Hands-on with the new Live Folders in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1

Final result: a Start Screen where I keep a lot more apps!

Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 was just released to developers and here’s our hands-on with the updated OS.

One of the most evident new features for the platform is the addition of the new Live Folders. These allow users to group Tiles on their Start Screen and keep apps better organized. However, they also allow for the benefit of Live Tiles to show users info, without them having to go into the app.

The Live Tiles feature works exactly as you’d expect if you’ve ever used a smartphone. Users can drag and drop tiles on top of each other, and this will create a folder. The folder can then be renamed and it will display whatever apps are set inside of it. What's a bit strange is that taking apps out of a folder is a cumbersome and slow process as you need to close it every time you move an app. Renaming is also a bit of hassle, you have to long press that grey bar, or the folders name and it doesn't always work on the first try.

Inside Folders, Tiles can be re-sized to fit the users' liking

What’s interesting is that the Folders themselves act as Live Tiles. You can rearrange them, change their tile size, mix and match apps around and they’ll look natural, plus they’ll still display useful info on your Start Screen.

Once opened, a Folder acts as its own little Start Screen in and of itself. Inside a folder you can pin tiles, change their sizes, and rearrange them around and so on. The execution of this is very interesting and it will allow users to get creative when organizing their apps.

Folders themselves act like Tiles and can be re-sized and rearranged 

For example if you’re super fond of large tiles that show a lot of info, but at the same time you want to keep your start screen neat and clean, now there’s an excellent solution. You can create a folder, set it to its smallest possible size and throw in your favourite apps. Then when you open the Folder all the apps’ tiles will pop out at the maximum size. It’s a bit hard to imagine but the screenshots above and below explain it all.

You can drag and arrange Tiles inside of Folders

Though some of you may never use this feature, being content with the usual tiles, the new folders fit in very well with the whole Modern UI and Windows Phone experience. There’s no doubt that lots of users will find this feature useful.

If you want to know more about Windows Phone Update 1 keep checking back as we'll have more hands-on articles later on. If you have any specific questions about the update leave us a comment and we'll do our best to answer it.

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Thanks Neowin. Updated to this and it's great, wasn't expecting an update like this so soon after 8.1. Keep it coming Microsoft. :)

This is really neat. Well done Microsoft. Well done Joe. Windows Phone as an OS has turned into a sweet little thing.

I'm confused now. Should I just pin ever single app now to get some sort of organization in the app list? I'd appreciate a way to sort the app list like we're able to on Windows 8.1 AND folders for most frequently used apps.

Anyone noticed there's a new Apps Corner in settings?

Also Glance and Double Tap to wake function seems to be missing after trying a soft reset.

LawrenceZ said,
Anyone noticed there's a new Apps Corner in settings?

Also Glance and Double Tap to wake function seems to be missing after trying a soft reset.


Try a soft reset again, I have both; on the other hand I do not see a Music live tiles though.

Tried soft reset 3 times and no avail. The problem was solved with SysApp Pusher tho. Need to manually push the Glance and Display from there and all is well after. :D enjoying it now. ^^

Well.. I found folders and multiple text messages selection but I read somewhere that USB settings are also come with this update but I have not found it,
Anyone noticed something else?

I realy hope they will add more accent colors in the future, actualy.

Renaming is also a bit of hassle, you have to long press that grey bar, or the folders name and it doesn't always work on the first try.

This isn't true, when you are placing tiles or changing their size, you can open the folder and tap the name to rename it, not hard at all.

Woke up and the update was there waiting for me to tap "Install" Update went smoothing, now trying to figure out how/if I'm going to use the Live Folders.

looks really interesting, it would be good if Microsoft could turn this around pretty quickly and get this out soon, start showing consumers that they won't leave their devices unsupported that buying into the Microsoft eco system means a phone/tablet that gets updated (still waiting for 4.3 or 4.4 on my Galaxy Note 10.1 stuck as 4.1.2 :(

You can give the folders a title/name

When the folder is closed, the title is at the bottom of the folder.

I wish we could change that.

I also wish you could choose just one app to be the front of the folder, helping to keep the overall look, less cluttered.

Ah I read tile not title. Makes sense. Well it keeps in line with the way the rest of the tiles are named. It would be nice to change that feature by itself though. More customization is nice, something I do appreciate with Android.

Also, I guess the way the folder is set up (line at the bottom to denote folder) you can't fit just one tile. Who knows though maybe they will tweak it as time goes. Nice thing is for what is essentially a beta feature it's pretty damn near flawless. Only having to retry to rename the folder gives it away.

I would really love to have the option to put the tittle of the Live Folder at the top left.

However, instead of having only one icon as the foreground of the Live Folder, I would rather want it to be like the Live tile of Group of contacts (where you see the sliced and animated contact pictures).

Still not a fan of the tiles. I dont mind others using the flat design, but sure as hope other platforms do not copy the tile interface.

Every other interface is based on tiles as well .. they are just not properly interactive and further apart from each other. also they seems not to be squared because the "icon" itself is not. they are in grids since windows 3.1 android 1 and ios1

JonnyLH said,
That's why there's opinion and choice. Do you come in every WP thread saying the same thing?

No, I dont. Even if I did, why do you care? You the posting police or something?

techbeck said,

No, I dont. Even if I did, why do you care? You the posting police or something?


Going into a thread about something specific and claiming you don't like something which is unrelated to the specific topic at hand, just abit... trollish.

