How to Set and Use Live Wallpapers on Your iPhone

iPhone X live wallpaper
Apple

Changing your iPhone wallpaper is a fun, easy way to make your phone reflect your personality and interests. But did you know that you're not limited to using only still photos as your Home and Lock Screen wallpapers? With Live Wallpapers and Dynamic Wallpapers, you can add some movement to your phone.

Read on to discover how Live and Dynamic Wallpapers are different, how to use them, where to get them, and more.

01
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The Difference Between Live Wallpapers and Dynamic Wallpapers

live vs dynamic wallpaper on iphone

When it comes to adding movement to your Home and Lock screen wallpapers, you have two options to choose from: Live and Dynamic. While both deliver eye-catching animations, they're not the same thing. Here's what makes them different:

  • Live: These wallpapers seem like still images until you tap and long-press them. Then they come to life and start to move. Because they need the 3D Touch screen to be activated, Live Wallpapers are only available on the iPhone 6S and newer. Another limitation is that the animation only works on the Lock screen. On the Home screen, Live wallpapers just look like still images.
  • Dynamic: These are more like short video clips that play on a loop. They work on both the Home and Lock screens. They also work on any iPhone running iOS 7 or newer; they don't require 3D Touch to activate. Unfortunately, You can't easily add your own Dynamic Wallpapers.
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How to Set Live and Dynamic Wallpapers on the iPhone

live wallpaper on iphone

To use Live or Dynamic Wallpapers on your iPhone, just follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Wallpaper.
  3. Tap  Choose a New Wallpaper.
  4. Tap Dynamic or Live, depending on which kind of wallpaper you want.
  5. Tap one you like to see a fullscreen preview.
  6. For Live Wallpapers, tap and hold on the screen to see it animate. For Dynamic Wallpapers, just wait and it will animate.
  7. Tap Set.
  8. Choose how you'll use the wallpaper by tapping Set Lock Screen, Set Home Screen, or Set Both.
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How To See Live and Dynamic Wallpapers in Action

dynamic wallpaper on iphone

Once you've set your new wallpaper, you'll want to see it in action. Here's how:

  1. Follow the steps above to set a new wallpaper.
  2. Lock your phone by pressing the on/off button on the top or right side, depending on your model.
  3. Tap the screen to wake the phone, but don't unlock it. 
  4. What happens next depends on what kind of wallpaper you're using:
    1. Dynamic: Don't do anything. The animation simply plays on the Lock or Home screen.
    2. Live: On the Lock screen, tap and hold until the image starts moving.
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How to Use Live Photos as Wallpaper

using Live Photos for iPhone wallpaper

Live Wallpapers are just Live Photos used as wallpaper. That means you can easily use any Live Photos already on your iPhone. Of course, this means you need to have a Live Photo already on your phone. Read Everything You Need to Know About iPhone Live Photos to learn more. Then, just follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap ​Wallpaper.
  3. Tap Choose a New Wallpaper.
  4. Tap the Live Photos album.
  5. Tap a Live Photo to select it.
  6. Tap the sharing button (the box with the arrow coming out of it).
  7. Tap Use as Wallpaper.
  8. Tap Set.
  9. Tap Set Lock Screen, Set Home Screen, or Set Both, depending on where you want to use the photo.
  10. Go to the Home or Lock screen to view the new wallpaper. Remember, this is Live Wallpaper, not Dynamic, so it will only animate on the Lock screen.
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Where to Get More Live and Dynamic Wallpapers

Live Wallpapers Now app

If you like the ways that Live and Dynamic Wallpapers add excitement to your iPhone, you may be inspired to find options other than the ones that come pre-loaded on the iPhone.

If you're a big fan of Dynamic Wallpapers, I have bad news: you can't add your own (without jailbreaking, at least). Apple doesn't allow it. However, if you prefer Live Wallpapers, there are lots of sources of new images, including:

  • Google: Search for something like "iphone live wallpapers" (or other, similar terms) and you'll find a ton of sites offering free downloads.
  • Apps: There are a lot of apps in the App Store that deliver tons of free wallpapers. A few to check out include:
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