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Microsoft will bring transparent tiles to Windows 10 for phones

If you installed the Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones, you may have noticed that the start screen renders tiles differently from what we've seen in Windows Phone 8.1. Tiles that use the theme color were transparent in Windows Phone 8.1, allowing you to see the background image, but in Windows 10 for phones, the tiles are merely translucent. If you're a fan of transparent tiles, you're in luck, as Microsoft's Joe Belfiore announced that the feature will be making its way to Windows 10 for phones.

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There's no mention as to when the feature will be available, but for those of you wondering whether transparent tiles will be available, there's your answer. It's coming.

How are you liking the Windows 10 preview for phones? Be sure to check out our hands-on video to know all that's new in the preview:

Source: Twitter (Joe Belfiore)

Thanks Bryan for the tip!

324 Comments
  • Yes boy!
  • Awesome! By the way the semi-transparent tiles are also looking amazing. It feels matched with the background though.
  • I'm probably alone in this but I expected more from Windows Phone 10 maybe it was all the hype but it feels like a let down.
  • What? It's not even finished, some of the menus don't even match up. Trust me, we're still a long ways off from rtm. More features will come. Including a revamped Xbox music app (thank god).
  • I can't wait for the sms/chat integration to come down the pipeline
  • Lol "pipeline". i can't wait either!
  • Hopefully Xbox Music and Xbox Video fused in a new Xbox Media, so that it's less of a mess. And with more options like music rating and subtitles
  • Obvious troll is obvious.
  • I am in no way trolling. I will try to explain my comment better. When I said I'm "expecting more" what I mean is I love WP because it was so different from IOS and Android but it seems like the more MS updates WP the more it's losing its identity and turning into a copy of the other two which I understand from a business perspective. It's just sad cause what I love most about WP it is uniqueness. I guess I was all hyped up expecting to see something fresh not this never ending catch up game MS has with IOS and Android. Hope that makes some sense.
  • Wait till 29th april to get stunned....when i think microsoft will preview full version of windows 10 for phones...(hope) including live tiles
  • So you don't want the OS to mature? I feel that is the only thing its got in common with the other OSs, its getting more features.
  • Mature does not need to equal conformity with competition. WP was enjoyable to use, while Android felt like a clunky hodgepodge of ideas. Microsoft appears to be in the process of transitioning from a beautifully designed and beautifully functional approach that lacked a few features, to one that is a mishmash of WP, Android, IOS and PC. The "looks like my PC" approach was the design theme of the ancient Windows Mobile.
  • Even I kind of feel the same. Where are app bars? All go inside the absurd Hamburg menu.
    Where is all panorama /pivot menu?all the identities of wp is being shredded away. Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • Panoramic sliding, pivoting menus, the entire metro design philosophy is what made this neat and exciting. The newer we go the less it defines itself and the more it just becomes another collapse. 7.5 was the best build for me. About the only thing left of Windows Phone is the tiles. The design approach has shifted and it's not for the better.
  • Keep in mind that this is a technical preview and it is visually far from finished product. It will get quite some touches here and there before final release.
  • I agree with you. I wanted W10 to be beautiful and unique. Instead, it just seems to have converged with Android and iOS.
    In fact, Windows 10 on desktop and phone seems to be a real step back from the design elegance of WP8.1/Windows 8.1. Unless both betas improve drastically, I would be hesitant to 'upgrade' either my phone or my computer to Windows 10.
  • I share your concerns. However, please remember that we are the minority here. Most people disliked w8 and wp8. By bringing some of the popular design paradigms from ios and Android, Microsoft sought to make w10 more competitive and closer to mass users.
  • Just because you make wp look like iOS and Android, doesn't mean it will make more people want to use it.
  • The form and function were not the problem. It was always behind in basic features and apps. It was enjoyable to use while android was clunky. However, I like many others put up with the clunky laggy annoyances just to have the added features and apps. I didn't move back to WP until they added a few features and the noveltiy of using new apps wore off and I just wanted basic smartphone functionality that was enjoyable to use. Had they had all the features and apps, I and many others would have been all over WP the entire time.  Windows 8 for desktop was another story. It worked fine for me, but all the complaints were legitimate. A main machine used to get your work, school and everything else done, by young and old alike, shouldn't have had the dramatic a change and such a long learning curve. The reason for slow addoption there was due to the design.
