How to Change the Wallpaper on Your Computer or Phone

How to change the wallpaper on desktop & mobile devices

Screenshot showing how to change the Windows 8 desktop background
Changing the Windows 8 Desktop Wallpaper.

Changing the wallpaper, or background on your computer, is an easy way to quickly personalize your user experience.

While you can definitely make a wallpaper be an image you already have, see this list of the best free wallpaper sites to download some others. I also keep a list of websites dedicated to free desktop wallpapers of a certain type, like holiday wallpapers, wallpapers for each season (such as Autumn and Spring), beach wallpapers, and more.

Changing the wallpaper is different for each major operating system. Use the instructions below to learn how to make nearly any image your wallpaper whether you have a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, or would like to know how to change the wallpaper on your phone.

How to Set the Windows Desktop Background

In Windows, the simplest way to set a picture as the desktop wallpaper is to save it to your computer and then open it so that you can see the image. From there, right-click or tap-and-hold it to choose either Set as > Set as background or, in older versions of Windows, Set as desktop background.

The above option is most likely only available when viewing the picture in the built-in Windows image viewer, called Photos in newer versions of Windows.

You also see the Set as desktop background option when you right-click (or tap-and-hold) the picture file in File Explorer or Windows Explorer; you don't even have to open the picture to set it as the desktop background.

Another way to change the desktop wallpaper in Windows is to open the Personalize option on the desktop (called Properties in Windows XP). To do this, tap-and-hold or right-click an empty area on the desktop, pick that option from the menu, and then choose a new desktop background image. You can also decide if you want the photo to fit, stretch, or fill the screen, or even for it to be tiled, centered, or spanned across multiple screens.

Some versions of Windows have additional options here, like automatically changing the desktop wallpaper after so-many seconds, which comes in handy if you don't want to settle with just one background.

The same background wallpaper settings just mentioned can be accessed in Windows 10 through the Personalization settings (WIN+X > Settings), in Windows 8/7/Vista through Control Panel's Personalization applet, and in Windows XP via the Display Control Panel applet.

Changing the Wallpaper on Other Devices

Windows, of course, isn't the only operating system that can have its desktop wallpaper customized. Below are some instructions for other devices including how to change it on a wide variety of mobile phones.

macOS & Linux

Mac users can simply right-click a photo and choose Use Image as Desktop Picture. This can be done with photos online or ones saved to your computer.

Another way to change the desktop image on a Mac is to right-click a blank area on the desktop and choose the Change Desktop Background... option. If you use this method, you can also choose some other wallpapers and have all of them cycled through on a schedule.

If you're using a Linux OS, such as Ubuntu, right-click the photo saved to your computer and pick the Set as Wallpaper option from the menu. You can also do this with the image open. Another option is to right-click the desktop and go to Change Desktop Background.

iOS, Android & BlackBerry

If you're using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, first save the image to your phone and then open the Photos app to view it. With the image now open, use the more button on the bottom of the screen to select Use as Wallpaper, and then choose Set to pick whether to use it on your home screen and/or lock screen background.

Images you take with an iOS devices will fit perfectly as the wallpaper image, but there are also websites you can visit that can provide you with perfectly-sized images for the iPhone or iPad wallpaper, like PhoneWalls.

Android users can see this Android Central quick guide for changing the wallpaper. Like iOS devices, there are plenty of free ways to get hundreds of Android wallpapers, such as AndroidWalls.

For BlackBerry's, see How to Change Home Screen, Backgrounds via PCWorld. CrackBerry is a good source for all things BlackBerry related, like their Free Wallpapers section for free BlackBerry backgrounds.