City Art Search Preview for Windows 10 is a must-have app for your Lock and Start Screens

Microsoft's City Art Search is one of the oldest and most fun apps by Microsoft on the Windows Store going back to 2014 and Windows 8.1. The app made the jump from PC to Windows Phone and got updated seemingly every week.

Now, a partial version of the app has been rewritten for Windows 10 using newer APIs, and it's the perfect lockscreen changer for your PC or Mobile device.

CAS Preview running on Windows 10 for PC

If you are not familiar, the original City Art Search app lets you see and learn about art in your local area. Specifically, it allows you to see famous art that may be on loan at your local museum. You can browse through the collection, gets details about the piece, and more.

Check out our City Art Search app review

Recent updates to the app let you view 4K HD versions of the images too, which is a nice touch for those with higher-end phones. The app also lets you set your lockscreen with rotating images from the collection, which is probably its banner feature.

CAS Preview – the new Windows 10 app – takes the lockscreen changer part and makes it a separate app. The Microsoft developer behind the project comments about why it's just not a full Windows 10 version of City Art Search:

For now, this can just be considered a supplement for City Art Search. It uses the new APIs available in UWP apps for refreshing the Wallpaper as well as the Lock Screen. I haven't had time to update the app to UWP version because 1) It's a mammoth undertaking 2) For the mobile version there is no ViewPortControl Silverlight equivalent, so there's no way to zoom-and-enlarge an image, short of writing my own from scratch which is a lot of work.

Launching the app for PC or Mobile and you can set rotation times (e.g. 1, 3, 6, 12, or 24 hours) and choose whether you want the image for your Lock Screen or Start Screen. There are additional options too that I found to be thoughtful such as nudity, religious, and portraits filters that let custom what does – and what does not – show up on your device.

CAS Preview is a simple but elegant Lock and Start Screen image changer

City Art Search and this new CAS Preview for Windows 10 are some of my favorite apps. They add a bit of class to your device and the auto-update and image rotation feature is just fantastic. It's also unique to Windows 10 since as the developer noted, you cannot programmatically auto-refresh the wallpaper on iOS.

Hopefully, we'll see City Art Search get the full Windows 10 treatment, but for now give CAS Preview a try. If you like the app, make sure to leave a positive review! The regular 8.1 version of City Art Search is also still available and being updated if you want the full experience.

QR: cas pre

QR: City Art Search

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Thought it's not possible for devs to use these APIs with Windows 10
  • Well, it's a Microsoft app so anything is possible.
  • Why not Weather but this
  • I hate OS developers that do this all willy nilly on apis that really don't need to be locked down at all. Google does this too sadly :(.
  • For APIs relating to automatically updating wallpapers for the lock and start screen, an app like Brilli Wallpaper changer has apparently been using such APIs (and very elegantly I might add, a must have app IMHO). I'll give this CAS app a go as well to compare the two..
  • Wallpapers are nice. Would have been nice if you could write a note on the lock screen too.
  • You can .... get yourself some paint .... it will stay on forever .....
  • Nice app!
  • Wallpaper updater makes this a spectacular app. Installed!
  • I always thought start screen background was "off limits" for the time being. I'm glad to be proven wrong
  • Developer here. It's available now for UWP apps on Windows 10. It previously wasn't available for Windows Phone 8.1 or earlier. Also, it's available for all developers, not just internally for Microsoft.
  • It says it found no art for my city. ☹ is this also US/EU only?
  • There seems to be only 3 points of interest in Finland, all of them in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. IIRC there was only one a couple of months ago, though.
  • An absolute must have app!
  • My Windows culture and class update!
  • Cool thanks for the tip! I've been rocking Bing images for years but I'll throw this in the mix to change things up
  • In Bangalore, it said it found nothing, but after some time, it did find one piece of art, which is currently my lock screen wallpaper
  • This is a good app!
  • Its not ...
  • I love this app!
  • Needs some work. Can't even find Rijks Museum in The Netherlands. I will come back later .... when its fixed. Only 2 in The Netherlands ....
  • I have Rijksmuseum listed in City Art Search. There is no search functionality in CAS Preview yet.
  • Just downloaded this. GREAT app. I'm loving that it rotates some cool wallpapers on my homescreen. The fact that I can use a separate app for my lockscreen and this for my homescreen is nifty. I enjoy facebook pics on my lockscreen but this brings some variety to my homescreen. Obviously, you'll want transparent tiles to get the full effect, so consider downloading and using Transparency Tiles and/or Transparent Tile Pack apps.Empty Tiles is also a useful app for a clean homescreen.
  • Really happy about the automated start screen background option. This opens the door to the perfect theme app for me. My perfect theme app would look like this:
    - User manually selects an image from a Onedrive or device folder
    - App suggests best matching theme color based on the image (user override possible) The app would update lock, start and theme color at the same time. A schedule option would be nice, too. I keep my best photos (no white, not too much detail) in a Onedrive 'wallpapers' folder and manually change lock, start and theme color to match my sneakers and it's a cumbersome experience, but I keep doing it every day. :D  
  • Are you sure you need an app to automatically change the theme color?  Have you tried:
    ​Start -> Settings -> Personalization -> Colors -> "Automatically pick an accent color from my background" So with an auto-rotating wallpaper, your theme color will auto-rotate as well.
  • Yes your right. Isaiah Heart