Is all well with Live Tiles on Windows Phone 7.8?

With the Windows Phone 7.8 update finally starting to find its way on board user’s devices, bringing with it the cosmetic upgrades of Windows Phone 8, here at Windows Phone Central our readers are noticing that not all is well for their newly-sized live tiles.

Users over in our forums have spotted that since the 7.8 update, their live tiles (those updated by background tasks at least) do not seem to be refreshing correctly.

A lot of times these issues are device specific, but in this case we’re not convinced. I recently had a conversation with Lawrence Gripper (developer of BBC News Mobile) after he got in touch to ask if we had been receiving an abnormal number of support requests since 7.8, we have. Just like the reviews you'll see for BBC News Mobile, several users have been in touch complaining that their tile seems to have ceased updating now that they have installed the new OS update.

The Details

Now, I’m not certain of the exact problem here, but based on the limited testing I’ve been able to achieve I’m not convinced that the tasks aren’t running (they appear to be). The issue instead may be to do with the shell not updating the tile.

In conversations with our users so far many have reported that their live tiles do update correctly when full sized but will not when the tile is the new smaller sized. Unfortunately this is not entirely consistent so we cannot say for certain that making your tile full sized will bring back updates.

In what may be an entirely unrelated coincidence I have experienced issues with the Windows Phone 8 operating system not refreshing tiles until the tile was manipulated in the shell (or in simple English: resized), so if you’d like to help us nail down this problem, try resizing your tiles if they’re not refreshing properly.

This particular bug can be fixed by the developer, so if you’re a fellow app dev then I can tell you it appears to go away if you switch to entirely locally generated tiles rather than retrieving your tile images over the internet, and ensure you don’t use the same image twice for the front and back of any tile.

The other good news I have been able to confirm is that when an app switches to generating tiles specifically for Windows Phone 7.8 using the reflection method detailed by Microsoft here, again the problem appears to go away.

However, as you might have guessed if you’re reading this far I have not deduced the exact behaviour here (mostly thanks to not yet having 7.8 on my Lumia 800). Evidently something is wrong, some people have fixed it by resizing their tiles, some by re-installing affected apps.

Speak up!

So, here’s where we turn to you readers, have your tiles stopped updating? Is it affecting some apps and not others? Do you have any success stories to share with the community?  Please get in touch either in our comments, via the original forum thread here or take our poll below (you can use the site to vote mobile).

Jay Bennett