How to Make Custom iPhone Wallpapers (No App Required)

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Changing your iPhone lock screen and home screen wallpaper is probably the most effective way of making your phone look and feel unique. Now you can take your wallpaper to the next level by creating or modifying your own designs in just a few taps—no app required.

Create Your Own iPhone Wallpapers

You can create your own wallpapers using the lock screen gallery. To access the gallery, tap and hold the lock screen to reveal it.

From here, you can tap “Customize” to modify your existing lock screen or tap the plus “+” icon to create a new lock screen.

Customize option on iPhone

Creating a new lock screen will take you straight to the wallpaper picker. You’ll then see a few options at the top of the screen that will allow you to create your own wallpaper:

  • Photos: Pick a photo from your media library, then customize it by swiping left and right to apply different filters.
  • Photo Shuffle: Using shuffle mode, you can choose more than one background image. These photos will then change throughout the day. You can also have your iPhone pick photos for you.
  • Emoji: Pick your favorite emoji, then choose from different patterns and background colors.
  • Weather: The weather option is a dynamic background that changes based on the weather conditions in your area.
  • Astronomy: This dynamic background changes based on the position of the earth, the moon, or the planets in our solar system.
  • Color: Pick a solid color, then swipe left and right to choose different effects like gradients and color intensity.

You can create multiple wallpapers and save them to the lock screen gallery, then switch between them as you please by tapping and holding your lock screen at any time.

Emoji wallpapers

Probably the most fun you can have here is by creating custom emoji and color wallpapers. Creating wallpapers using your own photos is easier using these tools too. There’s no need to edit or apply filters to your photos inside the Photos app first.

Some photos can even be used to create a depth effect that overlays subjects on top of the clock (though getting this to work is a bit hit-and-miss).

Related: Why Is My iPhone Depth Effect Wallpaper Not Working?

Pick From Existing Designs

You can also use the lock screen gallery to pick from existing or featured designs. Take a look at the “Featured”  and “Collections” areas to see some of Apple’s best offerings.

Different wallpaper options in iOS 16

iOS will also put photos in the “Suggested Photos” slider that should work well on a lock screen, many of which are compatible with the depth effect mentioned above.

Remember that if you use widgets on your lock screen, you lose the ability to use the depth effect.

There’s also a huge range of apps in the App Store for creating or downloading custom wallpapers, including, Vellum, Everpix, and Pixs. Unlike those apps, Apple’s built-in options are completely free to use.

Requires iOS 16 or Newer

You can access the new wallpaper creation tools and lock screen gallery using iOS 16. If you don’t see the lock screen gallery when you long-press your lock screen, you might need to update your iPhone to iOS 16.

Learn if your device is compatible with iOS 16 and what else is worth checking out in the September 2022 update.

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