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.


Reader comments

What's on your Windows Phone Start screen?


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

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 :)



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.

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...

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.

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.

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 :)



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.

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 (www.picturex.ch/uservoice), follow us (www.picturex.ch/facebook, www.picturex.ch/twitter) and help us making Picturex the best picture exchange experience that started on your (and our) most favourite platform! 

Thank you!

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!!

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.

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?!!

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???

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!

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.

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

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

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

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:)

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.

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.

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.