Favorite pets, loved ones, and treasured memories are some of the more common choices for phone wallpapers, but you don’t have to choose just one of those options. One of the more fun features to come out of the smartphone revolution is “live wallpaper” — a wallpaper that’s, you guessed it, alive in some form. Whether this means a fish tank with moving fish, a map that follows your location around, or a glowing neon explosion of color, live wallpapers are eye-catching, stunning, and worth experimenting with.
While most phones now have some live wallpapers built in, there are some excellent options available through a number of apps. While a lot of these may not have been updated recently, they’re still functional, highly rated, and worth your time. Here are the best free live wallpapers for Android.
Have an iPhone? You can get live wallpapers for the iPhone too.
Live wallpapers can be flashy, but they can also be useful. Wall St falls neatly into the latter category and allows you to create a live wallpaper based on your location. Choose the live wallpaper option, and it’ll turn your lock or home screen into a handily updated map — extremely useful if you’re in a new city or unfamiliar location. You can choose between a number of different styles and colors for your map, and if you spring for the Pro version of the app, then you can remove labels from your maps, making them cleaner and sleeker.
This open-source app brings you the original and unreleased Material You wallpapers from the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 6, along with a number of wallpapers from Chrome OS. These soft pastels are calming, quiet, and a far cry from the many loud and neon-dripping wallpaper apps on the Play Store — and would suit someone who wants a more relaxed atmosphere on their phone. Customization and battery saving are strong here, too. Your live wallpaper can react to dark mode and power-saving mode, plus you can fine-tune effects like parallax to your liking. While not the app of choice for those who want strong and vivid wallpapers, Doodle is worth the download to check out.
Most of your phone’s processes hide in the background, but you can bring them to the forefront with this amazing live wallpaper. Device Info R’s live wallpaper displays all your phone’s background stats, including CPU usage, storage level, and even your sensor information. It’s the perfect wallpaper for data geeks, and you can choose between a number of different colors and customize which bits of information are visible to you. It’s a relatively simple live wallpaper compared to some bombastic or showy options, but it’s sure to have some die-hard fans.
Forest Live Wallpaper depicts an animated dense forest set against majestic mountains and boasts a bevy of dynamic features. An intuitive day-night cycle gradually brightens and fades the wallpaper’s colors to match the time of day, and a star-peppered sky appears after dusk. The trees also move as though they’re experiencing wind. While it has stopped providing weather information, it’s still a lovely, inspirational live wallpaper app.
The 4D Live Wallpaper app offers a huge selection of AMOLED 4D backgrounds, HD, and animated live wallpapers complete with 3D, depth effects, and video. Styles range from geometrics to 3D parallax with 4D depth effects visible when you tilt your device to activate its gyroscope or accelerometer motion sensors. Choose from 3D images of superheroes, space, black neon, flaming skulls, and other such dramatic options. There are also puppies, roses, marble patterns, unicorns, glitter, anime, you name it — anything to suit your identity and mood. Updated versions added even more wallpapers.
Lots of us love to watch and listen to the rain on a window, and the renamed Rain Live Wallpaper lets you observe rain against your screen any time you fire up your phone. The live wallpaper, which features high-definition video footage of raindrops on a windowpane, has more to offer than just rain and gray skies. A subtle blur effect prevents the drops from obscuring your shortcuts and widgets, and the wallpaper is optimized to consume minimal resources to preserve your phone’s battery.
If you’ve ever wanted a cat without the hassle of changing litter or stocking your living room with squeak toys, Stalker Cat Live Wallpaper might be your best bet. The live wallpaper features a mischievous, silhouetted black cat that moves around the edges of your screen. It pops up from random locations along the edge of the screen and gets smug if it thinks you haven’t spotted it. Anne Pätzke — the artist behind the wallpaper — has designed the little creature to be subtle and enchanting, and we couldn’t agree more.
Paperland is a beautiful realization of a two-dimensional parchment world. The free version features the themes Beach, Silent Night, Desert Migration, and Grass, each of which comes with the same customizable aesthetics. You can choose a fixed time of day, or let the sun rise and set in sync with the local time. Additional options let you alter specific scenic elements, like tree leaves and the height of various hills, in addition to kinetics like scroll speed. The newest version lets you set your own location for weather reporting and other thematic details.
The Galaxy collection is a robust offering that includes choices like Ice, Inferno, or Vortex Galaxy renditions, though we prefer the Shadow version because it functions as a dark, subtle background. The wallpaper places your device in the middle of a star-emblazoned galaxy, much like a spacecraft surveying the universe. Customizable parameters include the number of stars and the animation speed of celestial bodies, but the defaults are a great place to get started.
If you would love to know when you should get your rain boots ready, find those snowshoes hidden in the back of your closet, or simply slide on your flip-flops, a changing weather wallpaper is an excellent choice. Weather Live presents an updated selection of climate statistics not only from your neighborhood but also from around the globe. You also have the opportunity to designate effects like raindrops, light streaks, and faded colors, enabling your phone to show current conditions correctly. You can even look at the real-time forecast with satellite data, and the built-in algorithms lengthen the battery life.
If you’re an art enthusiast, Muzei Live Wallpaper invigorates your home screen with works of art from famous painters that blend into the background, blurring and dimming to make sure the focus remains on your icons and widgets. Perhaps you’re not a fan of famous paintings. No big deal. The app can also pull your own art and photos to insert as shuffling wallpapers every few hours. The app can also import galleries from other apps that you have downloaded. Muzei now automatically swaps between a bottom navigation when in portrait and a navigation rail alongside the left side of the screen when in landscape
If you’re fond of aquatic creatures, don’t miss Fish Live Wallpaper. Use it to set a beautiful 3D screen where you can observe a vast variety of fish in your own personal aquarium. Watch the fish swim, float, and race. Add flowers, rocks, and mountains to the foreground, and watch animated air bubbles and numerous 3D effects. Check out all kinds of fish species including pearl gourami, goldfish, swordtails, and many more. Best of all, when you tap the fish, they react, giving a fun interactive element that really brings them to life. Recent versions add more fish, improve aquarium design, and work with Android 11.
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