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How to create Live Folders on Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1

If you just installed Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 that was released earlier today, you'll be happy to know that you can now create Live Folders on the home screen. Microsoft calls these "Live" folders because whatever app or game is included in the folder still has their Live Tile enabled. How do you create them? It's easy! Let us show you.

Head past the break to watch the how-to video on the Nokia Lumia Icon.

  1. Press and hold a tile until it pops into the foreground.
  2. Drag the tile over another tile you want to join in the folder.
  3. Tap the area that says 'Name folder' to rename it to whatever you want.
  4. Drag other tiles you want to the folder.
  5. That's it!

Live Folders can be resized. Just press and hold on the Live Folder, and then tap the arrow on the lower right corner. We like this new feature on Windows Phone 8.1. One example we're using Live Folder is to combine all of our messaging apps like Skype, Whatsapp, Groupme, and Facebook Messenger into one place. Another example is adding our favorite games into a Live Folder.

Just like you could with contacts and Nokia's App Folders, you can copy and paste emoticons from your email or SMS text box to the folder name. For example, add a controller emoticon for Games.

Live Folders is just one of the new features included in the GDR1 update. Another noteworthy feature is Internet Sharing over Bluetooth. There are several more features behind the scenes that are also interesting such as interactive phone covers and support for new resolutions. Want to know more about the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1? Make sure to check out our topic page.

What Live Folders are you creating? Let us know in the comments!

