The Best Free Wallpaper for Your Android Device

Give your smartphone screen some love

Your smartphone and tablet begin life as a blank canvas. That is, until you set up your device, download apps, and customize your home screens. Part of customizing your phone is to play with the background. Thankfully, you don't have to spend money to dress up your screen. Here are a few easy and free ways to customize your Android device with fun, colorful, and interesting wallpaper.

Google Wallpapers




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  • Zedge
  • Backgrounds HD
  • Cool Wallpapers HD
  • 500 Firepaper
  • Tapet
  • Waterfall Live Wallpaper

Find Free Downloads

You can find interesting backgrounds for your smartphone or tablet easily. There are a lot of free wallpaper downloads available, including from Android Central, which has more than 2,000 designs to choose from. also offers free artwork for download. Flickr and Google Plus are also good resources for quality images; just be aware of copyright issues.

You can also use free apps, such as Zedge (which also offers ringtones), Backgrounds HD (an Editors' Choice on Google Play), and Cool Wallpapers HD

Of course, you might get bored staring at the same old background every day. 500 Firepaper offers a library of photographs with a twist: you can cycle through different images, rather than choosing just one. For example, you can even set the app to change the background every time you unlock your phone. 

Tapet generates wallpaper based on your color and pattern preferences, and you can also set up the app so that it changes your background daily, or even hourly. Muzei can cycle through its large collection of artwork or your own photos. It also includes a watch face for Wear OS (formerly Android Wear), so you can match up your smartwatch with your phone.

Use Your Own Photos

Getty Images

Your smartphone has a camera, so why not use your own shots to decorate your screen? Just long press on your smartphone screen, choose wallpapers, From Gallery, and then choose your favorite photo. From here, you can also customize your lock screen. You can choose a different image for each, or match up your wallpaper and lock screen. It may take a few tries to find the right image that looks just right on your screen and doesn't obscure your app shortcuts. Be sure to use a good quality image that isn't unintentionally blurry or blown out. Keep it simple. My current background is a picture I took this fall of rocks piled up on the shore of a creek; I find images of objects make better backgrounds than portraits.

Look Alive!

Getty Images

If still photos aren't enough for you, try out some live wallpaper. For example, the Waterfall Live Wallpaper app, offers moving photos of waterfalls from around the world. Not into waterfalls? Not to worry, you can find live wallpaper with dolphins, butterflies, birds, fish, you name it. Live wallpapers will affect battery life, though. You may want to disable it in a battery emergency.

HPSTR uses images from outside sources including 500px, Reddit, and Unsplash and adds effects, shapes, and filters on top of those images for the "hipster" affect. You can set it to change the wallpaper randomly. Muzei cycles through various artwork in its library or your own images.