How to Set Your iPad's Background Wallpaper

Add style to your iPad with personalized backgrounds

Hands holding and ipad mini on the restart ipad screen
WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

You have options to personalize your iPad including buying a distinctive case and customizing sounds for email and text messages, but by far the easiest way to add some personality to your iPad is to set a custom background image for your lock screen and your home screen.  

You have two ways to do this: choosing the image through the Photos app and using Settings.

Change the iPad Screen Background in Photos

The Photos app provides an easy way to select a background image (called wallpaper) for your lock screen, home screen, or both.

  1. Open the Photos app, and then go to the Albums or Library tab. Tap Camera Roll, and then locate the image you want to use as your background.

    Finding the Camera Roll on iPad
  2. Tap the photo to select it.

  3. With the image selected, tap the Share button at the top of the screen. It's the one that looks like a square with an arrow poking out.

    The Share button on an iPad
  4. Tap Use as Wallpaper.

    The Use as Wallpaper button on an iPad
  5. Move the photo around the screen by dragging it with your finger. You can also use the pinch-to-zoom gesture to zoom in and out of the picture until you get it just right. Tap Perspective Zoom at the bottom of the screen to the On position. This setting causes the photo to move when you move the iPad.

    Perspective Zoom option on an iPad
  6. When you're finished positioning the photo, choose from Set Lock Screen, Set Home Screen, or Set Both

    The Set Screen options on an iPad
  7. Depending on the option you chose, the image will appear as the background on your home screen, the lock screen (which shows up when you first wake up your iPad but before you unlock it), or both.

Change the iPad Screen in Settings

Another way to personalize your background screen wallpaper is through the Settings app. It's not quite as easy as using the Photos app, but it offers you a selection of image stills from Apple and dynamic images that animate your iPad's background.

  1. Open the Settings app.

    The iPad Settings app
  2. Tap Wallpaper.

    The Wallpaper setting on an iPad
  3. Select Choose a New Wallpaper.

    Choose a New Wallpaper setting on iPad
  4. Tap Dynamic to use animated bubbles and select the color of bubbles you prefer by tapping one of the options. Tap Stills to view stock images suitable for wallpaper.

    If you have iCloud Photo Sharing turned on, you can choose a photo from any of your shared photo streams.

    Dynamic and Stills wallpaper options on iPad
  5. After choosing a picture or theme, you can move the image around the screen with your finger or use pinch-to-zoom to zoom in and out of the photo. To set the background, tap Set Lock Screen to see it when you first wake up your iPad, Set Home Screen to make the photo appear underneath your app icons, or Set Both to use the picture as the global background for your iPad.

Now all you need is a great background image. Check out these cool background images, or save a photo from the web to your iPad. You can also do a Google image search for iPad backgrounds.