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Nokia Lumia smartphones are designed to make the smartphone experience as simple as possible, but there are features that you might not discover straight away if you’re switching to your first Lumia.

Here are our top tips for getting the best out of your new Lumia.

Live Tile sizes

The Live Tiles on your Lumia Start Screen do a lot more than make the phone look pretty. You can change the size of each tile, and making it larger can present more information. Change the size of the email tile from the smallest to largest, for example, and it goes from telling you the number of emails you have, to showing details of the latest unread message you have.

To change the size of a Live Tile, tap and hold the tile until it pops up, and you’ll see two small icons appear to the right. The top one unpins the tile so it will disappear from your start screen – ignore this and concentrate on the arrow below. When you press the arrow the tile will change in size, with small, medium and large sizes to pick from.


Battery Saver

We’ve all experienced that sinking feeling when realising you forgot to charge your phone and not going to be home for hours, but thankfully Nokia has a solution for your Lumia in the form of Battery Saver. Hit Settings, followed by ‘Battery Saver’, and make sure it’s turned on. If you’re feeling more adventurous, press the ‘Advanced’ button, and you can choose different options for when Battery Saver is turned on.

Turning on Battery Saver stops apps from running in the background. It also prevents the phone from syncing automatically, enabling you to squeeze out an extra few hours of battery life.

Speech recognition

Along with typing in details for searches or using the People Hub, you can also scour the Internet or pick contacts to ring by voice. Press and hold down the Windows button until your Lumia beeps and states: “Listening”, and then say what you want to search for – ‘car parking’, for example, or ‘call mum’.


Website shortcuts

If there are websites that you visit a lot, you can access them with a single tap of the display by adding them to your Start Screen. Open the website in question, and tap the … menu button at the bottom-right. Then press ‘Pin to start’. The website appears as a small but perfectly formed version on your Start Screen, and as with other Live Tiles you can also change the size.


Changing the ringtones and message tones is the first thing that loads of people do when they get a new phone. Click Settings, and you’ll see ‘Ringtones and Sounds’ at the top of the page. You can change ringtone and vibrate settings, along with changing sounds for different notifications. You can also turn off sounds for Reminders, Key presses, Locking and unlocking, the Camera shutter and All other notifications.

If you want to turn on silent or vibrate without heading into Settings, simply use the volume rocker on your Lumia – it even works when the screen is locked, and brings up a couple of options at the top of the screen automatically.



Quick camera access

If you see something you want to photograph, there may not be time to unlock the screen open the camera app. Instead, simply press and hold down the shutter button on your Lumia until it vibrates, taking you straight to the camera. What could be easier?


Something on your phone you want to share – messages, a picture of the website you’re looking at, something interesting? It’s easy to take a screenshot of what appears on your Nokia Lumia’s display: just hold down the main Windows Button and the lock button simultaneously, and a shot of your screen will be saved automatically.


Lock screen notifications

Your Nokia Lumia will spend the majority of its time with the screen locked, waiting for calls, messages or for you to do something. A lot of the time you’ll simply want to know if you’ve got any new notifications or appointments, and it’s easy to do this without unlocking the screen.

To change what notifications appear on the lock screen, go to Settings and tap ‘Lock screen’. Click ‘Choose an app to show detailed status’, and you’ll be able to add things like calendar appointments, Facebook updates and new emails to your lock screen.

You can also add simple notifications by tapping the icons below ‘Choose apps to show quick status’. This will simply show the number of new emails you have, number of new messages, number of new Facebook messages and other similar options.



Lock screen apps

You can also add apps to appear on the Lock screen, with some particularly useful options such as weather updates. Once again open ‘Lock screen’ from the Settings page, and then click ‘Background’.

Apps like AccuWeather let you turn the whole background into a weather update, with sun, rain and snow showing up along with details like temperature, wind speed and more. If weather isn’t your thing, you can choose from photographs, search engine Bing, Facebook and a host of other apps.




Check out your favourite Nokia phones from the last decade, and nearly all have offered something in common: the ability to change the look onscreen by switching to new themes. The same is true with the Nokia Lumia, with a host of vibrant colours available for menus, your Start Screen and other options.

To change the theme on your Nokia Lumia, simply press Settings, ‘Theme’ and then select the colour you want. You can also change the background colour from dark to light.

Look out for part two of this post, tomorrow.