It’s rather easy to manually set or change the Lock Screen and Home Screen wallpaper on your iPhone or iPad from the Settings app. If you’re unsure about the exact steps to do this, Apple has an illustrated guide on their website which should be easy to follow.
Currently, Apple provides support for three types of wallpapers on iOS and iPadOS – Stills, Dynamic, and Live. Stills are just regular static images. Dynamic wallpapers are a special set of wallpapers that move slightly based on your device’s orientation. Live wallpapers are short looping videos that play when you tap on them.
When it comes to choosing wallpapers for the Lock Screen and the Home Screen, Apple lets you set custom Still and Live wallpapers using photos from your Photos Library. But, for Dynamic Wallpapers, you’re pretty much stuck with the default set that comes with every version of iOS.
Note: If you’re looking for setting custom wallpapers similar to the ones found under Settings >> Wallpaper >> Dynamic section, it’s not supported on iOS, iPadOS at this moment.
However, there is another type of “Dynamic Wallpaper” that you can now use on your iPhone. With this, you can automatically change your Lock Screen and Home Screen wallpapers based on various conditions, such as the time of day, device battery level, charging enabled, and more.
This type of setup will allow you to cycle multiple wallpapers throughout the day based on the time, similar to Mac’s version of Dynamic Wallpaper. Or simply change the wallpaper when you connect or disconnect the charger, arrive or leave a particular location, etc.
In this article, we’ll explore how to change the Lock Screen and Home Screen wallpapers automatically with conditional automation, hence making it dynamic.
Make dynamic wallpaper on iPhone, iPad that changes automatically
There’s no third-party app to change wallpaper automatically on the iPhone or iPad. Instead, we’ll rely on iOS’s native Shortcuts app, which has proved to be a staple for creating powerful automation on iOS and iPadOS.
Using a specific shortcut and a feature called Personal Automation, you can set your wallpaper to cycle automatically between a predefined set of wallpapers based on particular conditions.
Note: This trick to auto-change wallpaper on iPhone or iPad is dependent on a specific automation feature built within the Shortcuts app, which is currently available in iOS 14.3 Beta. If your device has a previous version of iOS, you might not be able to use this trick.
If your device is running on iOS 14.3 or higher, follow the steps below to set up your own custom dynamic wallpaper for iPhone or iPad that changes automatically.
Step 1: Collect your wallpapers
You can create or download multiple sets of wallpapers that you can cycle between based on different conditions. For example, you can use one set for “Day” wallpapers, while another for “Night”, and you can pick a wallpaper randomly from each set depending on the time of day.
While considering the wallpapers, think about the different conditions which may be used to change your wallpaper. When you have finally picked all the wallpapers you need, import them to the Photos app.
Step 2: Create Album(s) for each wallpaper set
Next, organize your selected wallpapers into groups, depending on what type of condition you want to use to trigger the wallpaper change. In the simplest form, you could pick one group for “Day” wallpapers, one group for “Night”, one for “High Battery”, one for “Low Battery”, and so on.
Go into the Photos app, and create the respective albums for each of the wallpaper groups you have in mind. To do so, go to the Albums tab, tap on the “+” button, choose “New Album”, provide a suitable album name (Title), and tap Save. Choose the Wallpapers that you want to include in this album, and tap “Done”.
Repeat this, for all of the wallpaper groups that you have created.
Step 3: Set up the Wallpaper Shortcut
Next, you need to set up a new shortcut that will change the wallpaper randomly from a predefined set of wallpapers. For this, do the following:
- Go to the Shortcuts app, and tap on “+” in the top-right corner, from the “My Shortcuts” tab.
- On the New Shortcut screen, tap on “Add Action”.
- Search for and select “Find Photos”.
- Tap the “Add Filter” option inside the action and choose the album from which you want to randomly choose a wallpaper.
- Select “Sort By” and choose Random.
- Turn on Limit and set it to Get 1 Item.
- Next, add another action by tapping on the “+” button.
- Search for and select “Set Wallpaper”.
- Optionally, choose if you want to set only the Lock Screen wallpaper, only the Home Screen wallpaper, or both.
- Tap Show More on in the Set Wallpaper action, and disable “Show Preview”.
- Tap on “Next” in the top-right corner, give your shortcut a name, such as “Change Wallpaper”, and select an icon. Tap on “Done” to finish creating the shortcut.
Now, whenever you run this shortcut, it will change your Lock Screen or Home Screen wallpaper (or both) and set it to a random wallpaper selected from your chosen album. You now have to create suitable automation, so that the shortcut runs automatically when a certain condition is met.
Step 4: Set up the conditional automation
To automatically run the “Change Wallpaper” shortcut when a certain condition is met, follow the steps below:
- In the Shortcuts app, go to the “Automation” tab.
- Tap on “Create Personal Automation”.
- Choose a condition type for the new automation. You can pick among “Time of Day”, “Battery Level”, “Charger”, “Airplane Mode”, “Do Not Disturb”, or even some of the location-based automation, like “Arrive”, “Leave”, “Before I Commute”, etc.
- In the Next Screen, set up your automation condition. The screen options will vary depending on the condition type you selected in the previous step. For example, if you select “Charger”, you’ll get conditions such as When Charger “Is Connected” or “Is Disconnected”.
- Tap on “Next” from the top-right corner.
- In the Actions screen, tap “Add Action”.
- Search for and select “Run Shortcut” and choose your “Change Wallpaper” shortcut.
Tap on “Next” and verify the automation you just created.
Disable “Ask Before Running” and tap Don’t Ask in the confirmation prompt.
Finally, click Done to save your Personal Automation.
That’s it! Now, whenever your preset condition is met, such as connecting the charger to your iPhone or iPad, it will automatically set a new Lock Screen or Home Screen wallpaper (or both) from a predefined album within the Photos app.
Note: You can only select one condition per automation, so if you want to target multiple conditions, you need to create multiple automations.
Optional: Hide or disable Notifications from the Shortcuts app
You might notice that the Shortcuts app throws a notification every time it runs your automation. If you find that annoying, you can choose to disable Shortcuts notifications.
We have a dedicated article on how to manage or turn off Shortcuts app notifications by accessing the relatively hidden notification management screen for the Shortcuts app.
Once you’ve disabled notifications for the Shortcuts app, you’ll no longer see notifications whenever your automation runs.
Now you know how to get more dynamic wallpapers for iPhone, iPad, apart from the default set of dynamic wallpapers that Apple ships. If you want to theme your iOS experience beyond automatically setting dynamic wallpapers, check out our other article on how to set custom Home Screen icons for your favorite apps.