How to Change the Wallpaper on Your iPhone & iPad (iOS 16)

What To Know

  • Wallpaper options have changed with iOS 16 and iPadOS 16.
  • Apple offers many free iPhone and iPad wallpapers, including the super-cool live Weather & Astronomy wallpapers.
  • To start changing your iPhone or iPad background, open the Settings app, then tap Wallpaper to view the list of options.

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

When changing your Home and Lock screen backgrounds, the sky's the limit, especially with iOS 16 and iPadOS 16. Below, we'll show you how to change your background to one of Apple's free wallpapers or set one of your photos as your device wallpaper. Let's go over how to change the background on your iPhone and iPad. 

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Types of iPhone & iPad Wallpapers

If you want to set the background on your iPhone or iPad, you may be surprised to see how many iPadOS 16 and iOS 16 wallpaper options there are! There are several free iPhone wallpaper options built in, including Weather, Astronomy, Color (for those who don't like busy backgrounds), and even Emoji wallpaper. Apple removed most of its preset Live Wallpapers, but a few free wallpapers still animate, including Weather, Astronomy, and the bubble wallpaper in Collections.

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Note: With iOS 16, Live Photos no longer work as wallpaper. You can choose a Live Photo as your background, but your iPhone or iPad will use the still version of that picture.

How to Change the Background on Your iPhone & iPad (Apple Options)

In the steps below, we'll show you how to view and set one of Apple's fun wallpaper options as your Home Screen, Lock Screen, or both. Here’s how to change the wallpaper on your iPhone; the steps are the same on iPad.

  1. To set a new Apple wallpaper, open the Settings app.

    open settings on iphone or ipad
  2. Tap Wallpaper.

    tap wallpaper in settings
  3. Tap Add New Wallpaper

    tap add new wallpaper
  4. Here you'll see many cool wallpapers, including Suggested Photos, Photo Shuffle (a slideshow of your photos), Weather, Astronomy, Color, Collections, Unity, and emoji wallpaper options.

    cool iphone and ipad wallpaper options
  5. Tap Add once you've found the iPhone background you want to use.

    tap add to choose iphone or ipad background
  6. Tap Set as Wallpaper Pair to use this background as the wallpaper for both Lock and Home Screen. Tap Customize Home Screen if you want to further edit your Home Screen background.

    tap customize home screen for different lock and home screen background
  7. Customize Color, Gradient, and Blur, or tap Photo to use a picture from your Photos Library as your Home Screen background, then tap Done

    customize home screen wallpaper then tap done

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How to Set Picture as Background on iPhone & iPad

Check out our free Tip of the Day for more great tutorials on iPhone and iPad customization. We'll show you how to set a saved photo or downloaded image as your new iPhone or iPad wallpaper. Here's how to set a photo as a background on your Lock Screen or Home Screen.

  1. To change your background photo, open the Photos app.

    ipad and iphone photos app
  2. Select the photo you want to use as your wallpaper and tap the Share icon.

    tap share icon to use photo as iphone or ipad wallpaper
  3. Scroll down and tap Use as Wallpaper.

    tap use as wallpaper to use photo as iphone or ipad wallpaper
  4. Swipe across your screen to view and select a filter option (Natural, Black & White, Duotone, or Color Wash), then tap Done

    choose the appearance of your ipad lock screen background
  5. Tap Set as Wallpaper Pair to use this photo as the wallpaper for both Lock and Home Screen. Tap Customize Home Screen if you want to set a different picture or edit the photo used for your Home Screen background.

    choose set as wallpaper pair or customize home screen
  6. If you selected Customize Home Screen, tap Blur, Color, or Gradient to adjust the color and blurring of the picture you had previously selected. Tap Photo if you want to set a different image as your Home Screen wallpaper.

    customize your Home Screen wallpaper
  7. When you've finished editing your Home Screen background, tap Done

    Tap Done to save your new Home Screen

Pro Tip: If you're searching for a wallpaper with a specific aesthetic or theme (like your dream vacation location), you can search for images on Google, download or screenshot your image, and turn the picture into your wallpaper.

There are many options and room for creativity with Apple's new iPhone and iPad wallpaper features! I recommend trying at least a few to see what you think—you might be surprised! If you love device personalization, you can also learn how to customize your device by creating a Memoji.

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Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.