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How to enable the black accent color on Windows Phone

When choosing accent colors for your Windows Phone, you’re not going to see the color black. There’s still a way to get that color, though, and Windows Phone veterans probably know this trick already. Are you new to Windows Phone and want to know how? Head past the break and follow the steps in our video.

Your Windows Phone comes with at least 20 colors that you can use as your accent color, from primary standards like Red, Blue, and Yellow to more interesting shades like lime green, cyan, and magenta. To select your color, go to settings > theme, then tap the ‘accent color’ box.

The accent color you choose shows up in various places on Windows Phone, like the Live Tiles on the home screen, the App list, the App switcher, the keyboard, the People Hub, and even some third-party apps from the Windows Phone Store.

The black accent color is hidden somewhere else. Go to settings > ease of access, and then turn on the ‘high contrast’ option. When you go back to the home screen, you’ll notice you now have the black accent color! We think this also looks great with the white background. Go to settings > theme, and then select white for the background.

Obviously, this is meant for people with visual impairments, but some of you may like how it looks. There are a couple of things you should be aware of though when activating high-contrast mode. First of all, say goodbye to your lock screen background. It will now only display black or white, depending on the background color you have selected. The second thing we’ve noticed is that emails remove some of the hyperlinks within the text. If those two things are important to you, stay away from high-contrast mode.

Are you going to try the black accent color/white background combination on your Windows Phone? 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.

