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

Each major operating system has a different procudure for changing the wallpaper. 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.

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. We 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.

How to Set the Windows Desktop Background

In Windows, one of the easiest ways 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.

  1. Locate an image you want to become your wallpaper and open it. (By default, it will open up in Photos.)

  2. 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.

    Windows 10 Photos screenshot.
  3. Alternatively, you can also do similar in File Explorer. Open File Explorer, right-click the image and select Set as desktop background.

    Setting the wallpaper in File Explorer.

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, do the following:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and select Personalize. (Or in the Windows 10 menu, go to Settings > Personalization > Background.)

    • In Windows 8/7/Vista through Control Panel's Personalization applet, and in Windows XP via the Display Control Panel applet.
    Accessing Personalize through the context menu on a Windows desktop.
  2. Under the Background dropdown, select Picture.

    Screenshot of Windows 10 background settings.
  3. You can opt to use a pre-loaded image from Microsoft or select Browse to find a different picture on your hard drive.

    Viewing different background options in Windows 10.

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.

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

Change Mac background picture

Mac users can simply right-click a photo and choose Set 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.

Change desktop background Ubuntu.

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

iOS

Change iPhone wallpaper screenshots

One way to change the wallpaper on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is to 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 Lock Screen or Set Home Screen 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

Change background on Android screenshots

change-background-android-5c362e3fc9e77c000160a2b3.png

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

Blackberry

For BlackBerrys, see How to Change Home Screen, Backgrounds via PCWorld.