Chaseable Tile Support Begins Showing Up in Windows 10 In-Box Apps

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10, Windows Phones with 16 Comments

Chaseable Tile Support Begins Showing Up in Windows 10 In-Box Apps

A new Windows Store app platform feature called Chaseable Tiles has started appearing in some in-box Windows 10 apps.

That’s a mouthful, I know. Here’s what’s happening.

At its Build 2016 developer conference back in April, Microsoft announced a new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app feature called Chaseable Tiles that would blend notification capabilities with the live display on app tiles in Start on Windows 10. That is, to date, apps have been able to display notifications on the Windows 10 desktop that, when clicked, navigate the user to a specific bit of content inside the app instead of just the app’s default display. So, for example, when you get a new email notification and select it, the Mail app will launch and display that email, not your inbox.

But live tiles haven’t worked that way. Yes, apps could display specific content on a rotating/live basis, but when you selected the app tile, the app’s default view would appear. So in the case of that Mail app, if you clicked its tile when it was displaying the header for a particular email message, the Mail app would appear, but display its default (inbox) view. Not the message.

That’s changing.

As Microsoft explained to developers at the time, this capability should not—and will not—be added to all apps. Indeed, the Mail example I used above was illustrative, and when you select the Mail tile in Start, you will always navigate to the default (or current, if the app is already running) view.

But it makes sense for some apps. Including MSN News and Weather, which are the first in-box apps to get this support in Windows 10.

Microsoft has been testing Chaseable Tiles in Windows 10 for a while now, and these two app updates have made their way through the Windows Insider Fast, Slow, and Release Preview rings throughout this past month. But they are now available to the public, so anyone with Windows 10—on PC or Mobile—will see the update now.

Well, in theory. I can’t get either app to do anything other than display the default view for some reason, and the Mail app sits there without displaying living data at all.

Live tiles? More like dumb tiles.

Live tiles? More like dumb tiles.

But here’s how it should work.

The Weather tile should cycle between five places—your current place plus up to four favorites—as you watch it. If you select the tile when it is displaying a particular place, the Weather app should open and show you the weather for that place, and not for your current location.

The News tile, meanwhile, can cycle between five top stories. When you select the tile, the News app will open to display the story you selected.

Presumably, the MSN Sports app will be updated soon to support this functionality as well. And presumably, the apps will actually start working on my own PC at some point too. Fingers crossed.

 

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Chaseable Tile Support Begins Showing Up in Windows 10 In-Box Apps”

  1. Avatar

    5914

    Lately it's more dump tiles than live tiles. My tiles tends to not update. Like after reading all my mails, I still see the number of unread mails on the tiles. 

    Or more funny, I see a news on the News appand when I enter the app. Can't find the news I saw on the tile anywhere. 

    I like UWP apps but Microsoft seem to struggle with the live tiles. Been like that since Win8.

    • Avatar

      131

      In reply to MartinusV2:

      I've said it before and I'll say it again:  UWP apps, for the most part, are terribly unreliable.  I don't know if it's the apps themselves or the underlying UWP platform, but I've had issues on multiple devices running multiple OS's (8/8.1/10) with reliability, live tiles, performance, etc.  Hell, even Edge (which I consider might be the "premier" UWP app) has multiple app issues (and I'm not talking about lack of features).  Paul pleaded the case in an earlier article for the eventual move away from Win32, but the way things are going now, we're easily a full decade away from that.

    • Avatar

      4763

      In reply to MartinusV2:

      They have been doing "live" tiles for so long now that one would think they would work by now but I can't trust them any more now than I could on wp 8 years ago. I have never seen anything on my mail tile on windows 10, some mails show up in the action center but that's it. weather tile is on and off on a monthly basis.

  2. Avatar

    5394

    Tiles are pointless and useless for the most part. They should go with smaller icons so you can fit more icons on the Start Screen, or better called the New Desktop or Mobile Desktop. They haven't made Tiles more useful for a long time. Where are their priorities?

  3. Avatar

    6486

    Calling this feature "chaseable" and not "drill down" or something like that is classic MS. Take a good idea, give it a terrible name and half-hearted implementation. This feels more classic MS than new MS.

  4. Avatar

    796

    I've got tiles on a brand new Surface that won't display anything...not even the name of the app for the tile. So at least you know which tiles you're clicking on, Paul.

  5. Avatar

    6115

    As a developer, I can say that live tiles are the most annoying aspect to program.  The complete inability to control how and when a live tile updates makes them unreliable, and I find myself wondering how to explain to users why their live tile does not show up-to-date information.  Even when the app is OPEN and you try to force through a live tile update, Windows can simply decide not to perform the update.

    The fact that frequent updates to a tile cannot be done -- and that updates generally speaking can be ignored by Windows completely -- makes live tiles fairly useless.  But users definitely expect an app to have a live tile, and they rightfully get upset with the live tiles not updating consistently.  Any check of support forums will show massive numbers of complaints.

    Live Tiles were initially supposed to be good enough to replace desktop gadgets.  But they are not even close -- it's almost embarrassing to suggest that live tiles could replace desktop gadgets.

    This "chaseable" concept has me a bit concerned.  The live tile is the main way a user launches an app.  So what if they want to launch to the app's main view, regardless of the tile's contents?  (As happens now.)  Clearly, "chaseable" should not be implemented unless the user can also choose NOT to launch into the specific content shown on the tile.

  6. Avatar

    1570

    Hey, Paul. With the news app, when it opens it displays the story that was on the live tile as the story at the top of the app. It doesn't actually take you to that story, as such, but instead it moves that story to the top of the feed.

    • Avatar

      158

      In reply to AliMaggs:

      This! There is always one news that is picked as the first one and the second one right beside (desktop) or beneath (mobile) is the one you have seen on the Tile while clicking it. You can test this easily by clicking the Tile with different news on it and the second news on the main page will change accordingly. For me, this is a real improvement to the news app.

  7. Avatar

    6972

    I guess we could say it's a step toward interactive tiles.

  8. Avatar

    5842

    Bad name. I thought that chaseable means that one cannot catch the tile. This is happening to me on Windows mobile if I try to put tile inside of the folder. Folder just runs away as if being chased by another tile.

    Anyway, tiles need some updating. News tiles could have expiration timeouts on them. Actually most tiles that show live data should have expiration times. Two day old forecast for yesterday is useless today. News story that was refreshed an hour ago could be useless now. Stock ticker that is half day old during trading is irrelevant as well.

     

  9. Avatar

    1445

    In reply to RedSign:

    This doesn't seem to work for me either as whatever news the MSN News tile is currently displaying it always opens with the same two news articles at the top. Two are on the tile in it's rotation but I can't find the others in the app. There have been times when a news article has popped up on the tile which has sounded interesting but then when I open the app I can't find the article anywhere!

    The mail app just displays the logo no matter how big the tile is too.

  10. Avatar

    8444

    I have been having unreliable live tiles since Windows 8 and just like you point out, it still isn't fixed yet. 

    So I tried using the apps, live tiles, edge and cortana notifications but after 2 weeks I reverted back to chrome and JasonSavard his amazing chrome extensions. Much more reliable and also with actionable customisable notifications with image support. I even donated to the guy because they are rock solid.

    I always have a browser running so it always works. Unless I am gaming, but then I don't want notifications and mails anyway. And since Edge is a unreliable as the apps I use Chrome again anyway.

  11. Avatar

    5539

    In reply to glenn8878: You do know you can change the size, right? Small would seem to allow about 160 tiles on the desktop start screen, without scrolling. Not enough?

     

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