How to customize the Start Screen and theme [Windows Phone 101]

Are you a new user? Are you trying to figure out how to use your fancy new Windows Phone? Not all of us are seasoned veterans when it comes to Windows Phone. At one time we were all beginners just looking for answers. Windows Phone 101 aims to provide answers to the simplest questions.

So, you’ve got a Windows Phone device. You’re staring at a screen full of square icons and you have no idea what to do next. It’s time to customize! You’ve probably heard that Windows Phone is not very customizable, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a lot you can do to make your phone unique, and in today’s Windows Phone 101 lesson I will show you how.

Start Screen

The thing you see the most in a Windows Phone is the “Start Screen.” When you first get your phone the carrier has customized the Start Screen for you, but it’s easy to change it up. Long press on a tile to resize it, drag it to a different spot, or remove it from the Start Screen entirely.

pin resize

If you would like to put an app on the Start Screen that isn’t already there just swipe over to the right to see the full list of installed apps. Find the one you want, hold your finger down on it, and choose pin to start. It will show up on the bottom of the Start Screen, then you can resize and move it around.


Another great way to customize your Windows Phone is to change the theme. The theme consists of two things: background color and accent color. The background color can be either white or black. The accent color is what color the live tiles are, and many other accents throughout the entire phone. There are 20 colors to choose from (sometimes more if your phone maker adds some).


To change the theme go to Settings>Theme. Simply tap whichever you would like to change, background or accent color, and the options will pop up. Changes will be immediately visible in the settings app. It’s very easy to change. You can do this whenever your mood changes.

That is how easy it is to customize your Windows Phone. Watch the video above to see these instructions in action. A good example of how creative you can get is, a Start Screen sharing website. What theme do you like the most? Do you change it often?

  • KosmoCrisis

    I don’t know why, but I dig the teal color. Really pops at night.

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