Look at that phone or tablet in your hand. I bet its screen is gorgeous. Chances are that’s why you’re here, looking for a nice live wallpaper that puts those pixels to good use.
We’ve taken a look at great Android live wallpapers before, but the options have changed over the years. I’ve compiled a list containing 25 of the best options available in the Play Store, organized into categories. Some came out in 2015, while others have been around long enough to see several versions of Android go by. In this case, age doesn’t really matter. Hopefully you walk away with something that makes you smile every time you unlock your phone.
For Material Design fans, Minima is the cream of the crop. Each of this wallpaper’s themes throws together layers of faux paper and fabric that shift around depending on how you move your phone. You can even throw together your own designs.
2) Chrooma Live Wallpaper
The Chrooma live wallpaper (based on a game by the same name) offers a look that’s similar to Minima, but paired down. You can change colors and shapes, but you’re always left with a row of layers stacked on top of each other. Each one subtly moves up and down.
Download: Chrooma Live Wallpaper for Android ($0.99)
3) Mountains Now
Do you lust over the designs that accompany Google Now? Mountains Now takes one of them and sets it in motion. Not only that, the wallpaper adjusts depth using your phone’s gyroscope. It looked great on KitKat, and it looks even better on Lollipop.
Circulux consists entirely of spinning circles. Some are filled, while others are hollow. Some outlines are thick, and others are thin. However the circles come, they’re always spinning. There are numerous designs to choose from, and you can alter colors to suit your tastes.
While you’re hitting up the link below, also check out the Living Colors live wallpaper from the same developer.
Fracta takes one of Android KitKat’s default backgrounds and gives it the live wallpaper treatment. The triangles change colors and shift around. The background even responds to your touch.
SpinIt is what you get when you smash a pinwheel against your display as hard as you can. You could also think of it as combining the spinning of Circulux with the triangles of Fracta. Either way, the end result is delightful.
7) Dragon Strike
Dragons? Check. Castles? Check. Sound effects? Yup, those are here too. Dragon Strike isn’t all that different from firing up a video game and just watching it run. It’s about as intense as live wallpapers get.
8) Sky Islands
The peaceful islands that float across your screen in this live wallpaper might leave you feeling rather serene. Unless, that is, you can’t look at them without longing for an Android port of Skies of Arcadia. In that case, this might not be the best option for you.
9) Stickman Wallpaper
Stickman Wallpaper supplies you with swordsmen, wizards, and unarmed fighters slaying each other across a wide range of landscapes. It also contains space ships and lightsabers, so technically, you could lump it under the next category as well.
10) Pixel Fleet
The 80s could have easily provided you with enough pixelated space ships shooting at one another to last a lifetime. But just in case you haven’t had your fill, Pixel Fleet will unleash a galactic war right on your homescreen. Each ship comes with its own artificial intelligence, and you can tweak which ones get deployed. This way no two battles will be the same.
11) Real Space 3D
Do you spend your days imagining the view from a space colony hovering above the Earth? Save yourself some brainpower (or invigorate it further), by using this 3D rendering as your background. And when you’re ready for another immersive environment, there are a whole lot more from the same developer.
12) Space Colony
Maybe you’re not interested in living life among the stars in a distant future. You’d rather spend your time hovering through an expansive metropolis underneath a foreign starscape. In that case, Space Colony might be the ideal place for your launcher icons to call home.
Download: Space Colony for Android ($1.95 with in-app purchases)
13) Forest HD
Forest HD gives you a chance to walk through the woods every time you unlock your phone, and you don’t even have to pack bug spray. Only these trees come with plenty of options, so you can alter their appearance and the wildlife that passes by them. Yeah, real life doesn’t quite work that way.
Download: Forest HD for Android ($0.99 with in-app purchases)
14) Awesome Land
Take a lone tree standing in a field, give it a gorgeous background, and cover everything with whichever colors leap off your palette first. That’s Awesome Land in a nutshell.
