While you might not realize it, you see the wallpaper on your Android smartphone more often than any other image. So it makes sense to be picky about it and change it when you get bored with the old one, when you see something more interesting, or if you just want it to fit your current mood. Did you know there is more than one way to change the wallpaper for both your Home screen and your Lock screen on Android? This tutorial shows you how to change the wallpaper on Android smartphones and tablets, using three different methods:
NOTE: For this tutorial, we used a Samsung A51 running Android 11 and a Google Pixel 4a with Android 12. The steps involved should be similar, even if you have a smartphone from Xiaomi, Asus, Motorola, Nokia, or some other manufacturer. If you do not know your Android version, read How to check the Android version on your smartphone or tablet.
By default, your Android smartphone comes with a collection of images and wallpapers, and some of them can be quite pretty. They also have the advantage of fitting your screen perfectly. Still, you only get a limited number, so no matter how much you like them, you are bound to get bored with them at some point.
Luckily, there are several ways to get new wallpapers on your Android smartphone: you can choose from the photos you've taken, download cool wallpapers, or transfer them from your Windows 10 device via Bluetooth or a USB cable.
There are two types of wallpapers you can use on your Android smartphone:
- Regular wallpapers - photos and still images. Most Android smartphones come with high-resolution screens, so take that into account when you're deciding on a wallpaper image.
- Live wallpapers - animated and sometimes interactive, as they can react to your actions. Some live wallpapers come with their own settings, which let you customize some of their features. You can download live wallpapers from the Play Store and, depending on your phone, you might have a dedicated app or store for themes and wallpapers.
This tutorial focuses on still wallpapers, but you can follow the same instructions to set a previously downloaded Live wallpaper.
The fastest and most straightforward way to change your Android wallpaper is from your smartphone's Home screen. The method varies slightly depending on the device and Android version. Let’s start with Android 11.
Depending on your smartphone, on Android 11 you need to either pinch the screen or tap and hold until the screen changes. In the case of Samsung Galaxy devices, both actions will yield the same result. Now, tap on Wallpapers.
Next, you have three options. You can either choose from the wallpapers that came preinstalled on the device (My wallpapers), browse through the Gallery, or visit the Galaxy Themes store by tapping on Explore more wallpapers.
NOTE: In order to download a wallpaper from the Galaxy Themes store, you need to log in with your Samsung ID. After visiting the store and downloading or buying a wallpaper, you will find it in the My wallpapers section, under Downloaded.
Let’s say you downloaded a wallpaper from the internet using your browser. In this case, or if you took the picture yourself, the image should be in the Gallery section, so tap on it. Next, select the wallpaper you want to put on your Home screen or on your Lock screen. If you select multiple pictures, you can only set them as your Lock screen wallpapers (the phone will alternate between them). Tap Done in the upper right corner of the screen once you’ve selected the desired wallpaper.
Now, all you need to do is select one of the three options, based on where you want to see the image: on the Home screen, on the Lock screen, or in both places. After you select one of the options, you are presented with a preview. Confirm by tapping the button in the lower part of the screen. That’s it!
On Android 12, the procedure is slightly different. Start by tapping and holding on an empty space on the Home screen until a menu appears. Select Wallpaper & style. Next, tap on Change wallpaper.
The selection is simply huge, at least on the Google Pixel smartphones, but if there’s a certain wallpaper that you want and you already downloaded it, you should find it in the My photos section, so tap on that. If the phone asks your permission for the Wallpaper & style app to access the files on your device, tap on Allow.
Now, go to the Downloaded folder if you downloaded the wallpaper, or to the Photos folder if you want to use a picture that you took. Tap on the picture.
In order to choose whether you want to use it as a Home screen or a Lock screen wallpaper, tap any of the two options to see a preview. The actual selection will not be made here, but rather on the next screen, after you tap on the checkmark. Select the option that you want, and the wallpaper is applied.
You can now exit the app by pressing the Back button or by swiping horizontally from either side of the screen.
TIP: Did you know that Google offers a free Wallpapers app for all Android users?
If you don't know exactly what you want, you can look around and set an image as your wallpaper straight from the gallery of your smartphone. The gallery app name and the procedure differ from one smartphone model to another, so let’s first look at the Samsung Galaxy device running Android 11.
On Samsung devices (as on many other smartphones), the photo catalog is simply named Gallery. To access it, either tap on its shortcut on the Home screen or locate and tap on it in the All apps screen.
Browse through the photo gallery until you find the desired wallpaper, and tap on it. Next, tap on the icon with the three dots in the lower-right corner of the screen and select Set as wallpaper.
In the menu, choose the desired option. You can also set the picture as a call background image or as an always-on display wallpaper. Tap on the button in the lower part of the screen to confirm the action. After a few moments, the wallpaper is set.
On Pixel phones, the pictures are managed by Google’s own app, Photos. Open it by accessing the app drawer (swipe up on the screen) and then tapping on its icon. Next, tap on Library, in the lower right corner of the screen. You can now either go to Download, if you downloaded the wallpaper from another source, or to Camera, if you took the picture.
Browse through the pictures, then tap on the desired picture to magnify it. Next, tap on the button with three dots in the upper right corner of the screen.
Scroll right and left through the menu options and tap on Use as. Depending on the apps on your device, you will see multiple options next. To change the Home screen or Lock screen wallpaper, tap on Photos wallpaper.
Preview the screen, then tap on the checkmark. In the menu, choose the option that suits your needs. After a few moments, the picture will be set as wallpaper.
You can also change your wallpaper by opening Android Settings. One way to do it is by opening the All apps screen and then tapping on Settings. On Samsung Galaxy devices running Android 11, tap on Wallpaper in the settings menu. This opens the exact same screen as in method one, so from there you can just follow the procedure described above.
Similarly, on the Pixel 4a running Android 12, in the Settings menu, you can find the same Wallpaper & style app that we described in the first method. Just tap on it and then follow the steps described above.
We get bored easily, so we change our wallpapers often, both on our smartphones and on our Windows devices. We do it based on our moods, our current preferences, and the time of the year, and we also insist on changing them once every few tutorials to make sure you don't get bored with us. 🙂 What about you? How easily do you get bored with your wallpaper(s)? Is there any wallpaper that you absolutely love right now? We are always looking for new ideas and new wallpaper catalogs, so share the coolest wallpapers you found by linking them in a comment below.