Settings + personalization

Everything goes back to Start

On Windows Phone, Start is your home base: you can keep all of your important stuff right where you need it, perform a task with a tap or two, and then press the Start Start button button to zip right back again. You can fill Start with links, contacts, maps, and apps, or just a few basics. With Live Tiles, you get notifications and updates in real time, so you don't even have to open an app to see relevant info, right from Start. It's unique to you and your needs.

Start screen with Live Tiles on Windows Phone
Live Tiles on Start show real time notifications and info

Take a shortcut

When you first get your phone, Start will already have some Tiles on it. But which ones stay is entirely up to you—you can move around or delete anything, add new ones from different places on your phone, and even group Tiles into folders to organize them to the way you want. Here are a few of the things you can pin to Start:

  • Apps — If it's in your App list, you can pin it to Start, including any apps or games you get from the Windows Phone Store.
  • Contacts — When you pin a contact to Start, the person's profile picture will show up in their Tile, and you'll get all of their updates right there. You can also pin a Group and see the updates for everyone in it.
  • Albums — You can pin music albums you have in heavy rotation for quick access.
  • Maps — Once you've found a location in Maps, you can pin that location to Start and use it as a starting or ending point for directions. Especially handy if you're often going to and from a certain place.
  • Websites — Pin a favorite website to Start for an easy launch point.
  • Office files — Keep your to do list, shopping budget spreadsheet, or half-finished screenplay up front and center by pinning it to Start from OneNote, Excel, or Word.

For even more things to pin, see Pin apps to Start.

Move things around and group them in folders

We start you off with a fairly orderly configuration of Tiles, but you don't have to leave it that way: when you move Tiles around, you're free to leave gaps between them, have only one Tile in a row, or fill up every available space.

You can also adjust Tile sizes so you can pack a lot of apps into a small space or revel in the glory of an expanded Live Tile. All Tiles can be shrunk to the smallest size, and many can be expanded to span the width of the Start screen. To learn more about rearranging Tiles, see Move or unpin a Tile on Start.

Want to group certain Tiles together in folders? Just tap and hold a Tile, and push it on top of another Tile to easily create a new folder. From there, you can add more Tiles or simply remove a Tile by dragging it out of the folder at any time. To learn more about creating folders, see Create folders on my Start screen.

Create folders on Windows Phone

You can use Files, a new app that's free, to manage documents, photos, and other files on your Windows Phone. That means sharing files with friends, organizing files into folders, easily searching and opening files, and even deleting files when you need to save space.

Bring some color

Your phone comes with 20 colors you can use for your Tiles and the accents peppered here and there around the phone (and some mobile operators might add a color or two of their own).

All 20 accent colors for your phone

Your theme color will show up not only on Start and your App list, but also in links, Messaging, and other places.

You can also choose between a black or white background. On some phones, the dark background uses less battery, while the light background is higher contrast. Also, here's a tip: some colors look a little different against the dark background than they do against the light, so if you change between them, try revisiting different theme colors. (Optical illusion? Maybe, but experiment to see what you like.)

Start, App list Messaging, and App switcher with accent colors

To learn how to pick your flavor, see Personalize my Start screen and theme color.

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