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

  • WPikidia but thanks, there is a lot of people still asking how :)
  • Data connection shortcut in action centre... Anybody checked it?
  • Toggle is not there.
  • With the leaked photos the lines were with colors
  • They are if you have no Start Background.
  • nope, still not included.
  • Not there :(
  • missing i was also a little dissapointed 
  • I personally use mquick for Data Connection, it's always available by scrolling the notification center.
  • thanks for mquick :)
  • Can we finally sync time with a time server?
  • 11:42
  • This! I really miss this "feature"...
  • No... I just have to use Nokia App Folder to make a shortcut, then throw it in a Live folder with Data sense, Battery saver, Files, and apps alike.......
    We need to understand that not having the data toggle is purely politics between MS, and the carriers, and not incompetence on MS's part.. You could see it in Joe's eyes when asked about it... The carrier's don't want us having to many easy options to turn off data... And WP has a lot!! Android devices are having similar BS as well... They are disabling tethering with unlimited data plans, and other crazy, illegal if you ask me, things...
  • Like i told you before, CV phones shouldn't be affected because of American carriers !
  • Right... But, aren't American phones the only ones that matter?
  • lol laughed so hard at this
  • Having just moaned about tedious way you have to first add Apps to Start screen then move tiles over each other to create Live Folders unlike the more efficient Nokia way of multi-selecting Apps - including System Apps I was pleased to see you can add a Nokia App Folder to a Live Folder. I hadn't thought to try and can now, finally get access to a quick Data switch so many thanks for this tip. Also interesting to hear why this much requested feature is not available and the reason does not surprise me but it would be in Microsoft interest to publicise issues like this and so avoid people (like me!) moaning about their lack of attention etc.
  • I stated what I think is a pretty accurate reason in my comment above⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆
  • Yes I agreed with your reason!!!
  • No data connection in action centre
  • He got it after the first comment
  • More sources = more confirmation
  • More live tiles in live folders made my screen sluggish and slow.i guess we need more processing power.+L525
  • +925
  • Not on my L620. I have 7 live folders with more than 30 live tiles inside them and everything is still smooth and fast. And i have less than 1gb of memory space left with no memory card installed. maybe you can move some of the apps to the memory card.
  • Hey I found out the reason... If I use a background to my start screen the screen is laggy but if use default tile colors it is alright I think this is something related to parallax effect..,, hey and also a tip for the folder boundary bars to be colored and not grey, switch to default tile backgrounds
  • It did? Mine got faster again!
  • Use the quick control app, then folder them together.
  • Don't name....naming live folders take the lower portion...I don't want that
  • I like the naming part
  • Some of us want it there... Sorry you can't have everything the way YOU want it.
  • YOU... LOL!
  • Thanks for the advice I was wondering why was this happening Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Then don't name the folder and you won't have it.  Some of us do like the naming of the folders.  Make it easier to remember what live tiles are in the folder.  Good thing Microsoft gave us the OPTION, right!?
  • I dont think he was calling to get the option removed but simply posting the information about this so other people know.
  • Thanks bro, you understood me well. Thanks.
  • Drag all apps that are inside the folders out.
  • Any info on why the update is failing for so many?
  • Yes. Too many trying to grab it or there's a firmware that is needed from the OEM's (HTC or Samsung).
  • I have a lumia 625 and 1020 that are unable to get the upgrade - both with dp8.1 and cyan (UK unlocked devices). So unless there is an update to cyan or Nokia is doling out updates what gives?
  • That doesn't sound right considering the majority of people who have the problem downloaded the update just fine but can't open/install the update
  • It's not just HTC or Samsung, a portion of phones from every OEM is having problems.
  • Yes that's it - I can download the update but it fails to open. This appears over all phone manufacturers, whether they have cyan or not, or whatever.
  • Weird... My AT&T Lumia 1020 downloaded and installed just fine. 8.1DP before downloading, no Cyan. Only took one update, was aprox. a 30 min process.
  • Lucky! I have cyan but no luck with the update. Perhaps it's a regional issue?
  • how did you updated your phone with Cyan? by downgrading 8.1 to 8. if so did you come back to 8.1 using Previw of developers? Then you will get it. But if you don't install Preview for developer nad enable check box you will not get it.
  • my 1020 in the UK on o2 got the update, although it took 2 attempts to download it! Then when the phone restarted it didnt boot up. I only had about 35% battery so maybe it wasnt happy. As soon as I plugged it into a computer USB port for power it started up and the cogs started turning! very happy with the live tiles! Still waiting for Cyan on O2 UK, but know it will wont come until MS patch the issue for those on DP! but not affecting me yet and dont see Cyan making a lot of difference so happy to wait :)
  • I used the Nokia Folder app but these Live Folders are totally awesome!  Now, I can get to anything on my home screen that I need with no more than a scroll down and a tap to open the folder. Don't forget that the size of the tile you drop into the folder is the size the tile will be IN the folder. You can have all three tiles sizes in your folder.
  • They are. Must say, MS go something right the very first time with these. It works flawlessly and smoothly. I honestly didn't expect that
  • Can add web-page links too, like Samsung's app folder app let's you do.
  • Yes!  This is great.  I have all my web page live tiles in one folder now so it doesn't take up 15 rows of live tiles anymore.  One tile on the screen.  A LOT less scrolling!  I LOVE it!  Way to go Microsoft!
  • I also had this, ever since WP 7.1. It's called Internet Explorer and its favourites ;-)
  • See this bothers me. I think if I put say three tiles in a folder I think the folder should show two medium and one wide tile. It should automatically adjust rather than just giving you a load of empty space.
  • This bothers me a bit too. Maybe in the future they can adjust it. But hey, if this is my biggest complaint with this feature, they did well.
  • True it can leave some empty space, but if it is full of same size tiles it alternates which one is biggest. I think it is a good trade-off. Though perahps needs a tweak if don't have very many in it.
