Settings + personalization

Personalize my Start screen and theme color

What color do you want your Windows Phone to be? Tangy, green Lime? Bright, cheery Cyan? Deep, rich Crimson? Choose a hue to match your mood, the season, or even your favorite sports team. There are at least 20 colors you can choose from, including primary standards like Red, Cobalt (Blue), and Yellow, as well as more unique shades like Emerald, Magenta, and Steel.

Accent colors for Windows Phone

The color you choose shows up in various places around your phone, like the Tiles on Start, the App list, the App switcher, the keyboard, the People Hub, and even some third-party apps from the Windows Phone Store. You can also choose between black and white for your phone's background, which can provide a change of pace and relief for your eyes in low or bright light.

Windows Phone 8.1 backgrounds and accents

To make your Start screen even more personal, choose a photo to use as the background on your Tiles instead of your accent color. (The accent color you select will still show up everywhere else on the phone.)

New colors and background photos aren’t the only things that make your phone unique—you can change the size of your Tiles so you can see more apps at a glance on Start, and keep your favorite apps organized and easily available by grouping your Tiles into folders.

Start screen with background image


This topic is about Windows Phone 8.1. If your phone is running Windows Phone 8, some options and icons may look a little different, and some features may not be available. Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.

To change the accent color

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Start + theme.

  2. Under Accent color, tap the current accent color.

  3. Tap the color you want to use. You'll see the new accent color highlighted in the sentence on the Start + theme screen.

To change the background

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Start + theme.

  2. Under Background, tap the current background.

  3. Choose one of the following:

    • To make your background black, tap Dark.
    • To make your background white, tap Light.


On some phones, the dark background uses less battery power than the light background.

To use a photo as the background

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Start + theme.

  2. Under Start background, tap Choose photo, and then tap the photo you want to use.

  3. Make a pinching motion with your thumb and forefinger on the screen or move them apart to crop the photo to fit your Start screen, and then tap Crop Done icon.

  4. If you want to change back to using your accent color as your Start background, tap Remove under Choose photo.

To show more Tiles on Start

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Start + theme.

  2. Turn on Show more Tiles Toggle on icon.

More Tiles on Windows Phone
The Start screen with an extra column of Tiles


When Show more Tiles is on, Tiles can still be resized and moved as before—except now you can fit more Tiles on your Start screen.

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