Customizing the Start Screen
Even though Microsoft provides you with a default tile arrangement on the Windows Phone 7 start screen, you are not stuck with using it. The phone's start screen is completely customizable. You have the ability to add and remove or rearrange tiles.
When I reviewed a Windows Phone 7 device for the first time I found the process of customizing the desktop to be a bit cumbersome and nonintuitive. I thought that you should be able to simply drag and drop tiles to your heart's content.
As I gave it more thought though, I began to realize why Microsoft designed the OS the way it did: to prevent you from accidentally rearranging your start screen every time you touch it.
The operating system is designed so that you have to make a conscious effort to rearrange the smart tiles. If you want to move a tile, you must touch and hold the tile until its appearance changes. At that point, you can drag the tile to its new location. From there, you have to lift your finger and then tap the tile one more time to lock it into its new position.
Adding and removing tiles works in a similar manner. If you want to remove a tile from the start screen, just tap and hold the tile until its appearance changes. As you can see in Figure E, the tile will expand, and an unpin icon will appear in the upper-right portion of the tile. You can use this icon to remove the tile from the start screen.
Figure E Use the Unpin icon to remove the tile from the start screen.
Adding a tile to the start screen works in exactly the same way. Just tap and hold the object until its appearance changes and then use the Pin icon to pin the tile to the Start screen. When you do, the new tile will appear at the bottom of the start screen. As such, you may have to pan the screen to see the new tile.
I'm sure that right now many of you are wondering where a tile goes if you unpin it from the start screen, or where you can get additional tiles that you can add to the start screen. Windows Phone 7 contains a separate App List screen that displays a list of every application that is installed on the device.
You can access the App List by going to the start screen and flicking left. (You can see what the App List looks like in Figure F.) You can pin any of these apps to the start screen by using the tap and hold gesture.
Figure F The App List screen lists all the applications that are installed on the device.
If you look back at Figure B, you will notice that there is an arrow icon in the upper-right portion of the screen. Tapping this icon has the same effect as left-flicking.