29 June 2016

Gotcha - changing a HoloLens app’s name as it appears on the tile

I am currently finishing up a nice little demo app for the HoloLens but ran into a weird problem. Originally the app was called ‘Gazer’, as I only wanted to test Gaze Input, but it turned out to become a lot more. So I wanted to call it “CubeBouncer”.

It’s not so hard to do, you got File/Build settings, then go to “Player Settings”, and in the inspector on the right hand side you see a Store logo. Click that, select the Icon tab, and under “Short name” you will see the name that will be displayed on the HoloLens app tile. You can also select on what types of tiles it needs to appear. It quite reflects the Visual Studio UWP Manifest editor, which is logical, as this is what the manifest is generated from.


Build the app by hitting the Build button as usual when you have made changes in Unity, Visual Studio will say the project has changed and prompts to reload it, you build and deploy it to the HoloLens or the emulator, pin your app to the start screen – and you will see nothing has changed. The old name is still displayed.

Turns out that Unity UWP generation is a bit too clever when it comes to generating the UWP – apparently it updates not everything, but only the things that have changed. And I think it fails to take changes into the manifest into account.

The solution is very simple: don’t overwrite the generated UWP app. Close Visual Studio, delete the generated UWP app entirely (warning – only the generated app code, not your entire Unity project), only then hit Build in Unity (you will notice that takes quite a bit longer, as it needs to restore NuGet packages and stuff too), open Visual Studio again and then if you deploy your app to HoloLens, the short name will have changed.

Possibly there are smarter ways to do this, like only deleting the Manifest file – I have not tried this – but this is a sure fire way to fix this. It’s a bit cumbersome, but changing the name of an app or a tile isn’t exactly something you do ten times a day, so it’s not that much of a problem. But it’s a nice gotcha, so I thought it best to document it.

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