15) Dream Night
To me, a wallpaper like Dream Night, with its dark silhouettes, is an an ideal match for solid black devices like the Nexus 5. The deep blacks blur into the frame of the device and draw your eyes toward each detail.
16) Friendly Bugs
Friendly Bugs was one of my favorite live wallpapers back when I got my first Android tablet, and several years later, I still find its butterflies and ladybugs a cute backdrop for any homescreen. You can also remove the bugs and watch shadows swaying atop the various backgrounds to enjoy nature without the critters.
Again, there are plenty more live wallpapers from Kittehface Software. So check those out if you like what you see.
17) Stalker Cat
Stalker Cat is pretty emo. It’s also very adorable. This creepy kitty will pop out of every corner of your screen and stare at you with weird blue eyes. Sometimes it will react to your touch.
There isn’t much else to the wallpaper, but like Dream Night, I find the animation and deep blacks an ideal match for a phone of the same color.
Download: Stalker Cat for Android (Free with in-app purchases)
18) Three Wise Monkeys
One chimpanzee is plenty fun to watch, but this wallpaper doesn’t stop there. It gives you three fully-rendered apes that change their expressions as you swipe your screen.
Download: Three Wise Monkeys for Android ($0.99)
19) City Bokeh
Do you know those blurry circular lights that pop up during half of Hollywood’s night scenes? This live wallpaper places them on your screen.
Note: the paid version is nearly identical to the free one. Since both lack ads, the latter is largely there just to toss the developer some money.
Paperland is about as charming as they come. This wallpaper features a vibrant town filled with cartoony cars, sailboats, and birds. Whether you’re strolling through the countryside, the suburbs, or a bustling downtown is entirely up to you. And if the name didn’t give it away, everything looks like its made of paper.
This is the same developer that went on to create Minima, and in many ways, it shows.
21) Your City 3D
Your City 3D is a never-ending city that admittedly looks more like an environment from a previous generation of computer generated graphics. Nevertheless, the experience scales nicely to today’s devices and still makes for an engaging live wallpaper.
Muzei blurs backgrounds so that any image looks beautiful behind rows of icons. By default it shuffles through artwork, but you can also have the app flip through your gallery or a designated folder. A quick double tap brings the picture into focus. For many, Muzei is the ideal way to set a picture you’ve taken as your background and still walk away with a cohesive look.
Download: Muzei for Android (Free)
23) Super Clock Wallpaper
Giant homescreen clocks may seem unnecessary when the time is always available in the top right corner, but that hasn’t stopped people from decorating their devices with sizable widgets. Super Clock Wallpaper lets you bake the time directly into the background along with additional information like remaining battery life and your current Wi-Fi network. The app can also swap out the image behind the text to whichever one you prefer.
Also check out WP Clock live wallpaper if you’re intrigued by this concept.
24) Photo Wall FX
The best camera is the one that you have with you. That probably means that it’s also the one that’s lugging around most of your photos. Photo Wall FX (not to be confused with Photo Wall, which does a similar job but hasn’t seen an update since 2013) is a great way for folks who use their smartphone as their primary camera to get a regular look at all the images they’ve snapped.
Download: Photo Wall FX for Android (Free with in-app purchases)
Rather than reliving photos, you can place a video on loop instead. The transition may be jarring once the clip comes to an end, but you could potentially film something that gets around this with enough practice.
There are several other Android apps that let you turn a video into a live wallpaper. Alive Video is one alternative that provides you with clips to use if you don’t want to supply your own.
Download:VideoWall for Android (Free with in-app purchases)
What’s Your Favorite?
Whether we’re trying to make a statement, expressing our interests, amusing ourselves, or simply looking for something that’s easy on the eyes, there are plenty of reasons to put a lot of thought into our Android live wallpapers.
What’s your favorite style? Do you like full 3D environments, lively 2D animations, or something non-distracting? Maybe you prefer apps that automatically cycle through static backgrounds.
We’re all into different things. Share your preference below, and if your favorite isn’t on the list above, don’t hesitate to give it a shout out!