141 Comments
  • Just wanted to ask does it save battery on ips lcd devices like Lumia 920??
  • Nope, it only saves battery on AMOLED screens such as the 820.
  • Nope. It will on AMOLED only. No color saves battery on lcd type technology. It does on AMOLED, because AMOLED allows you to turn off individual pictures, such that black is actual pixels that have been turned off. 
  • So whether I kepe a white or black background, same thing battery wise on my 920?
  • Pretty much.
  • Actually white background SHOULD be more energy efficient on IPS because color pixel (including black) requires energy to maintain it opaque, when there is no energy the pixel is transparent and the backlight make it appear white. The energy gain from this will be less noticable compared to black background on AMOLED (which has no solid backlight, but rather each pixel emits light). On your question if BLACK tiles are more efficient - it is not, because black requires all 3 subpixels to maintain full power to become opaque, while each other R,G,B combinations are less power consuming. Also you might not notice any significant change because it is only certain parts of the OS that obey these settings which are small part of what is displayed on the screen during usage, most of there are full colored images displayed on the screen (games, apps and etc.). So if you change your background to white and accent color to some solid red, green or blue it should be the most efficient but this will be noticable if you only use the basic OS features or just look at a static screen. Also changing the state of the pixel from white to black rquires even more energy thus when the screen displays motion all the "saving" are actually lost. So at the end tricking the IPS with white backround will not give you any practical drop of battery usage. If you want to do so you'd better stop background apps (especially messaging) they have the most impact on battery. After removing all the messaging apps my battery usage dropped 4-5 times (from more than 4% per hour to as low as 0.7% per hour).
  • I can say from experince that you are correct.    Eventhough it says on my 1520 "your device is optimized for black" (which does not makes sense since it's an IPS).    I've noticed that a white background on my 1520 saves considerably more battery power than balck. 
  • Tried it months ago..An didn't like it cause it makes most of the apps look weird(some look exeptional awesome)..And black lockscreen..+White background uses more battery(which it actually shouldn't)..
  • Hey... I have been using this since the day i bought a windows phone. ;) still, always had that problem regarding the hyperlink in the email... Never understood it was because of this! Thanks for your help. :)
  • 1
  • This is an old article
  • Thanks....didnt know this trick....using it now!!!
  • I tried it before, felt weird because there is no lockscreen picture.
  • This ^
  • Yeah i would love to use it, it looks amazing, but no lock screen is basically a nope.jpg
  • Wish they would just add this color. The trick is not worth it because it reduced functionality
  • Agreed
  • I personally have no problems with the lock screen pic but more with the lack of links in the emails! Why would that help anyone if removed?
  • That's the same thing i was wondering.
  • Does this save or waste battery?
  • If you have a windows phone with an AMOLED display, it may save some battery. Otherwise...no
  • And doing that you will lose your wallpaper.
  • Does it affect the battery life
  • It depends. Just check with your model name, if it has got AMOLED screen display or IPS display. If its AMOLED, just like in Lumia 820, black coloured theme will save battery. But if its an IPS screen, just like mine... (Lumia 720) it wont have any impact. In fact, i, and many others have found out that the white colour theme is more efficient in battery saving.
  • How to tap settings...
  • With your index finger preferably.
  • Thumb man thumb
  • Or toes? Hmmm...
  • No. My socks stink.
  • I use my elbow.
  • Why not just sit on it? :P
  • He wasn't asking a question, it was an incomplete statement.
  • Nose would be Great!
  • ^ Best way to control your super-sensitive Lumia!
  • And scroll by licking the screen in the direction you want it to go...
  • :D
  • Shocker.
  • Nice! and black it is
  • I've done it a few times before but I don't like the way it highlights text on the Live Tiles, as you can see on the lead picture (Twitter tile). If only Microsoft included black as a theme. It would literally take 5 minutes of someone's time to code that into the OS. I mean, it's basically already there, it just need a few tweaks. :D
  • It's possible there's even a line of code something like  TileColour = #000000 and done
  • Hey an additional note: I love this view, hate that it takes away from the lockscreen, however other huge caveat? In email, it does take away the links as stated, but it may also romove any images and formatting in general.  I didn't realize this fully and was compaining about local email support in WP for a while before I disabled ease of access and realized email doesn't suck (at least as much as I was thinking), I did for not realizing.
  • Did you say sorry in all the threads you've complained about emails? You should. It is internet ettiquette.
  • Haha, luckily I was not one to take to threads and forums to go on about that specific issue, so no need for revisits.  I did include higher level complaints that I still stand by ;)
  • Dude, your case and my case are totally the same. I was gonna give my cellphone to nokia care for that link problem. Just read this article and realized that it was the contrast theme.
