One of the small pleasures of owning a smartphone is being able to install a wallpaper on the home screen and lock screen. With this small act, it makes the phone your own, firmly marking your personality onto it.
You only have to see my current lock screen to see that I am into art, but also that I have a big sense of humor. Put the two interests together and you will get…
If you are a wallpaper junkie like me, you will want to find out where to get your next wallpaper fix (although you probably have some sites of your own). So here are the places I like to look when my screen starts to get too boring.
Please note though that you need to be careful. A lot of the wallpaper sites and apps have NSFW images. So if you are looking at work, be careful about who is behind you pretending to examine the sales report.
Let’s start with a really simple one. Google Images is packed FULL of iPhone wallpapers of all sizes and descriptions. Just enter “iPhone + MODEL + wallpaper” as your search query to see what is available. To save time, you may want to narrow things down by adding keywords.
It is absolutely amazing how many options you can get from Google. You’re cutting out the middle man and going straight to the source.
This site brings together retina-quality wallpapers for the iPhone (3,711 at the time of writing). It includes categories such as Apple (if you want various versions of the Apple logo), science-fiction, movies (Angry Birds!), and many more.
To download, click on the one you want to be taken to its page. Then click again on the wallpaper image to get a direct link to the full-sized version.
This is a site with thousands of images, with over 9,000 for the iPhone 5S alone (my model). If you are desperately holding out with your beloved iPhone 4S, then there are plenty of wallpapers here for you too (over 5,000 at the time of writing). They also have a few thousand options for iPhone 6/6S owners.
Choose from the latest updates, the most popular, or search for your own by keyword. My personal favorite is the Super Mario one (I have found lots of new wallpapers while researching this article).
This definitely has to rank as one of my favorite iPhone wallpaper sites. It has 5,311 wallpapers at the time of writing, and includes sizes for iPhones all the way back to the ancient iPhone 4!
There’s the usual list of categories if you want to narrow things down, browse the Top Wallpapers section, and you can always search for something specific. However if you are reckless and like living life on the edge, there is a Random button. Press this to see what fate/karma has decided you should have on your phone. I decided to go for it and it decided I should have this “I love you, you love me” green bamboo wallpaper.
Another interesting feature (if you have cookies enabled) is the ability save wallpapers on the site. You just click the heart button to save them and create a shortlist of your favorites. However, if you delete your browser cookies at any time, the wallpapers will be lost.
5. Pimp Your Screen ($2.99)
We now turn our attention to wallpaper apps, and the first one is a paid one for $2.99. But it is worth every cent (nearly a 5 star rating in the App Store, with 5,646 ratings). The app gives you a wide range of wallpapers to choose from, and to make it even more sweet, you can use the app on your Apple watch, so it looks just like your iPhone screen.
To find a wallpaper, just flick through them by swiping left and right with your finger. If you see one you like, tap the screen and you will get some fake icons so you can see what the wallpaper would look like on your phone.
If you like it and want it, tap Save and the wallpaper will be saved to your iPhone photo album. From there, you can install the wallpaper (more on that later).
If you don’t find a wallpaper that appeals to you, you can make your own. You are given various elements and you can swipe left and right again to choose which one you want.
So first we can choose the status bar:
Then some shelves for the app icons to sit on:
You can also put some funny icons on the screen, but to me that’s a bit pointless since they will be covered by the app icons! But anyway….
Finally, if you are narcissistic, you can have your face in the background.
When all is fine, tap Save to have your customized wallpaper saved to your iPhone photo roll.
There are many other apps which also offer you wallpapers. Here are a selection — all free!
How to Change Your Wallpaper
If you are know your iPhone inside out, then this section will be needless for you. However, if you have just bought your first iPhone, and you’re still figuring out the whole wallpaper thing, then I thought you might appreciate a quick how-to.
There are two ways to go about it.
Via the Photos App
You’ll need to save an image to your iPhone in order to use it as your wallpaper, in which case it will appear on your Camera Roll via the Photos app.
Launch Photos, tap Albums, then Camera Roll and find the image in question. Tap on the image so it fills the whole screen. On the bottom left is the Share icon (a square with an arrow pointing upwards). Tap on that and you will see your image at the top with a blue arrow on it. Scroll along the bottom white line to the left till you see this:
You will then be asked to position the wallpaper to the correct place, and to decide whether or not this will be the home screen image (behind your app icons), the lock screen image, or both. Make your selections.
Via Your iPhone’s Settings
This is also really easy to do. Launch the Settings app and scroll down until you — you guessed it — Wallpaper.
You will see what your home and lock screen wallpaper is currently set to. You will also see the option to Choose a New Wallpaper. Yes, click on that.
You then have several choices. Scrolling down, you can choose an image from your photo roll. Secondly, you can choose from the pre-installed offerings from Apple. They have two categories: Dynamic and Stills.
Keep in mind that dynamic wallpapers are a real battery drainer, due to the extra work involved in keeping those babies moving. For that reason, I barely use them.
Below these you will see your photos listed, where you can choose from an image you have saved. When you have made your selection, it will ask you to adjust the image’s position and whether you want it on the home screen or lock screen, as per the first method.
Customize Your iPhone
Setting a wallpaper on your smartphone may seem like a simple task to many, but with some many websites and apps available it’s easier than ever to make your phone look better than before. Many of these are loaded with eye candy, no jailbreaking required.
If you are an iPhone owner and you have your own favorite wallpaper sites or apps, then tell us about them in the comments below. Or maybe you don’t believe in wallpapers? If so, tell us why you think so. And if you want the Mona Lisa wallpaper from the start of the article, you can download it here. You’re welcome.
What is your iPhone wallpaper currently set to?