  • Hopefully this will fox on next update.
  • It's not just empty space.  The live tiles within the folder rotate into various sizes.  Watch one of the live tile folders for a while and you will see what I mean.
  • I have to say im pleasantly surprised with them!
  • +620 this feature is the best new thing I've seen in 8.1 It just seems really smooth and well thought out. Another thing making me happy again! I was beginning to think that Microsoft was removing all the little features that made WP so great, and trying to follow the crowd, but this is great!
  • I created one for all the Bing apps.
  • What's new in gdr1 except live folders and internet sharing over WiFi?
  • App corner, accessory app setting, live tile store. At least these are what I discover. Don't know any other yet
  • Internet Explorer does a better job too!
  • Uploading pictures...also in comments included now
  • it was there before this update......
  • Store Live Tile not working for me for some reason.
  • Read the bottom of the article.
  • Internet sharing over wifi was always there. Internet sharing over BLUETOOTH is new.
  • I've been using BT for internet connection since 8.1. What's new?
  • You sure? I wasn't able to. What are they talking about here then?
  • Yep, I'm sure. Been doing it often and for a long time. Come to think of it, I use my wife's 8x once in a while and she doesn't even have 8.1, just 8.0. Seems to be a feature of Windows 8.1, so maybe Phone 8.1 update makes it available regardless of Windows 8.1 (so works now with any O/S)?
  • You're thinking of something different, I think.  The new feature allows an actual hotspot connection between phone and PC over BT using PAN (personal area network) protocol.  The older feature you mention acts only as a trigger:  using a BT connection, the PC triggers the phone to turn on its internet sharing over WiFi, then the PC connects to the hotspot over WiFi. 
  • So, same user experience with a differenbt technical implementation? The benefits of which are theoretically better battery life - although I use current implementation for a weekly 2-1/2 hour trip and battery consumption is extremely low. What, if any, are the cons? Speed? I think for most people, this "new feature" could be confusing if its always been present despite a different technical implementation. Like for me, it won't "feel" new.
  • Better security for your networking and less power consumption.  Bluetooth devices typically have low power consumption while Wi-Fi uses much more electrical power. In part, this is due to the broadcast range of the two technologies. Both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices announce themselves by emitting a signal with a frequency of 2.4 gigahertz. Bluetooth devices emit a signal that travels for about 30 feet, while Wi-Fi signals travel about ten times as far. Wi-Fi devices need more power to generate a stronger signal. Primarily Bluetooth networking (hotspot capabilities) has a much shorter range than regular bluetooth connected devices (typicaly 2 meters or about 6.5 feet).  Anyone outside this distance will find it hard to "hack" into your Private Area Network (PAN).  They may be able to view your Bluetooth connection, but will find it hard to connect to it at a range farther than 6.5 feet.  This means a much more secure PAN as a hacker would have to be seated practically right next to you in order to "hack" your network.
  • Using it for music apps and games so far. Not sure if I want to put messaging apps / emails in one yet. I still like those out.
  • I put my secondary comms apps in a folder (F'book, Skype, Messenger). It's cool that you can look at the folder and see the counts on their tiles without opening the folder.
  • Any settings included to change default messaging app.???
  • Change it how?
  • I think it would be pretty pointless putting multiple emails into a folder. Better merge those multiple emails into a single tile, like I've done.
  • I separate them by productivity, entertainment, notes, quick access and social media app
  • Tip: You don't need to name them. IMO the tiles look better on the home screen without one.
  • Ohhhh, I'm glad I read this. Totally agree! Thanks for the Tip!
  • Me too, looks better and the name can cover up some tiles
  • Thanks Dan
  • No it's Mark?
  • I wish they would just let folders stay open so you could simply ground apps together like you can in W8. The animation for opening and closing the folders is nice though.
  • I'd miss the animation, and having it always open kind of kills the need for having folders in the first place...
  • This^
  • Yeah
  • Folders makes the start screen shorter and more organized.
    I'd like them always open, but this is so coooool, I love it more
  • And they are the best folder system of any platform.. I'm not just saying that because I'm a WP fan.. They really are!!!
  • Yeah, at least we don't have to close them to use the main screen !
  • Agreed, I was concerned we were getting a copy of what's on other systems but they are done incredibly well.. Nice job MS!!
  • When you get to playing around with it it's actually quite ingenious if you think about it...
    Today the WP start screen has entered a new level... I wonder what's next!!!!!
  • I agree, it is well implemented. 
  • agreed 
  • +520
  • Works great, but is there a limit to the number of tiles I can throw in a live folder?
  • I haven't reached one yet. Unlike the original iPhone folders, the folder is dynamic in as much as it opens to the full size of the tiles it contains. I had several Radio mixes and artists pinned to the Start screen and I have popped those and several music apps into a folder. This brings me to the Music app. I was under the impression it would update with Update 1, but apparently it hasn't. Any word on that?
  • I thought the music and video apps were to be merged(back) with this update as well. I'm pretty sure I read that in the actual document/changelog for WP 8.1 GDR1, what gives?
  • Nah, they're never baking those apps back into the OS. Don't know where you would've read that.
  • I don't think so.  I have about 25 pinned web site live tiles for various places I view on the mobile web all the time and all of them are in the one folder now.  I LOVE IT!!!  No more scrolling through rows and rows of live tiles on my Start screen.  Just click the one folder and all of therm are there.  LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE'N IT!!!!
  • God I love live folders, enjoying in every aspect of them..... just kidding, I'm on HTC..
  • +8S
  • Sorry mate, I guess you can say this is Microsoft's way of making HTC catch up to Nokia with firmware updates. Hopefully you gain a lot in the end, though!
  • Nah, I believe HTC will provide 8.1 only for 8x devices, 8s users won't get it...
  • Just awesome love the way apps pop out after clicking the live folder
