How to Change Your Wallpaper on Your iPhone or iPad: (part of the) Very Beginner Series

** Occasional posts like this one will contain how-tos and/or hints for VERY new users of iPads, iPhones or Kindles. All new users welcome! Non-tech speak, not terribly detailed, just basic device-enhancing goodness. All part of this Very Beginner Series. Please share with anyone you know who is new to one of these devices. (Especially those not-techy friends, parents and (yes) grandparents 🙂 ) **

The “wallpaper” on your device is the term used for the background picture behind all of your icons. It’s a great way to personalize your iPhone or iPad. You can make your wallpaper plain, or choose a photograph. There are apps that allow infinite possibilities to do all sorts of things (Pimp Your Screen is very popular). However, for the purpose of this Very Beginner tutorial, we are going to stick to the basics, setting wallpaper only from those samples that are included on your device or by using your own photographs.

First you need to understand that you have TWO screens to which you can apply the wallpaper of your choice. The “lock screen” and the “home screen”. You need to know the difference between the two so that you can set your choice on the correct screen.

The “lock screen” is the screen that appears when you first ‘wake up’ your iPhone or iPad. This is the screen that you see when you first push your home button and the screen lights up. The slider lock will be at the bottom and the time is at the top. When you set wallpaper for the lock screen, you’ll see it on this page with the slider lock.

The ‘home screen’ is your screen with icons all over it. Actually, you probably have several pages of screens with lots of icons, so whatever you choose for your ‘home screen’ wallpaper will be seen on all your pages with icons.

Now let’s see what comes with your device.

Go to Settings > Wallpaper (your iPad will say Brightness & Wallpaper)

The first thing you will see will be two pictures of the wallpapers on the two screens as they are right now. Lock screen on the left, home screen to the right.

Tap the arrow on the right of those pictures.

You now see Wallpaper as a choice (and your camera roll beneath it).

Tap on Wallpaper.

Now you have a number of choices of some textures, a few flowers, and the iconic earth-from-space.

Touch the picture that you would like to see on either your home screen or on your lock screen. It will pop up large so that you can set it. On the iPad, the choices are above the photo: “Set Lock Screen” or “Set Home Screen” or “Set Both”. Tap your choice…. done!

On the iPhone, once you select the wallpaper you want, it will pop up with a “set” button at the bottom. Tap the “Set” button, and you will get your choices of “Set Lock Screen”, “Set Home Screen” or “Set Both”. Just tap your choice…. done!

Many people choose to use their own photographs as their wallpaper, instead of those that are included in settings. This really makes your device “your own”. You can make the selection by going through the settings, but the easier way is simply to go directly to your photographs.

Tap Photos (the Sunflower icon) and then tap on any photo you choose.

The photo will pop up and fill the screen.

Touch the photo and look for the action box (that little square with the arrow coming out of it). (On the iPad it will be at the top, on the iPhone, at the bottom.)

Tap that action box and a menu will pop up. Notice that one of the choices is “Use As Wallpaper”. That’s what you want to do, so touch “Use As Wallpaper”.

Once you have selected to “Use As Wallpaper”, you’ll see the “Set Lock Screen” or “Set Home Screen” choices. Just tap the one you want….. done!

On the iPhone you will be presented with an extra step. Because of the small screen, you are given the opportunity to move or zoom in to a spot of your photo as you like it. Move it around, put two fingers on it and pull them apart to make the photo larger, move it again. When you like what you see…. touch “Set”. Now you’ll have your choices of lock screen, home screen, or both.

Play with it. Change your wallpapers! It’s easy and quick and quite enjoyable to turn on your device and see your own beloved cat/dog/beau/friend/child/spouse/vacationspot/car/work-of-art/etc. Have fun! : )

7 thoughts on “How to Change Your Wallpaper on Your iPhone or iPad: (part of the) Very Beginner Series

  1. Daniela says:

    I love how much effort you put into your posts and how clear you make the content … even likes of me can follow it! But I do have to say ‘pimp your screen’ is my favourite -:)!

    Thank you my friend,

  2. One of my goals is clarity, so I am very grateful that you can see that in my posts. I want to make things very very clear for new or nearly new users. Thank you so much.

  3. I was extremely grateful to find your post. I was setting up my desktop image on an iPad 2 and was confronted with “Set Lock Screen” or “Set Home Screen” or both, and didn’t know the difference between them. I didn’t want to his anything that said “set lock” without knowing what it is, so I googled my confusion and found many, many pages which supposedly explained the process, but each and every one of them came to the choice between these two and just said to pick one, without explaining the difference! Until I came to yours. So simple an item, too simple for anyone else to explain. Thank you thank you thank you.

  4. Ron says:

    Lots of good info on your site for new users like me. Keep up the good work and keep on using the ‘non tech’ vocabulary for beginners like me.
    I do have a question about using photos as wallpaper. Will the photo automatically ‘fit’? Or will I have to crop or etc to adjust the photo to make it fit the screen?

    • Hi, Ron. So glad you are finding some helpful posts! Yes, your photos will basically fit… however…… you might want to zoom in on a particular portion of a photo for your wallpaper. You don’t have to edit the photo elsewhere. Before you “set” it, just place two fingers on the screen, and pull them apart. You can zoom into portions of the picture that way. When the picture appears exactly as you would like to see it as wallpaper, just hit the “Set” button and you will be all … well…. set! 🙂

  5. Ron says:

    OK…Thanks for the help. …and the quick reply. I have your site bookmarked and I get your email. You always seem to take most of the mysteries out of the ipad for me.
    Keep up the good work & continued success!

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