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My Live Tiles Are Dropping Like Flies


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.


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.