  • Yeah, that is awesome!!!... Seriously, WP feels completely new everything from WP8.1.... WP7.5 was empty compared to this... Lol!!... And enjoying this on the 6" 1520 is absolutely amazing!... I feel as though my phone is the best smartphone money can buy, and although its an subjective feeling, it sure feels great compared to WP 3years ago.... This is huge.....
    Nevertheless, I'm sure MS won't brag about Live Folders like they should... Market this MS❕❕❕❕❕❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗❗
  • Updating from 7.1 to 7.5 feels so long ago.... Posted via Windows Phone Central App on Andriod
  • Only 3 years ago... But, in reality WP could be on version 9.0, or higher, considering the amount of features that have been added this year alone... Heck GDR1 could've been a .5 update in itself..
  • Stick with the thing which we have faith for it.
  • I have to say that it is not intuitive as it should be. I mean, unless that you know that the feature exist, it is not really obvious how one should create a live folder. There should be an app for that athough because it is really not obvious. Sure it only took me a minute to figure that out, I wonder how long it will take the casual user to figure out how to do it. Still I am enjoying although it is on my small Luima 920 screen.
  • It does work exactly the same as iPhone, for putting things in a folder. Much better when you consider they are all still live and sizeable.
  • Except that it does follow the drag and drop idiom of the Live Tiles anyway so it shouldn't take too much experimentation.
  • I disagree... It's very intuitive and works exactly like the other OS's. Drag a tile and drop it on another tile. They all work like that.
  • How is it not intuitive? It works just like android and IOS.
  • The folders are great but when i started creating them the start screen started to hang on scrolling on the seventh one the 8th one.
    Jitters in the scrolling animation were clearly visible. I guess they need to optimize it more.
  • Which one can expect from a preview
  • I really really like this new feature. So smooth and intuitive.
  • Is the act of adding emojis/emoticons to the name officially supported?  I'd hate to see something like that break up a backup/restore because of something silly like invalid characters...
  • It's not really "officially" supported since you still have to open Mail or SMS and then copy n paste.
  • I love Live Folders. Its Live! Haha. A lot better than the Nokia App Folder.
  • hope people don't come on this article and whine about when updates will come, updates are being released at end of every business week, just hold your horses and you'll get it,also this is NOT CYAN, why do people always think updates for Developer Preview will bring you Cyan?   I think all who missed the article should read it here
  • Lol i think those people have every right to ask.. Especially those, with 8.1 dp and cyan, that haven't received this update
  • That's why I posted the link cause someone will always ask
  • Nice article Mark ! That was fast :D
  • Do we need to install preview for developer in order to install this update?
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • yes, and check box
  • I'm so glad they went with these live folders!
    Now we just need folders for the app list... Then for W8 to get all these goodies.
  • Once everything is pinned and in folders, what would be the point of also having folders in the app list?
  • Because I like things organized but don't want everything I don't use frequently on the start screen, such as video editors.
  • I d prefer a different way to sort the app list
  • Some of us have many categories for apps, not just games and messaging categories. And some of us don't want the start screen to look too cluttered and like a big mess. I like the start screen to be not too long and to look nice. So I organize it with apps I really use or simply have good looking tiles. I order it in a way that it looks pleasing to the eye. So I can imagine not liking to waste too much time creating many categories and having to think about how to make them look nice on the start screen. So I'd rather have them on the apps list. For instance to easily find all apps related to pictures.  The apps list needs autocategories as well. Like ordering by times used, age (date of install) and so on.
  • Social network ' Nokia ' xbox
  • I wish HTC updates it windows phones asap. Getting jealous of all Lumia owners :'(
  • I use an HTC 8XT and I have the update but it wont let me make live folders.
  • Amazing work by Microsoft on the Folders. +620
  • I actually enjoyed the implementation and the look so much I decided to make a folder just cause it looked neat. Other than that I really don't need it, but nice job on it anyways MS.
  • OMG! Live folders are awesome! I was not expecting it to be so beautiful and smooth. It's completely revolutionized my start screen.
  • There is a discernible lag and partial stutter while scrolling on the home screen after creating a couple of these folders and clustering them. Restarted my phone a couple of times to no avail. But I guess, can't expect to much from a Lumia 520. The update rocks anyway.
  • Did you wait for cyan? I have no issues on my rolled back, pedestrian 8.1 updated, dp gdr 1 updated 520.
  • How To create live folders on update 1 of 8.1 ??? I am still waiting on this 8.1 .....WtF Microsoft...when are we getting this finally in Belgium?
  • You do realize this is only on dev preview and you could get 8.1 if you just entered the program. Cyan will come depending on carrier.
  • Wish this could also be used as stationary Categories. Meaning... The folder-look but minus the folder. I want to be able to have categories like windows 8. There are apps that "kinda" do this.
  • It's great. My start screen is much smaller now
  • Awesome folders, no doubt about it. Keep up the good work Microsoft!
  • V
  • I tried them.  I find them too ugly and so minimally useful.  I'm going back to the normal way to have the Start screen.
  • So ugly. I prefer App folder, looks better than this mess. Hope they will come with a facelift, otherwise i will not use that shit. The bar separator ruins all the design, they should have made it look like App folder
  • The bar only appears when you open the live folder...........
  • If you don't like them, don't use them! Many people coming from different OS's are so used to folders that they find them a requirement of any OS. So they provide more ways to organize and customize for those that find them useful and that's a great thing overall for those of us that support windows phone.
  • I will not use them, i'm with the tiles, it's much better for me
  • Maybe the live folders will grow on me, but I never have cared for the look.
  • Much better than the Nokia dead folders.
  • Be nice if it would install....
  • More like "How to install Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1". That ******* **** won't install for anything.
  • Are you on DP?
  • Yes.