email notification is the Mario jumping sound effect (Boing!) and my texts are the sound when Mario goes down a pipe. Sometime I switch those up with Star Trek sound FX. Ringtones I make my own from songs I like.

I change almost every week,the wallpaper, but the layout remains pretty much the same with just a few differences here and there, but that's because its really cumbersome to return back to the previous layout. Microsoft should add some way to easily save multiple start screen layouts so we cam switch between them whenever as feel like. Moreover, people can set it up for different conditions, a different layout for all the different scenarios

You guy are still doing it wrong, wallpaper is suppose to full the entire screen but you guys just put the wallpaper only on the tiles instead of the hole screen pls correct it

Used to change my layout frequently. Now its is on Mauve for months, in combination with App folders & Headers... perfect to a tee. Don't have 8.1 yet, but when I do, I'll mess it round again for a couple of days... then it'll be more or less "permanent" give or take a few tile add/removed.

I change my tiles probably every few months. As for the tile theme, I change it dailt because I like for it to match what I'm wearing, haha.

Background Image - Daily or 2 times a day
Accent Colour - Weekly or sometimes in 2-3 days
Tiles Layout - Rarely

About monthly or when a new movie is coming soon that I am jazzed about - right now it is all about Godzilla on the Glance, Lock and Live Tile Background

Weekly, absolutely! I have several cases that I swap around as well as color scheme. I love to change up the app placement, sizes of live tiles ... everything!

Every 30 mins (Lock Screen Changer). And i see a clever thing and one not so clever thing.

Clever is, this is a random post which has no value for users, i mean info. This could have been a poll in the very least. But this generates traffic and page hits for you no matter what!

And the not so clever thing, disqus.

Accent colour is fixed on orange, my favourite colour. Start background changes depending on what comes along. Sometimes I see a background or take a photo that I see would be great as a start background and I change it. Not a lot of images/photos work well as start backgrounds in my opinion so I don't change much, only when I find a worthy successor!

I change my Accent Colour and/or Start Screen wallpaper everyday, depending on the Bing wall paper of the day

I keep it the same for the most part. If I do change, it's to the High Contrast mode. I think WP needs more theme colors actually. With 8.1 I can experiment with background tiles but I think I found setup I like so it mainly the same setup save moving a small tile here and there.