Create custom Windows Phone 8.1 backgrounds and wallpapers with Tile Background

If you are in the mood to create custom Start Screen backgrounds and Lockscreen Wallpapers, there are plenty of Windows Phone 8.1 apps to choose from. Tile Backgrounds is one option that hopes to catch your attention and find its way onto your Windows Phone.

Tile Backgrounds has options to crop and edit your photos so they fit your needs. The layout is simple and the app does have the potential to create some fantastic looking backgrounds and wallpapers. However, there is one aspect of Tile Backgrounds that may not be very appealing to some.

Simple menu, easy interface

The main menu for Tile Background offers you the options to create a Start Screen background, a Lockscreen Wallpaper, rate the app in the Windows Phone Store and send feedback to the developer.

Once you choose what you want to create, you will need to pick out a photo from your Windows Phone Pictures Hub. Tile Background will then let you crop your image to fit the screen size of your Windows Phone.

Once cropped, you will be sent to the editing screens of Tile Background, which includes these nine tools.

  • Darken
  • Blurry
  • Pixelated
  • Cartoon
  • Color (add a colored hue to things)
  • Old
  • Neon
  • Hex Tiles (pixelates but with hexagonal shaped pixels)

Each tool can be customized/tweaked by tapping the settings gear in the bottom row of control tiles. For example, you can choose color tone to add to your image or set the size of the pixels for pixilation.

When you have customized the image to your liking, tap the checkmark to save the image to your Pictures Hub. You will have the option to set the image as your Lockscreen Wallpaper, share the image, create a new image, rate the app and send feedback to the developer once you save things.

You will see an option to set the image as your Start Screen background but as the app will remind you; this feature is not available with Windows Phone 8.1.

Overall Impression

Tile Background comes across as a nice and simple way to create custom Start Screen backgrounds and Lockscreen wallpapers. The interface is straightforward and the tool set not too shabby.

However, there is one aspect of Tile Background that will have many saying, "I'll pass". The app is a free title in the Windows Phone Store but only the first three tools can be used (Darken, Blurry and Pixelated). You can preview the other six tools but to unlock them, it'll cost you $.99 each. Yes… each. On the plus side if you share the app on Facebook you get one filter free.

While I can see the appeal of Tile Background, I'm not sure it's worth almost $6 to unlock the full feature set. It may be worth the $.99 to unlock the entire collection of editing tools but it's a tough sell to charge $.99 for each of them.

Tile Background is rated at 4 Stars in the Windows Phone Store and if it wasn't for the cost of unlocking the full app, we probably would agree with that rating. As is though, 4 Stars may be too high.

  • Tile Background - Windows Phone 8.x - 6MB - Free - Store Link

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Seems nice
  • OneStart for the major win! Best tile background app ever!
  • I like Theme+ better. OneStart makes my photos look worse on 1080p screens.
  • Onestart is by far the best from what I've seen out there
  • Yep...I had this installed from a couple days ago and just checked it out. As soon as I saw the $0.99 for each filter, the app was closed out and uninstalled.   Perhaps I'll give it another look when it's a bit more fairly priced, but as it stands now, I'll keep making my own backgrounds for free.
  • The $0.99 they want is for ALL filters.
    I swear.
  • You would be wrong Alessio. Each filter is bought separately. Go check it out.
  • Look at the pictures in the article. The 2nd picture is of the app, with each locked filter saying $0.99 on it.
  • Agreed. Some developers get too full of themselves.
  • That's horrible pricing! I won't even install this app! Onestart and theme+ are much better and you only spend 1€ once ;)
  • Zedge wallpapers are more than enough for me!
  • Wanted it thank you for the app.
  • I'm not sure why you'd buy this. So many kick ass backgrounds exists thanks to apple and android who embraced backgrounds many years ahead of windows. The irony being even windows 95 had backgrounds, which speaks to the incredible errors of Joe's Belfiore's designers and engineers. So simply search for "android backgrounds" and you'll find plenty of much higher quality images.
  • See, doing all this work just to have usable screen was a HUGE part of why I gave up on Windows Mobile back in the PDA days.  It's also why I hate Android so much.   And that the UI was already smart and clean and intuitive was exactly why I was excited about Windows Phone.  A little customization is fine--in fact, it was pretty much perfect before 81.  Now everybody is jumping on the "how ugly and chaotic can I make my Start screen" bandwagon.  I'll pass, thanks. 
  • Guys check out this new amazing music player even in beta
    give it a try !!
  • Good but not loading all the songs...
  • To be fair, the dev complained on reddit that he had no option to lower the price per filter. Though I'd just do a 2$ full unlock in his case.
  • That doesn't make sense.
  • Yeah. 2 bucks for the full app is far a far more reasonable pricing
  • They could better provide some option like pay 0.99 and opt which 3 filters you would like to unlock. Something like this for 6 filters is $2, while it also gives option for user to select what filters they need.
  • Another redundant start screen background app.. how many do we need? We can apply all of these effects to photos with regular photo editing apps like Fhotoroom for example, and the start screen background setting in "settings" automatically crops an image to use as a background anyway, so why do we need an "app" to do the same thing??? Here's the answer ---> We don't!
  • You can just ignore it if u dont like it,many people love this kind of apps
  • OneStart, theme+, Polyscreen are some start background apps
  • Rrn
  • So...when is the live lock screen beta going to be updated?
  • Just get Skinery Themes. You can do alot more using your imagination.
  • What weather app is in that picture?
  • Atmosphere Weather
  • I want something that affects the OS. If I choose blue, I want to feel it in the messaging, or in any other app like whatsapp.
  • When i use a image background, the quality seems horrible... Fix that MS...
  • What is a feature of this app? I guess there are lots of free apps to edit photos and tiles in the store. Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • After cyan update start screen transition is buggy when u add a photo to your start screen background.
  • seems useless