  • If they had the apps it would have done better. The design language made WP really its key selling point. There is no way in hell that a rep at any carrier ever said, do you use cloud storage alot? Do you use word or any other Office doc, then get a Windows Phone 8.x because you can snych between your home PC and your Phone through the cloud. No never..... It was always the appeal of the UI that garnered interest of potential buyers. The lack of apps just killed their optimism isntantly.....
  • I disagree - W10 for desktop looks and feels great in my opinion and all the people that see me working with it are very impressed with it. It has this fragrance of simplicity and a minimalistic approach and I like that. To each his own though! I loved 8.1 as well but we're in the minority in that case :'). Shame. 
  • 10 for Desktop is getting cluttered, IMO. I hope they clean it up before they release it.
  • I agree with keeping W10 beautiful, elegant and unique. Making it feature rich I want too, but keep it Metro, please.
  • They specifically mentioned that the UI/UX will change. I wouldn't jump to conclusions at this point :) I agree that a few moments I was having the same feeling (the settings page) but then again, it makes the current 8.1.1 looks outdated. sounds silly right?  
  • That's because it is outdated. Windows phone has looked the same since 2010. It's time to move on. I loved the way the photo app looked in wp8.0, it was scrapped in 8.1, did I complain? Nope, WP is changing for the better.
  • iOS has virtually looked the same since it came out.
  • Mmm. I see what you mean. I am of the same sentiments. The UX that lured me to the phone is being ditched in an effort to please the mass of incompetent whiners. It does upset me that the different screen methods (panorama) are just being ditched for menus, etc. But what keeps me on WP (and not going back to iPhone) is the ecosystem and the tight integration of OneDrive and syncing of data and settings. If Microsoft is going to cave to the masses and everything is going to look the same anyway, I might as well use a phone that directly compliments my computer and is 100% compatible with it.
  • Agreed. Loved WP's unique design solutions. Most of them I think uncomparably better (like the 4 panels screens design compared to the hamburger-androidesque solution). Another (now former) solution I loved was to find messages (either from SMS, FB, Whatsapp (!)) all inside the messages tile. That was what I used to call the grandma-proof design choice.
  • then why didn't you say that in your first comment rather than coming across as whiny for the sake of being whiny? in response, I don't care if it loses its identity if doing so makes it more functional.  What use is a unique identity when that identity lacks basic features and integration that the competition has?  The main selling point of win10 is the global integration with all your devices, and they can't deliver a unified experience if the phone OS looks different to the desktop OS.  You need to change with the times, man.
  • Is 'uniqueness' and euphemism for 'lack of features'? Because if it is, then, yes, WP is becoming less unique.
  • Maybe it's that this is the first preview? He already said it doesn't even have many of the features they're working on yet.
  • A non-final, tech preview, which is essentially an Alpha build, is a let down? I'm curious. Did you expect all of the finalized features to be present and bug free?
  • Judging from the amount of complaining, I'd say the answer to that question is yes.
  • Why jump down the guys throat for stating windows 10 wasn't what he expected? It has absolutely no effect on you whether he is happy with the product or not so what's the point of getting your knickers in a twist over nothing?
  • I asked a simple question. I'm not sure that constitutes jumping down somebody's throat. In addition to that, I only purchase twist-free knickers.
  • There should be setting to adjust transparency level of tiles .!! Plus parallax view background that was is an awesome functioning .! Well the action center should now be trnasparent /translucent to get a better look of notifications .!!! That will enhance the look moree
  • This.
  • Give them a bloody go to get things made then tweak and add improvements... They are rewriting the whole OS, so features will be added when they work properly.. BY Importance I would think. You want those features. Use USERVOICE
  • M surely gonna do when I get the W10 program .!!!! Till the time to make it more common point amongst members WP central comments are the best place .!! More the ppl know more they will report more they will put feedback and will be heard :)
  • Definitely, adjust the level of transparency / Parallax effect, vote for that
  • I agree with this. In fact the whole system could use that transparent/translucent design so it would actually match together. Maybe an -option- for the classic black/white or transparent look, so everyone is happy.
  • That is exactly what I'm hoping for the whole Windows style to change sometime... Lots more transparency that makes the complete UI seem more precious
  • Thumbs up every1 .!!! ;)
  • Parallax is there but it now works sideways, from start screen to app screen.
