Every so often as an iPhone user, we get a little bored with the optics of our device and feel the need to give it a fresh coat of paint. Cases and skins aside, the fastest and most immersive option to shake things up visually is to go down the wallpaper path, which we very much love assisting you with here at iDB.
Granted there is no shortage of wallpapers anywhere on the internet, at the same time the ever-growing demand for more has also given rise to a bevy of unusable, flat-out lousy offers. So where to turn to for quality material you ask? We’ve got your back on that, as we have compiled a list of the best wallpaper apps available on the App Store today.
Time to dust off your iPhone’s home screen and live it up in your pocket!
The best wallpaper apps for iPhone
To do the topic full justice and cover all the bases, we have decided to break the winners down into three separate brackets: standard wallpapers, Live Photo wallpapers for animated backdrops, and uniquely themed wallpaper apps. With that, please navigate our list according to your preferences and enjoy our suggestions!
Best apps for standard wallpapers
Vellum – Artistic Wallpapers and Backgrounds
Let’s just say it is not by chance that we’re kicking this list off with Vellum. The app is gorgeous both in terms of presentation and the wallpapers featured. The intuitive controls allow you to preview the Lock and Home screen robed in your wallpaper of choice before downloading, a third option is given to apply a blur filter to the art pieces (conscious choice of words here) if wanted. As far as the interface goes that’s it, Vellum is designed minimalist and even manages to keep pesky ads (which we can’t completely avoid with this genre) to a bare minimum.
The three wallpapers featured above are a just a taste of the stunning and diverse portfolio: the app comprises 18 categories such as From Above, Abstract Paint, Macro Synapse or Infinity & Beyond, each consisting of 20-5o wallpapers per section. If you love Apple’s selection of wallpapers and clamour for more of the same, by all means do start here.
WLPPR – High Res Images for Home and Lock screen
WLPPR presents itself in a similarly refined fashion as Vellum. In addition to the aforementioned preview and blur feature, it adds a bookmarking tab and a thoughtful little text excerpt on each wallpaper, explaining precisely what you are looking at. Upon download, WLPPR provides options to either go with the parallax size image for a tilting background (‘Perspective’ selection in iOS) or normal size image for the still.
What you will notice with this one is the complete absence of ads, made possible by a bunch of in-app purchases. Out of ten wallpaper collections, three can be accessed or unlocked for free (mounting up to 160 wallpapers in total) while another seven are unlocked in exchange for a tip of $0.99 per collection, or $3.99 for the whole set of photos. WLPPR isn’t as widespread with regard to subjects (motif is earth & universe), but to take nothing away from them they are all consistently beautiful.
- Download WLPPR for free ($3.99 in-app purchase)
Everpix – HD Wallpapers and Backgrounds
The Everpix design team definitely err on the side of ‘form follows function’, delivering us an app packed to the rafters with wallpapers (north of 2700 items), even though possibly at the expense of some design choices. That is, the app interface comes across pretty uninspired and bland, i.e. certainly cannot keep up with the previous two listings. But whatever the look, what matters to most is the content, and content we get with Everpix: 20 rubrics filled to the brim, ranging from anime to flowers, nature, space, animals, food, sports, holiday themed wallpapers and much more. Regarding controls, simply pick a category and Everpix will throw you right into the thick of it, supplying one icon to save the wallpaper and one other to favorite it, which is badly needed in an app this rich.
Ad-wise, prepare to encounter the occasional ad pop up between swipes and a minute banner at the bottom of your screen, both of which I did not find to be too distracting while using. That said, if you would rather evade in-app advertisement or want to support the developers, there’s an ad-free pro version available for no more than $0.99 cents as well.
- Download Everpix for free ($0.99 in-app purchase)
Retina Walls – HD Wallpapers & Backgrounds
Before we close this chapter and proceed with moving backgrounds, here’s one more to add to the mix: Retina Walls. Where does it fall on the form versus function scale you ask? By any account somewhere in the middle. The wallpapers are neatly arranged in a chequered view presenting nine images at a time (which makes for faster selection and scrolling). Besides, the perhaps biggest differentiator comes in the shape of a search bar at the top to accelerate your quest. Type cars and the search will immediately yield plenty of motives of such, either in the most recent or also most popular order. Once you have taken a liking to your choice, download, mark or share it in one click.
