DeadFly2

I have been having issues with the Live Tile functionality of several apps recently and while I don’t have any answers I do have a suspicion. BTW, these app developers have been fantastic responding to my questions and trying to find ways to get their app to work on my phone, even to the point of adding diagnostic tools, unfortunately without success.

The problem started several weeks back with Pro Sports Scores, an app that recently added live tile support. Each time I try to turn on the live tile function, I get an error stating, “Failed to Open Channel”. This dev went so far as to add a function to reset the tile channel but it didn’t help. Then I updated Messenger, which now includes live tile support, but no live tile for me. Then I tried Smart Tile, an app that updates a tile with push notifications. Again, I got the same failed to open channel error. The same with Sports Calendar and now moTweets. No live tile love for any of them.

But yet my Weather Channel live tile works fine. Same for Sports Scores, Beeze and WeatherBug. The failing live tiles are the primary reason I am anxious to see the NoDo update. Not for cut & paste, but for the updated firmware that I expect to get from HTC. Have been hopeful a firmware update would shake things up enough to make the tiles work properly. I have considered a hard reset, but wanted to wait until after the update in case that experience goes bad (don’t know of any Surround that has received ANY update, so who knows for sure) and I wind up with a hard reset anyway.

My situation is probably somewhat unique as I have downloaded more than 150 apps (not including games) and currently have 100+ apps on my phone. I am aware of the 15 live tile limit that DavidK talked about here, but I keep close track of all my app downloads and am certain that I have not installed more than 10 third party apps with live tile support. And if I only count the apps that actually have a working live tile that number drops down to about five. I check the Marketplace comments of trouble apps often and have recently noticed more and more uses stating that, “the live tile does not work”, while the next comment may state, “love the live tile”. Odd that some people are having problems and other are not.

DeadFly

Exchanging emails with the Smart Tile developer, he explained that according to Microsoft a soft reset will reset the channel and that’s all you should need to get things to work. So that got me to thinking. First I disabled live tile functionality for any app I current have installed and then I unpinned any tile with live tile support, working or not. Did a soft reset and tried to activate push on Smart Tile, but got the same failed to open channel again. So next, I deleted every app with live tile support, except for Smart Tile. Another soft reset and again tried to activate push but Smart Tile still would not cooperate.

Accepting defeat I reinstalled all of the apps I had deleted, but to my surprise many of them no longer have live tile functionality on my device. That includes WeatherBug, Sports Scores and Beeze, all of which worked fine before I deleted them for this test. Actually Beeze won’t even let me turn on live tile support. When I try I get an error message, “ An error has been occurred”. The other two apps don’t kick out an error but they have not activated/updated in more than 24 hours. Live tile function has been activated on both. An additional app, ToastMe, that included push and a live tile now will not even open on my device after reinstalling, although I did test and use it successfully a couple months back. Interestingly, Weather Channel is updating fine. But I did learn a few weeks ago that there are two different ways to update a tile; push and pull. Push is the push notification method that is supposed to refresh a tile instantly. Pull, on the other hand, schedules an event, I suppose similar to the old WM Notification queue. At a designated time it sends out a request for an update and then within a reasonable time range the tile will be updated. This is how Urban Dictionary works (actually that dev explained this to me), updating their tile once per day. And that’s also how Smart Tile works without push support. So the tile will update anytime between about 1 and 60 minutes, depending upon when you made a change. I believe Weather Channel is using pull and not push, probably scheduling an update every hour, but it’s not that important if one update comes after 45 minutes and the next takes 85 minutes.

So what does this all mean. As this data is only based on my experience, along with some random Marketplace comments, I guess you can call this “anecdotal”, but I believe that there is a 15 Live Tile “push” threshold. Further, I believe that each time an app is installed it fills one of these slots. So once you have activated any cumulative number of live tile events, being the same app 15 times or 15 different apps, the queue is full and presently I don’t think there is any way to clear it out. Don’t know if this information is stored on your device or on Microsoft’s servers. If it’s on your device then theoretically a hard reset should clear things out. If on MS servers someone needs to clean things up. I suspect as time goes on more and more users are going to lose live tile functionality on new app installs or reinstalls.