  • It didn't come with a flux capacitor. The world will now end. Posted via my HTC One (M7)
  • Not really a letdown per se. This is more of an evolution than the revolution 8.1 was. The only real benefit of W10 is supposed to be in that universal app thingy that they talked about when W8 came out. Maybe this time they'll deliver on that promise. But I agree, it just seems like the same old with some aesthetic changes. It's what I expected to be honest. Don't know what anyone else was expecting or is expecting. Right now, they're trying to bring back features from the old into the new....eerily familiar. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I guess the Bob crying couldn't last long. This is not even considered a beta version of the final OS but purple still complain instead of trying it and sending in feedback so the final product can be more in line with what users ask for
  • me too , i expected more options in personalisation settings like translation effects , panorama view , interactive tiles ... but i will keep my judgement after i get the final version on my LUMIA720 .
  • What, if anything this first preview had made me even more excited about what's next to come. I mean look at the tech preview for desktop, it was nothing like what it is now.
  • No I'm right there with you. So basically so far I've seen a horrid looking settings menu, a file explorer, and a keyboard that's wierd to say the least, a still broken Music tile, and translucent background. Wow..... I mean seriously.....
  • you should watch the win phone 10 video that shows just a handfull of features that other iphone users and android users curse windows about and not your saying those same features are paintless and the same lol.  They cant win for you can they.
  • You are not alone thats for sure what i noticed on windows 10 is Microsoft still playing catch up and with that new hamburger menu design it's showing respect to android and ios wich list more then its own windows phone fans ,i used windows phone for a long time because i loved thw metro design and now when we supported the platform until it got stronger they gived us what what other platform user would and not care about what we want i wish i was wrong but microsofr don't show us respect that we deserve
  • doent forget this is a prieview of very unfinished software, people have been going out of their way to say that, weve never been given windoews this early in production and if i could put this on my lumia 930 id hav been very happy but id also know that not all the features are gona be on first build and not everything will work as you expect in a this beta ish build. probablt alphas is a beter name.
  • First stage pre-release software Expecting more. Sigh.
  • I agree. I mean I like the new stuff they're including but each new major OS update should have some nice new feature. 8.1 had cortana and the notification centre. Nothing really stands out with 10. Are there more features in the pipeline for W10 that haven't been announced yet or is what they've announced basically all we can expect?
  • I can understand your disappointment. Windows 10 is an unfinished product. You should only be using the preview if you want to be part of the development process. But if you are looking for a finished product you are going to be let down. You can always revert back to 8.1. It's for this same reason I decided not to engage in the preview but rather enjoy vicariously through everyone else.
  • I need the background wallpaper to exhibit parallax effect please.... That would be awesome.... Vertical effect while scrolling down and horizontal effect while scrolling to apps section
  • right.
  • I can't seem to get start screen backgrounds working. They just don't load.
  • You just can't please some people
  • I hope the clear tiles with black framing also goes to the tablet / PC version of Win 10. That would look awesome with a black Sony Xperia tablet.
  • YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS GURL!
  • This is exactly what I wanted to know......
    ........
    I'm done for today... See yall tomorrow....
    I wanna see that keyboard in action tomorrow, Daniel.
    ........
    One more thingy...... We need a option that blends the two together... I want transparent tiles, but with the full screen background image... Maybe they could make tiles form some kind of outline, or something... IDK, but JUST PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN, MS❗❗
  • I also want the same..transparent tiles with background image..White or black background behind the tiles in 8.1 looks hideous
  • i love the tiled background on win 8.1 glad they are keeping it.
  • I want that thingy too!
  • Rod, have you tried the OS yet? What are your initial thoughts? I ended up getting the L830, but I'm going to wait for it to mature. Maybe I'll get the developer preview or the equivalent of that in the weeks and months to come.
  • I have a 1520... But, I don't hear any complaints so far, and it's got everything, well mostly everything, that 8.1.1 has.... I'm gonna install it as soon as its available. But, I like what I see so far...
    ..........
    The nice thing is that smirk on Joes face when he says there's more to come... That means a lot more, and something special is coming.
  • I would like it or Microsoft would make the tiles almost clear, like glass.
  • Open plumbob!?
  • Yeah, but when will it be available for my 1520?
  • Having options is the best option.
  • I agree. Having the option to turn selected tiles into transparent ones would be great
  • That's a cool idea... We should be able to do tiles independently.... If course depending on if the developers implement it.
  • Yea because you're stuck with all transparent tiles, except those who don't support transparent look. Previously in wp8 screen looked very vibrant, now I have to arrange tiles here and there so it isn't all transparent.