-adrian- said,
if you don't care for the look what do you fancy more about the other systems that are providing less in their layout:O

I just like a nice clean screen with a clearly visible background with a couple folders.

JonnyLH said,

Going into a thread about something specific and claiming you don't like something which is unrelated to the specific topic at hand, just abit... trollish.

Post is about new live tiles in WP. I replied to the post and said that I still did not care for tiles. Which is completely on topic and I am allowed to express my opinion regardless who likes it or not. And as long as I am allowed to express my opinion and I stay on topic, I will continue to do so.

And trollish? I didnt say anything bad about the tiles, I didn't blast them and called them crap or anything, just said I didnt like them. Since when is an opinion being a troll. Or was it the fact I said something against what you think?

techbeck said,

I just like a nice clean screen with a clearly visible background with a couple folders.


so you go for the fancy look rather than get things done. fair enough. Well - We don't want a monopoly anyways. So you can choose one of the other systems.

-adrian- said,

so you go for the fancy look rather than get things done. fair enough. Well - We don't want a monopoly anyways. So you can choose one of the other systems.

I get a lot of things done on all my devices. Not having live tiles does not negate that. You do not need live tiles to become productive. There are a lot of widgets for Android that provide live/real time content as well. I dont use them either. Tiles just look cluttered to me and I like a clean interface. Sue me

Now with that said, I have recommended WP to a few users and they seem to enjoy it. So good for them. Just not for me.

Edited by techbeck, Aug 4 2014, 3:49pm :

JonnyLH said,
That's why there's opinion and choice. Do you come in every WP thread saying the same thing?

What is your problem? He does not like them and express his opinion, I do and say so...

techbeck said,

I get a lot of things done on all my devices. Not having live tiles does not negate that. You do not need live tiles to become productive. There are a lot of widgets for Android that provide live/real time content as well. I dont use them either. Tiles just look cluttered to me and I like a clean interface. Sue me

Now with that said, I have recommended WP to a few users and they seem to enjoy it. So good for them. Just not for me.


I bet I can customize exact the same number of "icons" on the display as on any other phone. So what does a clean interface mean to you? 4 x 4 icons? or waste of space between icons and background with fancy looking icons? I am just curious

I like not seeing the desktop at all.. everything on the desktop is a waste of space and time for me to access information. I don't even use a background image.. why should I .. it is not like I like starring at my desktop when I am at the pc

-adrian- said,
I like not seeing the desktop at all.. everything on the desktop is a waste of space and time for me to access information. I don't even use a background image.. why should I .. it is not like I like starring at my desktop when I am at the pc

Again, this is MY preference. You have a different usage for something, then by all means use it. I am not going to blast you or think differently of you because if it. To each their own.

techbeck : It is too bad you had to defend yourself for reading an article and commenting. Just because you dislike the tiles doesn't make you a troll or someone who shouldn't have commented. It wasn't off topic at all, it was your opinion.

lamborghini said,
And JohnyLH expressed his opinion ... :s

When you are well versed on a subject you are able to express your opinion without attacking other ones, when not....

I got as high as 20 and there doesn't seem to be any limit. The only limit is the number of apps the folder can display in the Tile on Start screen - the tiny little ones see above - and that's 18.

Seems faster. :p

On a serious note, loving the new update. And Vlad that start screen background is just...ugh. Take some inspiration from the people over at wpcentral.

AsherGZ said,
Seems faster. :p

On a serious note, loving the new update. And Vlad that start screen background is just...ugh. Take some inspiration from the people over at wpcentral.

Seems faster on my phone but maybe because did a reset after installing

AsherGZ said,
Seems faster. :p

On a serious note, loving the new update. And Vlad that start screen background is just...ugh. Take some inspiration from the people over at wpcentral.


Maybe you take some inspiration and stop that "seems faster" crap. How can you judge the customized background of someone else? We don't complain about your Profile picture, do we?

I see no issue of him pointing out his feedback on the background of the phone, which has been used in the article.

Merely, he wanted the author to use a better background on the phone so that the quality of the article could be improved. Whats wrong with that?

He is not picking on the background of some random user's phone, hence, I do not see how it makes sense that you wanted to pick on his profile picture either.

Criticism is always easy. Lets give him benefit of the doubt.

I like the start screen look of them when they are opened. Can you keep them opened? I'll definitely have to see how they work when the folders have some tiles in there. I just don't yet see how they can provide that much information when the folder is closed.

They provide limited info
& when you open folders they provide detailed info

Can you keep them opened?
what do you mean?
like keep folders open on start screen?
that's already done on start screen?!?
If you mean grouping then that's a diff matter

What I meant was, can you keep them expanded, so they represent the grouping feature on the start screen on Windows 8 starts screens. I like that look...

DaveGreen93 said,
Much better than the Nokia app folders implementation. I like it!

plus more features to be added since this is a DP8.1u1

itisomegakai said,
Folders themselves act as Live Tiles
Awesome

Hopefully this comes to Windows 8.1 soon. Would love to have a new start menu on Windows 8.1 that works like a WP8.1u1 start screen.

Gungel said,

Hopefully this comes to Windows 8.1 soon. Would love to have a new start menu on Windows 8.1 that works like a WP8.1u1 start screen.

I agree. although I think we'll see a drastic overhaul of the metro interface and desktop in windows 9. I wouldn't expect many more changes to come to windows 8.1.