  • Tried this on WP7... It would be nice but live tiles are different or don't work. The keyboard is my favorite part though
  • I wish there was a darker version of the slate scheme. So it looked subtle on a black background. Also option to invert the icons would be great for light schemes like the yellow
  • I do use it occasionally.. I hope 8.1 brings more accent colors..
  • Already know
  • Well done.
  • I love this but it not compatible with blockbuster.
  • I like how this looks but it annoys me that it replaces the accent colour completely. There are uses for an extra colour in the UI sometimes.
  • They are underlined.
  • I realised as soon as I posted this haha, so I edited :).
  • Now I just look like a retard with that post. Thanks. :(
  • How about you... I don't know... Delete it...
  • I changed it and guess what? It feels faster!! ;)
  • why did Nokia get rid of Nokia Blue :/ i miss that color had it on my old 900
  • ^exactly.. It was my all time favourite color... :(
  • That color is exclusive to HTC phones now..
  • Of course with 8.1 you could simply use a black image to skin the tiles, and still retain your accent colour and lock screen.
    (btw guys, 'lockscreen' is not a word)
  • I thought everyone already knew about high contrast?? I've never used it but showed it to my mother on my 810 ages ago. It's great for people with visual impairment.
  • Thanks for your tips
  • Was excited for this when wp8 came out, but a lot of things become inconsistent and ugly. Couldn't keep it around.
  • I don't like it. :P
  • Old one
  • You need to understand it is a really really really slow news week and Mark is trying his best to feed the herd.
  • Old to some, new to others....
  • Battery discharge very high
  • Lies.
  • It cool till you realize nothing display as it would in normal mode. And get boring after a while
  • But no lock screen wallpaper cannot be put!!
  • I thought this was a real solution, not that old 'ease of access' nonsense. :(
  • Not so cool...
  • Wow my Phone is such a GOTHIC now, I was dreaming about it :P ! WPC central, you rule guys!
  • I think it looks great and rockin it now. I've had WP for years and never realized this!
  • Thanks for the info. Tried but reverted to crimson which suits my red Nokia 920.
  • ...it was great for a while...now I feel that my eyes hurts when I looking on display...the contrast is to high for me..
  • I see a red tile and i want to paint it Black, no colors anymore i want them to turn black!
  • It disables images also in the emails. You can't see images in the email when high contrast is on! Check now!
  • Now, I have a accent color to go with my black case. Salamat Mark!
  • Glad to help! =)
  • The video was nicely done. Like.
  • As a veteran myself I was already aware. It does look good but having the lock screen disabled means it's a no-no for me.
  • Waste of battery life for a white background....no thanks. :)
  • How to enable a full color palate: Microsoft adds it to their OS or have a full root unlock.
  • Don't like it. It was one of the first things that I've discovered when I got my 625 and played on it. I'd rather prefer a black (or dark) background with a lighter accent color like lime, amber or cyan.
  • Looks good, but I like having colorful screens. That's why we have such expensive phones isn't it?
  • And makes all the girls to keep taking a glance to my phone ;)
  • I've been using the ease of access theme for months now. currently, I have the Dark background. I hope MS makes WP themes more like Windows 8 where you have more choice in background and accent colors--I doubt they will though.
  • I want a tutorial how to make WPC app tile black.
  • Just go to tile settings and change icon to classic with WP count and bam! Black wpcentral icon.
  • Coool!!!
  • Use this and your lockscreen picture will also be black
  • I tried it, i liked it, but not as a permanent feature, due to not being able to customize lock screen. But yes it does look really classy. Maybe a workaround in the future regarding the lockscreen.
  • Nope, far to bright and will be a battery hog on my L920 :P.
  • Does this make it easier to see in sunlight? I use skinnery tiles to accent some of my better used apps w/color & flare.
  • Still prefer yellow tiles on black background in my yellow 1020.
  • red here
  • This is great
  • What is the point
  • Tried it few months ago but it looks way too ugly with no lock screen wallpaper and texts with black highlight on tiles...
  • By black u remind me of Lumia black update!!!....wenz it gonna hit India ? Ny 625 users who got dat update in India .... Plz respond
  • Hey this is awesome! I'm using it as black on black instead of the white background. If not having some lock screen pic is all I trade I'm for it. I noticed email links are still underlined so heck, I'm a happy camper. Always had a thing for minimalism. I just wish it would make Office appear black with white text (not literally, just on the phone.) At any rate, from a very recent switcher, thankee.
  • I don't use it only because I'm not willing to sacrifice functionality. I would, however, like to the able to choose my accent colour through a pallet or colour wheel that would allow me to opt for "black" so that I don't need to rely on Deutsche Telekom's software for the dark grey tiles for the OS tiles and Skinnery Themes to turn into black everything else.
  • I like the black on black... Try it
  •   I did not know about this. Thanks. It looks even better with the black background. Everything looks crisp and well defined.
  • Thanks for this I always wondered how my colleague got his phone looking this way and always use to think since he not into his phone that much he must have done something wrong
