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iOS 17: How to add a different home screen wallpaper on your iPhone

One of the most exciting features to arrive in last year's iOS 16 release was a whole new level of customization for your lock screen. Rather than just letting you set a static image, Apple opened the floodgates to allow you to create screens that cycled through collections of your photos of friends, pets, and landscapes, see live weather updates and astronomical conditions, and much more.

The feature remains mostly the same in iOS 17, although Apple made a nice tweak in iOS 17.1 so you can now select any of your albums to show on the Photo Shuffle lock screen rather than being limited to the fixed smart collections of people, pets, nature, and cities. You can also still set up multiple lock screens to cycle through, and that also now means multiple Photo Shuffle screens to choose pictures from different albums. Since these can be set to automatically come up in different Focus modes, you can have your iPhone automatically switch between an album of professional pictures at work and family pics at home.

Difficulty

Easy

Duration

5 minutes

What You Need

  • An iPhone running iOS 16 or iOS 17

While the new StandBy mode in iOS 17 means you may see your lock screen less often when your iPhone is charging, that only engages when you turn your phone sideways. So, you can still leave it upright on the charger and still enjoy your lock screen, which works especially well with the rich, full-color always-on display on Apple's iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Although your home screen still only lets you set a static photo to appear behind your app icons, now you can choose to blur that background or dress it up a bit with some filters. What's even more fun is that your home screen wallpaper is paired with each lock screen you set up, so it changes with each one. By default, you get a blurred version of the corresponding lock screen's image, but you can still set it to any other image in your photo library like before.

Three iPhones showing steps to customize home screen wallpaper from lock screen.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

How to set a custom home screen wallpaper when configuring your lock screen

When you create a new lock screen wallpaper or edit an existing one, your iPhone will offer up a blurred version of the same wallpaper for the background on your home screen. It steers you toward selecting this with a prominent Set as Wallpaper Pair button, but you don't have to accept this by default.

Step 1: From your iPhone's lock screen, press and hold any blank space to open the lock screen picker.

Step 2: Create a new lock screen by selecting the Plus sign in the bottom-right corner.

Step 3: Customize your new lock screen to your liking. See our article on how to customize your iPhone lock screen on iOS 16 for more details on what you can do here.

Step 4: When you're finished, select Add (or Done if you're editing an existing lock screen). A preview of your lock screen and home screen wallpapers appears.

iPhone showing option to customize home screen when setting wallpaper pair from lock screen.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 5: Select Customize home screen to choose a different wallpaper for your home screen. A new home screen wallpaper editing view opens.

Step 6: From the options at the bottom, leave Pair selected (Original on iOS 16.0) to keep the same wallpaper as your lock screen; select Color or Gradient to choose a static background, or choose Photos to select another image from your photo library.

Step 7: The color and gradient options are preset to use a background that matches your lock screen wallpaper. To choose a different color or gradient, select the Color or Gradient button a second time to bring up the color picker.

Three iPhones showing steps to customize home screen wallpaper.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

Step 8: Select Blur to choose whether to blur your home screen wallpaper. This option is only available when using a matching lock screen wallpaper or a custom photo; it won't be active when using a color or gradient since there's nothing to blur in that case.

Step 9: When you've customized your home screen wallpaper to your liking, select Done in the top-right corner.

Three iPhones showing steps to customize home screen wallpaper from the lock screen in iOS 16.1.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

How to change your current home screen wallpaper from the lock screen

Apple made it easier in iOS 16.1 to customize your home screen wallpaper directly from the lock screen without making you go through the lock screen settings first.

Step 1: From your iPhone's lock screen, press and hold any blank space to open the lock screen picker.

Step 2: Swipe left or right to locate the lock screen for which you'd like to edit the corresponding home screen wallpaper.

Step 3: Select the Customize button below the lock screen image.

Step 4: Tap the home screen wallpaper on the right. The home screen wallpaper editing view opens.

Step 5: From the options at the bottom, select Pair (Original on iOS 16.0) to use the same wallpaper as your lock screen, Color or Gradient to choose a static background, or Photos to select a different image from your photo library.

Step 6: If you're using Pair/Original or Photos, you can select Blur to toggle the blurring of the image on your home screen.

Step 7: When finished, select Done to return to the lock screen picker.

Step 8: Select your lock screen of choice to exit the lock screen picker.

Three iPhones showing steps to customize home screen wallpaper from the settings app in iOS 16.1.
Jesse Hollington / Digital Trends

How to change your home screen wallpaper from the Settings app

You can also quickly choose a new home screen wallpaper for your current lock screen in the same way as setting wallpapers in prior versions of iOS. This skips the step of opening the lock screen wallpaper editor and takes you directly to selecting a home screen wallpaper instead.

As long as you're running iOS 16.1 or later (and you really should be by now), you can swipe between your different wallpaper pairs or add a new one by tapping the + Add new wallpaper button.

Step 1: Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

Step 2: Select Wallpaper. A preview of your current lock screen and home screen wallpapers is shown.

Step 3: Select the Customize button on the right, below the home screen wallpaper preview. The home screen wallpaper editing view opens.

Step 4: From the options at the bottom, select Pair (Original on iOS 16.0) to use the same wallpaper as your lock screen, Color or Gradient to choose a static background, or Photos to select an image from your photo library.

Step 5: Select Blur to toggle the blurring of a photo wallpaper.

Step 6: When you're satisfied with your home screen wallpaper, select Done in the top-right corner to save your selections and return to the wallpaper settings.

If you've customized your wallpaper to use a color, gradient, or separate photo and later decide that you want to go back to using the paired wallpaper from your lock screen, repeat the above steps and select the Pair option (or Original on iOS 16.0).

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