How to Use Live Wallpaper on Your iPhone

Never have boring wallpaper again

What to Know

  • Go to Settings Wallpaper Choose a New Wallpaper > Live.
  • To use a custom live wallpaper, select your Live Photos album. When you find a wallpaper you want to use, tap Set.
  • To see the live wallpaper in action on the lock screen, tap and hold the live wallpaper until the image starts moving.

This article explains how to set Live Wallpapers on an iPhone. The instructions in this article apply to iPhone 6S and newer, including the iPhone 12. The iPhone XR and both generations of the iPhone SE don't support Live Wallpaper.

How to Set Dynamic Wallpaper and Live Wallpaper on iPhone

To use Live Wallpapers or Dynamic Wallpapers on your iPhone, just follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings Wallpaper Choose a New Wallpaper.

  2. Tap Dynamic or Live, depending on which kind of wallpaper you want.

    Wallpaper, Choose a New Wallpaper, and Dynamic/Stills/Live in iOS Settings
  3. Get a fullscreen preview of the wallpaper you'd like to see by tapping it. For Live Wallpapers, tap and hold on the screen to see it animate. For Dynamic Wallpapers, just wait and it will animate.

  4. When you've found a wallpaper you want to use, tap Set.

  5. Choose how you'll use the wallpaper by tapping Set Lock Screen, Set Home Screen, or Set Both.

    Dynamic wallpapers, Set, and Set Lock Screen/Home Screen/Both buttons in iOS

How to Use Dynamic Wallpaper and Live Wallpaper on iPhone

Once you've set your new wallpaper, it's easy to see it in action. Here's what to do:

  1. Lock your phone by pressing the on/off button on the top or right side, depending on your model.

  2. Tap the screen or raise the phone to wake it, but don't unlock it. 

  3. What happens next depends on what kind of wallpaper you're using:

    • Dynamic: Don't do anything. The animation simply plays on the Lock or Home screen.
    • Live: On the Lock screen, tap and hold until the image starts moving.
    Three iOS screens showing Dynamic and Live photos on lock screen, and Dynamic photo on Home Screen on iPhone

How to Use Live Photos as Wallpaper

You're not be limited to the Live Wallpapers that come pre-installed on the iPhone. In fact, you can use any Live Photos that are already on your phone as Live Wallpapers.

Of course, this means you need to have a Live Photo already on your phone. Once you've taken some Live Photos, just follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings > Wallpaper > Choose New Wallpaper.

  2. Tap the Live Photos album.

  3. Tap a Live Photo to select it.

  4. Tap Set.

    Live Photos album, Live Photo, Set button in iOS
  5. Tap Set Lock Screen, Set Home Screen, or Set Both, depending on where you want to use the photo.

  6. Go to the Home or Lock screen to view the new wallpaper. Remember, this is Live Wallpaper, so it will only animate on the Lock screen.

Where to Get More Live Wallpaper and Dynamic Wallpaper for iPhone

If you enjoy Live and Dynamic Wallpapers, you may want to get some wallpapers besides than the ones that come pre-loaded on the iPhone.

Live Wallpapers from Live Wallpapers & HD Themes app

If you're a big fan of Dynamic Wallpapers, I have bad news: you can't add your own (without jailbreaking, at least). Apple doesn't allow it. However, if you prefer Live Wallpapers, there are lots of sources of new images, including:

  • Google: Search for something like "iPhone live wallpapers" (or similar terms) and you'll find a ton of sites offering free downloads.
  • Apps: There are a lot of apps in the App Store with tons of free wallpapers. A few to check out include:
  • Live Wallpaper 4K (free, with in-app purchases).
  • Live Wallpapers Now (free, with in-app purchases). 
  • Wallpapers & Themes for Me (free).

You can also create your own video wallpapers using custom videos you record with your phone. That's another great way to customize your phone in a fun, unique way. 

What Are Live Wallpaper and Dynamic Wallpaper, and How Are They Different?

Changing your iPhone wallpaper is a fun and easy way to make your phone reflect your personality and interests. Live Wallpapers and Dynamic Wallpapers both add movement to your iPhone's home screen and lock screen. While both of them deliver eye-catching animations, they're not the same thing. Here's what makes them different:

  • Live Wallpapers: These wallpapers seem like still images until you long-press the screen. When you do this, they come to life and start to move. Live Wallpapers are activated with a long press on the 3D Touch screen (or the models that simulate it in software), so they're only available on the iPhone 6S and newer. The animations for Live Wallpapers only work on the Lock screen. On the Home screen, Live Wallpapers just look like still images.
  • Dynamic Wallpapers: These are more like short video clips that play on a loop. They work on both the Home and Lock screens. They don't require the 3D Touch screen, so you can use them on any iPhone running iOS 7 or newer. Unfortunately, you can't easily add your own Dynamic Wallpapers, as we'll see.
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