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July 16, 2015

Update: The best Live Tile apps for your Lumia

Need to get vital information at a glance? Here are some of the most useful apps with Live Tile support to pin to your Start screen.


Back in 2013, we selected our picks for the best Live Tile apps for your Lumia. Now there are more new apps in the Windows Phone app store with Live Tile support that deserve placement on your Start screen.

Let’s start with the pre-installed apps that are probably pinned to your Start screen by default.

The People hub tile is constantly being updated with photos of your contacts. Did you know that you can set up a custom group, such as Best Friends, that can be pinned with a separate Live Tile? Notifications about posts to Facebook and Twitter from that group will appear on the tile.

Swipe to the Rooms and Groups screen in the People app to create a group and then touch the pin icon to automatically pin it to your Start screen.

Medium Tile v. Wide Tile

By default, most apps are pinned as a medium-sized Live Tile, but changing them to a Wide Live Tile mean you can see even more information.

For example, Cortana in Wide mode displays full news headlines and travel updates rather than snippets.

The free Messenger app (for Facebook) displays the last message sent instead of just the number of messages waiting to be seen. (The same goes for the Messaging tile for SMS messages, too.)

Likewise, the Facebook (free) Wide Live Tile shows your entire Facebook cover photo—not just the cropped version—along with the latest relevant status update.

Your email Live Tile is best viewed in Wide mode as well. It allows you to see the sender, subject, and first line of the last unread email sent to you.

Phew, that’s a lot of Wide tiles! My advice is to be selective and prioritize the apps you use most to conserve your Start screen real estate. I’ve found that some default Live Tiles–such as MSN Weather, Calendar, and Photos–are just as useful in medium size as they are wide.

Most Pin-able Apps

Here are our picks for Windows Phone apps–all free–that warrant a spot on your Lumia’s Start screen.

Power Planner

Power Planner
Pin the tile for this homework-planning app to your Start screen and see your class schedule, upcoming exams, and homework assignments at a glance. The paid version includes secondary tiles for each class.

Buses Due
Live in London? The Buses Due app alerts you of the arrival times of various bus lines at your favorite bus stop on your Start screen.

Get regular updates of top story headlines throughout the day with an accompanying photo in the Live Tile. You can also configure the app to send you push notifications of breaking news stories.

Create your own custom Live Tile with a note of your choosing and pin it to your Start screen with this unique app.

Like a personal magazine, Flipboard aggregates news articles on subjects that interest you. The Live Tile updates regularly with headlines and photos.

See monthly statistics (distance, total time, calories) from your runs on your Start screen with the Live Tile for this fitness app.

TimeMe Tile

TimeMe Tile
Hate having to search for the time? TimeMe displays the current time, date, weather, and battery level all in one Live Tile. The tile is also thoroughly customizable.

Never miss a workout! The Live Tile reminds you about an upcoming workout and even shows a picture of one of the scheduled exercises.

Go into the app’s settings to pin a Word of the Day to your Start screen. I recommend using Wide mode (if you have the room) to see the full definition.
Now it’s your turn: What are your favorite apps that support Live Tiles? Tell us about them in the comments below.