Yes you read the title right, you can customise Windows Phone 8 quite a bit. This article is a quick look at a few apps I use on my nice new HTC 8X to customise the look. Starting off with a custom tile creator.
Wizz Tiles has been around for a while and it allows you to basically create a few custom tiles. The most interesting of these are tiles for your connectivity items. So Wifi, Bluetooth, Flight mode and Data are all present. The app also has the ability to create shortcuts to some of the core apps as well and also create custom web shortcuts.
This functionality has been seen in many apps before, but I always come back to Wizz Tiles as it offers quite a bit of flexibility. When you are setting your tiles up you can choose any background colour you want and you can also use any of the downloadable themes for the tiles as well.
The handy thing about Wizz Tiles is that with Windows Phone 8 you can use the small 1×1 tiles as well, so you can easily add a whole of settings and shortcuts to your screen. It really is one of those apps that the more you play with it the more you find you can achieve. All of the tiles can be made double sided with a different icon or colour on the back side. It is a paid app but as with most Windows Phone apps you can try it out for free.
Store Links – Wizztiles Pro
New Group is another app that’s been around for a while and with the arrival of Windows Phone 8 it has been given a new lease of life. What it does is basically make a tile with a word on it, You then use this tile to mark out a section on your start screen. There is also a strip of colour beside the word which can be changed, I always go with the current accent colour.
With any Windows Phone I have I usually end up using three or four pages of tiles, with Windows Phone 8 and the different sized tiles I want to add as many as possible, so it soon ends up as a bit of a mess. Splitting your tiles up into categories like above makes my life a whole lot easier.
I normally have a web section, a social section, multimedia, games, tools, travel or whatever you fancy really. A quick tap on the marker will take you into the settings allowing you to reword it or change the coloured strip.
The program allows you to keep adding marker tiles and then you can shrink them to 1×1 size or keep them at 2×2. I really like the new 1×1 tiles and it helps me keep my screen in order. This one is a free app with no adverts so give a try on the link below.
Store Link – New Group*
Battery Level for WP 8
Windows Phone 8 has brought a whole host of new features to the game. One of which is the slightly amended lockscreen. Now any app that can push notifications can now add information to the lockscreen, such as adding your current battery percentage. Battery Level allows you to do just this, when you run the app for the first time it shows you what you can do and also offers to send you to the lockscreen editing section.
Another nice feature of the app is the Live Tiles. You can use all three sizes of tile, the bigger the tile you choose the more information shown. Again I prefer a nice little 1×1 tile which just shows the current percentage. Again this is a free app, beware at times the tile will be a little bit behind with it’s percentage, a quick tap and it updates. Not ideal but will hopefully be fixed in future updates.
Store Link – Battery Level for WP8
Other things you can change
As regards other apps there are lots of apps around that let you create live tiles of some sort and lots of apps that pretend to let you amend things and then don’t. Windows Phone 8 now allows you to change quite a few things yourself. A quick search in the store for “Live Tiles” or “Tiles” will bring up no end of apps that allow you to pin allsorts of info to your screen.
Windows Phone 8 has added a lot more different accent colours, combined with the light or dark themes you can really make your start screen your own. The lockscreen as mentioned earlier now has quite a few things you can change as well. If an app pushes a notification then you should be able to add a counter to your lockscreen. So SMS, Calls, Emails, Battery Level, Games, Facebook, Skype and many more in future can all have counters. You can also show detailed info from these apps as well.
The background picture on the lockscreen can also now be taken from Bing or Facebook and if you have bought an HTC Windows Phone 8 device then you can add the weather to the lockscreen.
Overall Windows Phone is less customisable than certain other OS’s but for me I can create a unique, eye catching yet still functional phone setup fairly easily. Windows Phone 8 is a certainly a step in the right direction, we just need some more sizes of tiles, as 4×1 and 2×1 would be nice. For now I am happy with what I can do with Windows Phone 8.