Ads are again a necessary evil to facilitate the free download, however Retina Walls would not be featured in our list if the amount of ads was anywhere close to a deal breaker. What’s more is that for $2.99, the app can be rid of fluff such as pop-ups appearing post-wallpaper download.
- Download Retina Walls for free ($2.99 in-app purchase)
The best Live Photo wallpaper apps for iPhone
Live Wallpapers for Me
Decent Live Photo wallpaper apps are a little harder to come by – Live Wallpapers for Me is one of the few ones not completely botched by in-app purchases, ads or clunky controls. Mind you there is still a considerable amount of full screen ads, but beggars can famously not be choosers and gripes aside, this one has a solid user interface and a wealth of animated, free wallpapers (aka Live Photos).
Live Wallpapers for Me offers subcategories (Animals, Fire, Nature, Sports, Time-Lapse et cetera) for Live Photos and a tab aggregating the most popular wallpapers at the present time. At $2.99 you can discard ads via in-app purchase or straight away get the premium version, same difference.
- Download Live Wallpapers for Me for free ($2.99 in-app purchase)
Live Wallpapers for iPhone 6s – Free Animated Themes and Custom Dynamic Backgrounds
As the name suggests, this one has not been subject to any developer work or updates in quite a while. Regardless of that – and the incessant ‘Recommend us on Facebook?’ reminders – the app itself is a large, beautiful vessel for Live Photos available at no charge. With 100+ moving images, all of which revolve around real life camera footage, the app with the unimaginative name is pretty good value as soon as you start scratching below the surface.
Live Wallpapers for iPhone 6s, 6s plus & iLive Pro
Similar name, different app (plus updated in 2017), Live Wallpapers for iPhone hosts hundreds of Live Photos from various categories including but not limited to Animals, Celebration, Fire, Flowers, Particles, Space and Timelapse. With the exception of an occasional ad pop-up, the experience is pretty smooth and the Live Photos featured high-quality across the board.
A featured tab can be unlocked via $2 in-app purchase, but chances are you will find enough material in the regular categories to embellish your Home screen at no extra cost.
- Download Live Wallpapers for iphone 6s, 6s plus & iLive Pro for free ($2.99 in-app purchase)
The best genre-specific wallpaper apps for iPhone
Game of Thrones
Not many TV shows (or books for that matter) have managed to create a following as large and passionate as HBO’s GoT, which definitely reflects in the (mostly fan-made) material and content online. A fair chunk of these constitute wallpapers, out in the wild and on the App Store. Picking them apart one by one, here’s three apps you will want to check out on the basis of volume and substance. It goes without saying that all of them include in-app ads and will encourage you to share in order to unlock more wallpapers, but they have a lot to offer by themselves already.
- HD Wallpapers Game of Thrones Edition: free
- HD Wallpapers – Game of Thrones Edition: free
- HD Wallpapers & Backgrounds for Game of Thrones: free
The Walking Dead
Everything just said about Game of Thrones could in effect be copied and pasted here… except Zombies. AMC’s cult show has generated a comparable amount of online content, much to the delight of everyone following the show, reading the comics or doing both. In line with the Game of Thrones criteria, here are the best apps for wallpapers tailored to your iPhone’s Home screen.
Needless to say there are heaps more out there, yet here are three apps tried and trusted for sports themed wallies. Some of these applications unfortunately feature pop-up ads I would label borderline invasive, but if you work your way past them and get to the meat of it, you will be rewarded with decent iPhone backgrounds.
- Sports Wallpapers & Backgrounds HD: free
- Sport Wallpaper Free HD & Retina Images of Basketball, Soccer, Baseball and Others: free
- Basketball Wallpapers-Cool HD Backgrounds of Balls: free
Why is this a thing? We don’t have an answer to that. But since it’s all over the App Store, we might as well close with three of these.
- Pink Wallpapers – Backgrounds & Themes for Girls: free
- Pink Wallpapers & Backgrounds: free
- Pink Wallpaper and Backgrounds Nation – HD Themes: free ($4.99 in-app purchase)
Congrats, you’ve made it to the end of our roundup! As always, please let us know how you liked our recommendations and if you have any favorites we have unjustly skipped, sound off about it in the comments! Other than that, enjoy your new wallpaper choices!