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Windows Phone tips + tricks

Ready to do more? Try out these tips and tricks to make your Windows Phone the most productive, the most connected, and the most fun it can be. Click a category to get started. If you want more details, click the link to go to the related how-to article.


Some phones may not support all of the features mentioned in this article. For more information, contact your phone's manufacturer.

    • Tinker with Tiles. Pin, unpin, move, and resize your Start Tiles to put the info you want front and center.
    • Pick your colors. Choose from at least 20 accent colors and a dark or light background theme.
    • Get the picture. Set your lock screen to display a beautiful new image from Bing every day. Go to Settings Settings icon > Lock + wallpaper, and under Wallpaper, tap Bing.
    • See your apps. View your app purchase history and reinstall apps from the web—use your Windows Live ID to sign in to the My Phone section of Learn more about My Phone
    • Mighty multitasking. Keep your place in a game while checking email? No problem. Just press and hold the Back button to see your recent apps, and tap one to go to it.
    • Play with a pal. Some games have online multiplayer options. Tap a game, then check the main menu to see if you can invite a friend.
    • Browse faster. Add a site to your favorites list in Internet Explorer Mobile to get back to it in a flash. Tap More More icon > Add to favorites.
    • Share a page. You can share a webpage right from Internet Explorer on your phone. Tap More More icon > Share page, and then choose how you want to share—email, texting, or a social network.
    • Pin sites to Start. Favorite website? Pin it to Start for instant access—just tap More More icon > Pin to Start.
    • To-do tweaks. Add a To-do to your calendar and give it a due date—it'll also show up in the Agenda and Day views. For extra insurance, add a reminder.
    • Flick through reminders. When more than one calendar reminder pops up on your phone, flick left or right to read, snooze, or dismiss them one-by-one.
    • Running late? Open the appointment on your phone and tap Late to send a quick email letting the other meeting attendees know.
    • Quick-add appointments. To add a quick appointment to your calendar, flick to Day view, tap a time slot, type a subject, and tap Save. You can add details later.
    • Pin Groups to Start. Pin a contact Group to Start, then watch its Live Tile light up with info from other Group members. Tap the Group name, then tap More More icon > Pin Pin icon.
    • Reply on the fly. In a contact card, flick to the History view to see recent calls, texts, and email with the person. Then tap one to call back or write a reply.
    • Jump to a contact. On your contact list, tap a letter to see the whole alphabet—then tap any letter to leap to that section of your list.
    • Filter contacts. You can filter your contact list to show only people from the accounts you choose (the filtered ones will still show up when you search for them).
    • Filter social feeds. Buried in social updates? Filter them on the fly: on the What's new panel in your People Hub, tap All accounts, and then tap the account you want to see.
    • Clear inbox clutter. Group your email by conversation to see—or bulk delete—messages in the same thread.
    • Streamline inboxes. Juggling multiple accounts? Link them into a single inbox (the accounts stay separate).
    • Bulk trash. Need to delete multiple emails? Tap next to any message in your inbox to reveal a row of check boxes.
    • .org, .net, .edu. Tap and hold the .com key to bring up other common extensions to add to an email address.
    • Pop-up punctuation. Tap and hold the period key to see a pop-up menu with other common punctuation marks.
    • Spelling help. Tap a misspelled word to see suggestions from the built-in dictionary. Tap a suggestion to swap it in.
    • Tap, shoot, text. See something unbelievable? Start a new text message, then tap Attach Attach icon > Camera Camera icon to snap and attach the evidence.
    • Thread it. Use Threads to switch between text and Facebook or Messenger chat—as often as you please—while keeping the whole conversation in one place.
    • Text with your voice. Use Speech to dictate and send a text totally hands—and eyes—free.
    • Automatic grooves. Smart DJ makes autoplaylists tailored to your taste—just tap and hold an artist, song, or album, and then tap Play Smart DJ mix.
    • Flick through songs. Swipe left or right on the album art to move between songs on an album or playlist.
    • Subscribe to podcasts. You can subscribe to podcasts right from your phone. Go to the Marketplace Hub and tap Podcasts to get started.
    • Rock out, randomly. In Music + Videos, tap Play Play iconto randomly play songs from your music collection. Tap it again to change the song.
    • Get it done. Use OneNote Mobile to make shopping or to-do lists, then check off your chores one by one. You can even sync and share them!
    • One tap to a new note. In OneNote Mobile, tap More More icon > Pin new to Start. A New note tile will appear on Start—tap it whenever you want to create a new note.
    • Dictate notes. No time to type? Record an audio note instead.
    • Pin a doc location to Start. Pin OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive), SharePoint, or another doc location to Start for fast access. In the Office Hub, tap and hold a location, then tap Pin to Start.
    • Get the overview. Use Outline view in Excel to see and jump to key content in a workbook—sheets, charts, tables, and comments. Open a workbook, then tap Outline Outline icon.
    • Find your phone. Go to the My Phone section of from any Internet-connected computer to ring, lock, erase, or show your phone on a map.
    • Lock your SIM. You can use a PIN for the SIM card in your phone to prevent people from making unauthorized phone calls.
    • Speed dial. Need to call someone back? On Start, tap Phone Phone icon, then tap Call Call icon next to an entry in call history.
    • Speech over the lock. Even if your phone is locked, you can use Speech to call or text someone. Go to Settings Settings icon > Speech, and then tap the Use Speech when the phone is locked Check box iconcheck box.
    • Custom focus. Tap anywhere in the camera viewfinder to focus there and snap the shot. (Note: some phones focus on the center of the screen when you tap-to-shoot. In this case, you can press the camera button halfway down, move the viewfinder to recompose the shot, then press the button all the way down.)
    • Shhhh! Taking a picture at the library? Go to your camera settings to mute the shutter sound and dodge disapproving glares.
    • Pics in the cloud. You can automatically upload a low-res version of every picture you take to OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive). In the Pictures Hub, tap More More icon > Settings and then turn on Automatically upload to SkyDrive.
    • Snap and view pics over the lock. Press and hold the camera button to launch your camera when your phone is locked. When you're done, you can flick to view the pictures you just took without unlocking your phone.
    • Fix your pics. Make a good shot great with Auto-fix—just open a picture, then tap More More icon > Auto-fix to get started.
    • Tag some faves. Choose some favorites in your picture albums, then set them to rotate through the Pictures Hub background and the animated Pictures Tile on Start.
    • Photo flick. In Pictures, pinch a photo until it's as small as it can get, then flick left or right to browse your album in filmstrip view.
    • Tap to map. Try tapping a street address on a webpage to see it on a map. If you see a phone number, try tapping it to dial.
    • Mall maps. Mall orienteering made easy! Zoom in on the mall in Maps (or go to its Place card) to see if it's got an indoor map.
    • Tap a pin. Tap a pin in Maps to see things like what's nearby and customer reviews for a restaurant or store.
    • What's that song? Music search "listens" to a song that's playing, then searches to tell you the name, artist, and ways you can hear or buy it. Press the SearchSearch icon button on your phone, then tap Music Music icon.
    • Point, shoot, search. With Vision search, you can scan things with your phone's camera and then search for them on the web. Press the Search Search icon button on your phone, tap Vision Vision icon, and then point your phone at a QR code, tag, or text.
    • Tell it to the phone. Search with your voice, no typing required—press and hold the Start Start iconbutton to open up Speech, then tell your phone what you want it to find.

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