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How to add multiple wallpapers and change your home screen on iOS 16

One of the most exciting new features in iOS 16 is the ability to customize your lock screen with new animated wallpapers and effects. You can even set up multiple custom lock screens and switch between them on the fly or based on whatever Focus mode you're using.

This extra flexibility is fantastic, but the downside is that with so many options, it can get trickier to figure out how to change your current home screen wallpaper — especially if you want it to be different from whatever you're using on your lock screen.

Difficulty

Easy

Duration

5 minutes

What You Need

  • An iPhone running iOS 16 or later

The good news is that doing this isn't as complicated as it may seem at first glance. Although iOS 16 tries to nudge you toward using matching wallpapers, you can easily override this and use any image in your photo library. Plus, iOS 16 now lets you blur your home screen wallpaper, which is a nice touch if you're having a hard time distinguishing your icons from your background image.

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 in iOS 16.1

With the release of iOS 16.1, Apple has made it easier 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 current 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.

If you're running iOS 16.1 or later, you can swipe between your different wallpaper pairs, or even add a new one from here by tapping the + Add new wallpaper button. If you haven't upgraded to iOS 16.1 yet, this method will only allow you to change the wallpaper for the home screen that's currently active.

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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