Based on the current update fiasco I don’t expect this critical issue to be corrected any time soon but hope that someone at XDA-Developers catches hold of the problem and finds the offending registry key or file and can reset it without the need for a hard reset. Maybe Microsoft needs to create a new Marketplace category labeled “Hacks” and allow these vitally important registry tweaks to be uploaded, at no cost to the dev, so they can be installed on your phone easily. Now that would be some forward thinking.

So if anyone has real facts regarding Live Tile limitations or is having a similar experience, share your thoughts. Don’t think this one is going away any time soon.

19 COMMENTS

  1. How do I say… I started having this issue some time back. As soon as I started installing more number of live tile capable applications I noticed some applications stopped updating tile. Still I’m searching for a solid/reliable solution. 15 app limit per phone is really very very less limit. For me live tile update is one of the biggest differentiator of Windows Phone 7.

  2. I agree. Even 15 ‘active” live tiles would be limiting, but it especially becomes problematic when discarded or inactive apps, don’t come off the list. Have you experienced any app reinstalls where a live tile app used to work, but now doesn’t? At first I though maybe one rouge app might have screwed up my channel whatever, but now I think it all has to do with the magic 15.

  3. Apps that I tend to view the live tile and not the app, like WeatherBug, always stop working. I just open and close the app and they start working again. AP Mobile and Flixster always end up this way.

  4. Huh? When the hell did you get a Windows Phone? Last couple of articles I read from you, you were still on the Android train. What gives?

  5. @yss: That’s what I thought and a few times in the past Weatherbug was slow to update, like keeping the moon view up through most of the day. But since 2:00pm yesterday, after reinstalling WeatherBug (only had it uninstalled for about 30 minutes), all I have is the little bug icon. I have opened the app, setup my 4 locations, and toggled the Live Tile button off/on several times. Same with Sports Scores, that worked very reliably up until I uninstalled/reinstalled it yesterday. Missing my Devils and Yankee updates now.

    Either a rouge app screwed up my push queue and everything loaded behind it is stuck or this is some kind of threshold and apparently I have reached it. Eventually, I may need a hard reset but would like to know more about how this all works before I do.

  6. Same experience here. Funny thing is smart tile kept giving the message of no available channel but after I installed weatherduck, weatherduck live tile works but smart tile still doesn’t. FYI, currency tile doesn’t work for me either.

  7. After AlphaJax stopped updating (the Tile) a few weeks ago, I went the hard reset route on my Surround. It was a much less time consuming venture than a re-build of WM 6.5. Of course, there isn’t as much customization.

    My current LT’s are WeatherBug, Flory, Alpha Jax, ArkWords, Weather Duck (test) and Clever ToDo (though this one doesn’t count as it is all client-based). All seems to be working well. It would be great if No-Do fixed that issue. But, it would be great if No-Do were coming sometime soon too! ;-(

  8. @Tan Teng Heng: Like Weather Channel it is possible that Weatherduck uses pull instead of push, meaning an update is requested every hour and if its a little early or late, no big issue. Not sure but don’t think there is any limit on pull tiles.

    @Durishin: So that confirms a hard reset will clear the problem. Thanks. Will definitely plan for one of those as soon as I get these delayed updates, assuming the update does not fix things. Agree that the reset is much less painful than WM, but if I eventually need to do one for the update, don’t want to do two in a row.

    Although leaning towards a registry setting, hard resetting may just reset things on Microsoft’s servers, so a simple registry tweak may not solve this. Got some people trying to get an answer to that one.