  • There's an app for that. Possibly many more at the windows store. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • But you lose your pretty pretty live tiles because of them. So its a NO NO.
  • Ikr.. But I'm confused since it says... 'in tile transparency ' .... I want it completely on the back of tiles and on sides.... :3
  • It took them 5 years to learn... Lol.
  • It took apple 4 years for me.  and i dont think androids there yet for me so 5 years is only a little slower especially as they were very late to the party, and to be fair untill they got cortana alot of people couldnt use them
  • Lol! But Apple is there for a whole lot of people... That's all that matters... They have the most worth out of any company in American history..... Can't beat that....
    ........
    Especially when your marketing sucks rat balls.
  • to be fair im a cameraman, i dont actually work at microsoft or own the company or any of their brands so when you say my marketing sucks balls your actually using the wrong language.  I loved iphone, i got bored of iphone i now use win 8.1 930 phone and well its my favotite phone and best mobile experience i have ever had, i think ios 7 was the changer for me the ios put me off iphone, then ios came alone and ate my batery up and turns a ok pleasent experience into a lets shove as much as we can onto your screen experience and thats something im very happy to leave.  There comes a time in any devices history when adding is just too much and refining is the name of the game, luckly windows 8.1 is there and hopefully continues to improve.  But make no mistake my 930 with 8.1 is right there with your apple phones and does some things alot better too.  Oh and does things iphones just cant yet and visa versa.  Apple didnt invent the mobile full web, apple didnt even invent the touchscreen phone it just told you all that when it stuckl it into a simple package and we all bought it.  My problem with microsoft is releasing a dev win 10 without suporting a flagship devise thats not good pr and its certainly not the way to improve things, but their 8.1 phone rulesy thee way what do you mean by they have the most worth out of any company.  Do you mean they are the richest company by nearly double or something else, cause i can tell you this they dont have the best product anymore and i know 800 million android users that would agree and well 100-200 million windows users too. So not everyone shares you opinion.  And i like the iphone.   I also have big balls plse dont suck then
  • Lol... Sure dude.. Sure. I won't.
    ........
    As Apple goes to the bank... Your faith..
  • Anyone knows of in w10 you can use custom ringtones for sms, whatsapp, etc? Because MS had been hesitant to add that to wp8 for a while.
  • That's in wp8 currently.... Check your settings
  • Already in w 8.1 denim update you can have separate tone for whatsapp
  • ivbe been doing all that in 930 8.1 its supoer easy so i cant complain, the only issue i had was having to go through my 300 albums and use software called mp3tag to merge album art with songs so proper album art shows up in music app.
  • But too much options will be confusing.
  • that is what went wrong with android.
    WP was at the other extreme. too simple.
    both have improved now.
  • Omg amazing! I dint get all the disappointment too the official isn't even out!
  • I'm loving this update! I just wish they would bring the double tap to wake feature back.
  • It's there pal.
  • Where at?
  • It's always been in the touch settings.
  • Settings>extras>touch.
  • Not sure what phone you use but on my 830 double tap works.....
  • It came with my 521 but it's no longer there since Windows 8. My HTC 8X and Lumia 635 don't have it. Mind guiding me to it? :S
  • Time to use the report bugs/feedback feature
  • I don't think it's a bug I think they made it exclusive to certain devices. If it was only for Lumia phones then my 521 & 635 should have it.
  • Download the touch app (Lumias only) http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/touch/bbc57c87-46af-4c2c-824...
  • Says that's a bad link.
  • Double tap to wake requires a proximity sensor which the 635 doesn't have.
  • Amazing
  • There ya go. Feedback is working already :P
  • whew patience really matters...
  • +625
  • But when I will get WP10 on my lumia 925?
  • You will get it sometime before the summer if that helps. :D My guess is before mid-March though. Just my guess. Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • He'll ask again in 5 minutes. 
  • Patience young padawan...
  • Wow. I don't like the look of it. At all.
  • Well you can make it look like 8.1 if you want then.
  • Wow. I love the look of it. At all
  • Awesome! Each one have lots of potentials
  • Seems reassuring
  • Me too got in my Lumia 630 :)
  • When can we expect it for 520???
  • Why would the guys that work here know that? They don't work for MS directly. They report all the things they hear about, both official and speculation. Stop flooding the comments of every article with this question.
  • Agreed...im tired of comments like this
  • Sources tell me it'll be sometime around neveruary.
