How to change iPhone wallpaper automatically - hero image

Changing the Lock and Home screen wallpapers on your iPhone or iPad requires using the Settings app. Wouldn’t it be great if you could change your wallpaper automatically, with a single tap? With wallpaper automation that’s now available in iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3, you can do just that. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use a custom workflow in Apple’s Shortcuts app to automate changing wallpaper with a single tap of a Home screen icon.

This step-by-step tutorial will teach you how to use a simple third-party script that takes advantage of a new wallpaper automation feature in Apple’s Shortcuts app. This will allow you to change the wallpaper on your iPhone or iPad by simply tapping an icon on your Home screen. If your device is not using iOS 14.3+, the shortcut will do nothing. iOS and iPadOS 14.3 are currently being tested with developers and will release publicly later this year.

This tutorial is based on a video walkthrough from Technical Beardo.

How to change iPhone wallpaper automatically

Before you can have an icon on your Home screen for changing your wallpaper, you’ll need to perform the following actions in this particular order:

Let’s get to it.

Allow untrusted shortcuts

Because we’re using a third-party script for the Shortcuts app rather than one of Apple’s own ones, we first need to allow untrusted shortcuts on your device.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Choose “Shortcuts” from the root list.
  3. Slide the switch next to “Allow Untrusted Shortcuts” to the OFF position.

change iPhone wallpaper automatically - allow untrusted shortcuts

Now the Shortcuts app will allow you to import third-party scripts.

Add wallpapers to a Photos album

Our custom shortcut expects to find wallpaper images in a custom album that we’re going to create in Apple’s stock Photos app.

  1. Open Photos on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Touch “Library” at the bottom.
  3. Hit the “Select” button.
  4. Tap all the images you wish to use as your wallpapers.
  5. Hit the Share icon, then choose “Add to Album” and select your “Wallpaper” album in Photos.

change iPhone wallpaper automatically - Photos app with Wallpaper album

You should now have a brand-new album in Photos, named Wallpaper, containing all the images that you wish to use for wallpaper rotation in our custom shortcut.

Import the shortcut

With the Shortcuts app set to accept untrusted shortcuts and our Wallpaper album ready in Photos, we’ll now import our custom shortcut that does all the magic.

  1. Open the Safari browser on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Using Safari, navigate to this link.
  3. Touch the “Get Shortcut” button.
  4. Scroll down and hit the option “Add Untrusted Shortcut”.

change iPhone wallpaper automatically - Add Untrusted Shortcut

The shortcut will be imported to the My Shortcuts section of the Shortcuts app.

change iPhone wallpaper automatically - the Wallpaper script in the Shortcuts app

Permission to use Photos

Because this is a third-party shortcut, it needs permission to access your Photos library.

  1. Open the Shortcut app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap “My Shortcuts” at the bottom.
  3. In the “My Shortcuts” section, tap three dots in the “Wallpaper” shortcut’s top-right corner.
  4. Tap “Allow Access” at the bottom, right below the message “This shortcut does not have access to your photos,” then hit OK to confirm the operation.

Our custom script is now allowed to access Photos content.

If you see a message at the bottom of the shortcut details screen saying that “this action could not be found in this version of Shortcuts,” along with an “Update Shortcuts” button, you’re using an iOS or iPadOS version that’s older than 14.3 and this script won’t work for you.

Don’t bother tapping the “Update Shortcuts” option because doing so will simply take you to the Software Update screen in Settings. If you’re not on iOS 14.3 or iPadOS 14.3, then you’ll need to wait until Apple releases these software updates for public consumption.

Add the shortcut to the Home screen

Lastly, we will create a Home screen icon for our custom Wallpaper script so that we can run it by tapping the icon instead of having to navigate to it within the Shortcuts app.

  1. Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Touch “My Shortcuts” at the bottom.
  3. Tap and hold the improted Wallpaper shortcut, then choose “Share” from the popup menu.
  4. Select “Add to Home Screen”.

Customize the shortcut’s Home screen icon and name, then tap “Add”.

change iPhone wallpaper automatically - the Wallpaper script icon on the Home Screen

You have now created a Home screen icon for your Wallpaper shortcut.

Use the shortcut

With everything set up and ready to go, we can now use this shortcut. Thanks to the shortcut’s Home screen icon and the changes that Apple has made to the Shortcuts app in iOS and iPadOS 14.3, our shortcut executes silently, without showing you the Shortcuts app first.

So, now every time you tap the Wallpaper icon on your iPhone or iPad’s Home screen, it will change your wallpaper using the images in your Wallpaper album in Photos. That’s also a great way to use iDB’s curated wallpaper collection because now you can simply add any images you like to that Wallpaper album in Photos to have them included in the rotation.

Previously, you had to go to the dedicated Wallpaper section in Settings and hit the option to choose a new wallpaper, then you would navigate your Photos library to find the right image. As you realize, our custom script replaces this multi-step process and is way more elegant.