  9. So here is a question. Assuming there is a limit for live tiles, and that appears to be true, when does the live tile actually get registered in your device registry or on Microsoft’s servers. When you download it, first open it, or actually pin it to the Start screen. Many apps with live tile functionality download with the feature enabled. So if it registers the first time you open the app, you are sort of screwed from the start. Would definitely my future “try it out” scenarios. Maybe the Marketplace app police need to rethink this and have apps install with live tile enabled. Having definitive live tile info in the app description (push vs. pull) would also be helpful and we now have to count live tiles to avoid hard resets. Maybe somebody can make an app for that. Just no live tile please.

  10. Hey Murali & Tan Teng Heng, what device do you have. Trying to zero in on the issue. So far its Surround 2 (Me and Durishin), other devices 0.

  11. First things first. Have anyone of you used Chevron to unlock your phone? I tried it for the first time last night. I got the UH-Oh error. Didn’t even unlock it, but it Screwed my phone up. The artwork for my songs was a totallty unrelated picture and bio. I hooked my phone to my truck and the volume is so much lower now. Since I had the phone(Dec.) phone would be set to 16 and the radio volume no higher than 13. Today, Phone needed to be at 20 and truck at 16 to understand the song. I’ve also read posts about the people hub no longer cycling. I hate to do it, but I gotta hard reset. That damn cert and/or unlocker screwed something up. DAMN ATT!!!

  12. Well that sucks. Been waiting for the update (like watching an Oak tree grow) or vaildation that unbranded devices are getting the NoDo update (not pre-NoDo) before taking the homebrew plunge. Thought this was a foolproof process. Can’t imagine why it would affect your volume. Didn’t know abou the People hub thing. Guess I need to do some reading before anything else.Oh well.

  13. I am having the same problem on my Samsung Focus, first my govoice wouldn’t work, then alphajax stopped working. I haven’t reached fifteen separate apps installed, but i have installed fifteen times. Funny thing is for a while i could uninstall alphajax and govoice would work, of vice versa, now neither will work. Alphajax support says i have to do a hard reset. I really want to avoid deleting my game saves, and reloading all my music, hope NoDo comes soon and fixes this.

  14. @Torrence: Thanks for the detailed post. Guess this is not an “HTC Only” problem (they have enough exclusives already). Also adds some creedence to the 15 installs theory. Need some verification from Microsoft but got to believe this is something in the device registry that should be easy to overwrite. I wouldn’t mind having to reinstall 5 or 6 Live Tile apps every few months once the key reached its limit and needed to be reset.

    Of course, a permanant fix would be better but don’t know if or when that may happen. NoDo is just wishful thinking. I expect HTC to supply me a firmware update with NoDo (don’t know about the Focus but thought I heard something about an updated ROM) but now that firmware can be updated without disabling all loaded apps (at least I think so) then it may not touch the parts of the registry that are associated with apps. That would not be good for this problem. Have not been over at XDA-Developers in months but maybe it’s time to post a question and see if the wizards can figure this out.

  15. #jimski – I have a HD7

    #BennyJ – I used Chevron and don’t have problems like you mentioned. In fact, with that, I could help out some developers to test out their apps and give them my feedback, and also allow me to install some homebrew apps.

  16. Well well well, I disabled ‘Use Push Notifications’ for Smart Tile v1.1 and now the Live Tile works. I monitored the Live Tile update and it seems the update occurred at the hour mark, I.e. 2 pm when I changed the ‘notes’ at 1.17pm. I’ll expect the next update to be at 3pm.

  17. Yep. That’s pull. Push would be nearly instant but an hour (max) is not so bad, for now at least. BTW, loaded Weatherduck last night and this morning it was updated so it is using pull, just like Weather Channel. But no update from Weatherbug in three days so that must be push. Pull apps have no limit.

  18. Mine all stopped working after T-MO gave the pre NoDo update. the only ones that work are the MS live tiles and weather channel everything else stopped. I have uninstalled apps nothing works. this issue of not fixing the bugs is getting old.I’m really starting to think that MS has it’s head up it’s butt on this.

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