  • I'm also tired about it.
  • Next Tuesday
  • I wonder if the transparency level will be adjustable at some point. Perhaps it could even be adjustable per tile. And there's the blur effect that's possible, too, though that needs a bit of unobstructed background to look good.
  • Now I have no reason not to take the plunge. As soon as it is available for my Lumia 822, I'm going for it.
  • I cant apply background . . .
  • Guys how can I roll back to 8.1? The windows recovery tool.just reinstalls 10tp....
  • It rolls back to stable OS, so should be 8.1 http://www.windowscentral.com/windows-10-phone-preview-too-buggy-you-her...
  • Try navifirm and ncs.
  • I'm glad. Probably the only thing that was as huge step back.
  • Lets hope will not be a feature only for high end phones...
  • So both will finally be an option. That's cool.
  • I know I saw a pic on one of the blogs - can't remember which one now - that was showing Win 10 with the full transparent tiles like we have now. I remember thinking "oh good, that will still be an option."
  • Thanks, because i don't like the new start screen, doesn't even let you see your background image.
  • Yes you were right, I still prefer to the transparent tile WP8.1. Its become an unique value which is not either IOS or android have it, you still can see theimage of windows style. Meanwhile the translucent tile makes you confuse, windows tile of all application is closing whole the display not like android that using small icon, thus you can only see part of the image at the edge of display. That almost doesnot makes any different with WP8.0....
  • Suggestion: Transparent (Blurred) Lockscreen. Thoughts? I would create the effect by screenshotting my start screen, removing the icons at the top, and then blurring the picture. I'd set it as my lockscreen and it would look awesome. A real one would look even better.
  • It's much nicer too if you put it at the Uservoice website or user feedbacks
  • Checkout Blur by Windows Phone Hacker from the store.
  • When were tiles transparent in 8.1?
  • Whenever you set a picture as your background in the start+theme settings.
  • Maybe I dint understand the coding behind systems but why aren't they just building onto existing windows instead of starting over with this build in certain areas
  • I think it's because this isn't just an update to Windows Phone 8.1, but also to Windows RT, so the new converged thing isn't just a straight upgrade of one older project, but rather a combination/replacement for both products.
  • When the Lumia 520 ??
  • NO
  • When we know, you'll know.
  • Any one know ?
  • Why would anyone know? If the people in the know aren't saying, and you can't find it online, why would you think someone reading the comments would know?
  • Sorry, I meant to say "1st of March".
  • I love the present start screen on 8.1 more
  • i totally agree. As is the windows 8.1 tiled transparent look is incredibly beutiful.. My personal opinion is i dont get the new wallpepered look, seems wasted on a start screen covered in live tiles lol.  But lovign alot of other features i can see in the phone .  Sepereating the settings menu had to happen it just did, cause it was anoyingly long.  I like puting previous installed items on the prgram menu option but this will still not satisfy most other pohone users, I get it but others will moan itsa to long like settign was, so ide definatly come up with a system or a view mode to change that,  Maybe allow a icon mode for the program areu  though ide prefere something else but cant think of anything.  I cant wai to see if that skype intergration is part of the phone and if out device es ca like laptops desktops or tablets can answer textes and phone calls built in.  If our friends on modiles can skype us and it comees up on our phone via internet data thats awsome, and a huge cross platform cue lol heres hoping.
  • To joe Belfiore >> attaboy
  • if hes here cool, he should be the face for microsoft, he did a way a way beter job on presentations that some of the other choices.  And windows 8.1 is awsome dont venture to far from it plse.
  • Just off topic. Is the "joystick" thingy on the keyboard yet??
  • Yes
  • I think you are wrong. He was referring to background image behind the tiles and image in the tiles like wp8.1 option.
  • I would love to see both transparent tiles and background picture..As in 8.1 the black or white background behind the tiles looks hideous..
  • I like both styles, I'd love to have an option to manually adjust the transparency of the tiles while using both background styles
  • My favorite feature is the drop down box from a text message notification to respond. Awesome
  • Yes!!! The option for both is perfect! I love windows phone more than ever!!!
  • Here's a question. The number 1316. Was that what it was? Is another wave coming on Monday?
  • It's already been explained on twitter. 1316 has been and gone. That's why we already have the first build.
  • Don't mind that that @iyae comment, there is no need to be that rude, but anyways 1316 was actually the time it released - 13:16 (1:16pm)
  • Thank you for