Are you bored with your phone’s wallpaper? Freshbacks is a fun and simple app that downloads a pack of ten beautiful wallpapers every day, and randomly rotates them every time you switch your phone on during the day. The basic app is free, too, and it has an innovative two-tier model for getting premium features. We’ve previously covered the wildly popular Wallpbase app, as well as just using your browser to download mobile wallpapers, and those are both still very good options. What Freshbacks adds to the mix is the variety of constantly switching backgrounds.
Let The Images Speak
First things first: As beautiful the app itself may be, it wouldn’t be worth much without good wallpapers. So let’s let the images speak for themselves:
And finally, here’s one landscape piece in its full glory:
This particular piece is entitled Paradise, and it’s by InterfaceLIFT user blues81. All wallpapers on Freshbacks come from InterfaceLIFT, a website which has been on the wallpaper scene for so long we mentioned it in a wallpaper site roundup way back in 2009. The world went mobile since then, but InterfaceLIFT is still going strong, and Freshbacks is one proof. These are just three samples, but most of the wallpapers offered on Freshbacks are as beautiful (though there are a few Apple-specific ones that might seem odd on your Android homescreen).
Getting Started: A Simple Explanation
As simple as Freshbacks is, its developers still decided to throw in an onboarding procedure, just to make sure you know what’s what:
To work, Freshbacks must be set as a live wallpaper. If you’re wary of live wallpapers for fear they will drain your battery, fear not: Freshbacks displays completely static images, so it uses no CPU or GPU resources to render complicated animations.
The Daily Bundle
Every day, at 5am by default, Freshbacks goes online and grabs a fresh pack of ten high-res wallpapers:
It does this even if you don’t open the app – this is just what it looks like from within the app, but it would work all the same even if you did nothing (as long as the live wallpaper was active). If you’re curious about a given image, you can tap it for further information:
This is an important aspect of the app: Every image is fully attributed to its original uploader (who is also, hopefully, its original creator), and you can easily get to their InterfaceLIFT profile right from within Freshbacks. It’s nice to see a wallpaper apps that takes some care in attributing original work – something many wallpaper websites sadly neglect.
Freshbacks Lite: Paying With a Tweet
The basic version of Freshbacks is entirely free, and there’s a Pro version that costs a couple of bucks and unlocks all features. So far, this is standard fare; but Freshbacks also adds a middle tier, Freshbacks Lite:
Freshbacks Lite gives you some of the features you’d get with Pro (but not all), in exchange for sharing the app on two social channels via Android’s native sharing functionality. That latter part – native sharing feature – is important. Freshbacks does not ask for direct access to your Twitter account or any other social media account, and it won’t post anything on your behalf. It just watches as you use Android’s sharing feature twice, and that’s it. Yes, you could cheat by just “sharing” over email to yourself (emailing yourself with a link to the app), but Freshbacks really is good enough to share with your friends – and this enlightened and non-intrusive approach to social sharing should probably be rewarded with some honesty on the part of users.
Of course, you could always just shell out a couple of bucks, which is what I did:
Payment is done via in-app purchase, using Google Play’s built-in mechanism.
What Your Money Buys: Blurring Images
Freshbacks is a relatively generous app in that the free version isn’t severely hobbled. One notable feature you get when you get the paid Pro version is image blurring:
You can pick one of four levels of blurring. I didn’t find the feature very useful, because it’s a global setting – some wallpapers look better when they’re razor-sharp, while others work very well with blurring. Still, like most apps I purchase, for me it’s more about supporting an Android developer who’s adding something nice to the ecosystem.
Here’s what a blurred image looks like, just in case you’re wondering:
A Fun and Simple Way to Enjoy Mobile Wallpapers
Freshbacks gets the job done. It grabs beautiful wallpapers off the Internet and randomly rotates them on your device. It also manages to look good while doing it, fairly credit original creators, and introduce an interesting “social payment” model. All in all, a simple and capable app that deserves some love from the Android community.
Do you have a better way of randomizing wallpapers on your device? Is there anything you’re really missing with Freshbacks? Let me know in the comments.