  • Black tiles on the black background looks cool to me
  • Did this MONTHS ago.....Already sick of the colors in WP 8. Cant wait for 8.1 so at least I can do SOMETHING else with the tiles....
  • Been aware of it , but felt guilty using it due to its purpose intended  for the visually impaired( Swear to God.).. Its like parking in a handicapped parking space ( Crazy but true) I'm very fortunate to not have to use it.HOWEVER, I will give it a go . Now that I know Santa is really my parents. And WPC has givien the OK ( Smile)
  • It's not really like that - because in your analogy, you're not taking a space intended for handicapped people, you just use whatever's made for them without them being impacted at all.
  • Thanks! I didn't know about this. I am using black on black looks great! No background is no problem.
  • Looks cool but after a day or so of running it, its more annoying. They need to just add the color, or give users the option to customize colors
  • I love the black theme but this high contrast mode makes all my emails formatting unreadable.
  • Apart from loss of functionality does a tone feel like it hurts their eyes after a while? Reading articles and stuff does kinda burn my eyes in high contrast.mode
  • When I discover this"high contrast" mode I was using it all day and another guy with a Lumia asked me how did I chose the black color because he doesn't have it and I was trolling him saying that it's on the accent color list...
  • Lol...pretty mean, no?
  • This looks awesome but it disables my lockscreen weather app and background.
  • U can also use Wiztiles or Skinery themes
  • Love this look especially with white bg. But really it wouldn't affect the lock screen though..
  • i did love it actually. except the lockscreen. this trick disables the lcok screen. otherwise, its really awesome.
  • So yeah. After reading your comment I realized that's what it did. I dont think its so cool anymore. :(
  • Yes. My new theme is all Black now.
    An interesting thing to experience...
  • Third issue: it draws black lines round every tile.
  • Pretty much tired with the colors.At the beginning they seeemed good but now we need some more colors or maybe some different styles which i am hoping for WP8.1
  • Cool i like it. Definitely suits my black lumia 920 ;)
  • Just hope they make a Black theme coz its cool to look at but some mail attachments like images that come with mail dont show up
  • I changed my theme to white before turning high contrast on, but ended up changing it to dark just to see what it looked like. I like the black on black way better :).
  • damn... it was easy been waiting for months.. damn... 
  • Wow o_0..I didn't know that
  • why can't we just add more accent colors as options?  does 8.1 fix this?
  • Yeah i've used this several times before on my 820, goes really well with the White Shell for 'Stormtrooper' mode. One of my favourite aspects of it is that it turns the god awful green Xbox tile, which normally ignores colour changes, to Black, and also the same for the Skype tile. The Lockscreen problem is a bit of an issue though sadly. Still, it's not hard to think of a way around that for 8.1.    
  • I like it but..my lockscreen! Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • This is very nice, althoug it doesnt look that good if you have lots of icons with custom colors. But still, very nice option!!
  • Looks totally awful if you use the black theme; the tiles get a white border. It reallty requires developers to support it better, especially with regard to the display of tiles. I am guilty of this myself, but it is easy to react to SystemParameters.HighContrast and do something sensible. Time for an update... :-) It is crying out to just be made a black theme color, and for that matter a white theme color (and not change anything else like lock screen or general UI elements) and leave high contrast setting doing what it does. I have a feeling that 8.1 won't provide this, but we'll soon know.  
  • Is this a bad joke? I am not laughing. I want Windows Phone to succeed but the black theme is just ugly! Why does WP allow only twenty stupid tile colors when the display supports like millions is beyond my understanding. I like many things about Windows Phone and that is why I own ONE but the ugliness of the UI is really over the top now... Some guy on Youtube showed that you can create iOS graphics in MS Word yet microsoft people keep coming out with vomitty UI. Come on people, make Windows Phone pretty and you can surpass the iphone!!! Wake UP already, it is 2014
  • Sorry for bumping this topic, i jsut wanna know is there any theme color that takes less energy? As suggested on previous comments that white takes less engery coz it only needs RGB, so if tiles are red, green, or blue solid colors, are they more energy saving?
  • Guys if u r into wp8.1 jus simply set a total black image as ur start screen image enough u vl get black tiles on start screen no need of givi'n up on neithr lock screen images nor hyper links. . .
  • Is there a way to make the actual icon black?
  • Oh...thanks Mark...for long time i was searching for this..I though something is wrong with my phone thank u so much for this post..thanks
  • Oh I've tried another method. I change my background to the light mode (in start+theme settings, just above the accent color) so the background of my start screen is white and then I downloaded an all black image and use that as the start screen background. It's almost the same and it works better if the apps on your start screen have transparent tiles... Hope this helps... :)