Windows apps are those touch-friendly apps that are downloaded from the Windows Store and they appear as tiles on the Start menu. They used to be called Metro apps, Modern apps, Universal Windows Apps, and now just Windows apps. (Maybe something else next month.)
The whole naming thing has become a mess and Microsoft has struggled as much with the name as with getting people to use the apps. Desktop software is just so much more powerful that apps tend to be overlooked.
However, there are some really nice ones, such as the News app and Money app. Calendar and Mail are pretty good too. They now have a new trick in the Windows Anniversary Update.
Make your tiles bigger
Windows apps appear as tiles on the Start menu and if you right click a tile a menu is displayed. Go to the Resize menu and select Large. This makes the tile a large square and the reason for selecting the large size is make it big enough to display information.
A small tile is too small to display images or text, but the large size enables an app to display small snippets of information or images.
Turn on live tiles
Right click the tile again and go to the More menu. Select Turn live tile on. This enables the app to update the contents of the tile with text and images, even when it is not running.
The great example of this is the News tile and it switches between news stories every few seconds. Sometimes it displays a single story with a large photo that fills the tile and a headline.
Sometimes it displays three stories on the tile. There is a mini image and headline, and you can see important and breaking news stories without having to open the app.
Normally, clicking a tile opens the app’s home screen. The idea behind chaseable tiles is that the app can tell what you clicked on, so in the case of the three news stories above, the News app would be able to tell which story you clicked and instead of opening to the home screen, it would open to show the news story.
Chaseable tiles makes live tiles more useful, or at least potentially more useful. I’ve tried several apps and I have not yet seen one do this. The problem is that an app needs to be designed to detect the object you click on and the developer must add a new bit of code to the app to detect the click.
In order to use chaseable tiles an app must be updated to use it and it will not automatically work with existing apps. Update Window 10 to the Anniversary Update, open the Store app, click your photo to display the menu, click Downloads and updates, and check for app updates.
Chaseable tiles are coming. Have you found any yet? Let’s create a list in the comments below.