How To: Top 5 Free Wallpaper Apps for Your iPhone

Top 5 Free Wallpaper Apps for Your iPhone

There's a whole world of wallpapers out there. Apple always includes a selection of stock wallpapers, some unique to every iPhone model you have. Of course, sometimes, stock wallpapers don't cut it. Sometimes, you want to add your own style to your home screen and lock screen. In these cases, using an app to find the best wallpapers out there can be just what you need.

Of course, you can always scour the internet for wallpapers. There are subreddits, forums, and communities all dedicated to sharing high-res favorites. But wallpaper apps — good ones, anyway — are always updated and give you easy access to cool, interesting, and fun options.

1. Unsplash

Let's get this out of the way — many of the wallpapers apps you'll find on the App Store are pulling their content from Unsplash, a royalty-free photo service that takes great pride in the images it hosts. Because of how high-quality the photos on its site are, Unsplash makes for a great resource of iPhone wallpapers, for users and wallpaper apps alike.

While there are good wallpaper apps out there that curate some excellent Unsplash wallpapers for your convenience, sometimes there's nothing better than going right to the source. Plus, by cutting out the middleman, you can search Unsplash's entire library, not just the images a particular app thinks are great.

2. Walli

Walli is an app that prides itself on not being Unsplash. Not that Unsplash is a bad service by any means, but Walli believes many apps simply recycle the same style for their wallpaper offerings.

Not Walli. This app works with artists to design wallpapers exclusively for smartphones and devices. That means you're bound to find plenty of wallpapers here you won't see anywhere else. Better yet, you can tap the artist of your selected wallpaper to see all wallpapers of theirs on Walli. It's just another way to find more wallpapers that match your particular style.

3. Vellum

Looking for something a little dramatic? Vellum's selection is comprised of beautifully crafted photographs and artwork, usually with a dark, crisp tone. Vellum pulls images from third-party sources, so you will see Unsplash here. That said, it's only one of many services providing excellent choices to Vellum users.

When you find a photo you like, Vellum gives you the option to blur it, if you'd like your apps to have a more pronounced focus on the home screen. The app is free, but you can pay $1.99 if you'd like to get rid of the ads.

You can even preview what a wallpaper will look like on both a lock screen and home screen without actually having to download it.

4. Atlas

If you have hometown pride, you might want to check out Atlas. The app is unlike any on this list, as it doesn't include a collection of photographs and artwork. Rather, the app generates a map of any town, city, or area of the globe for you to use as a wallpaper. Talk about unique.

You can either enter a location in the search bar, tap the location icon to choose your current location, or pinch and zoom on the map itself to choose your area. Then, you can choose a color scheme for your wallpaper. OLED-based iPhones looks great with black backgrounds and colored lines. The free version does not allow you to choose 3D maps (it's $1.99 for that), but 2D ones look awesome all the same.

5. Patternator

Talk about control. Patternator is a wallpaper app that lets you create patterned wallpapers in a flash. Not only can you use the app's own GIFs and objects to create patterns with, but you can also use your own photos as well. Patternator walks you through how to make cutouts with your images, so you can turn them into unique, one-of-a-kind patterns.

Whether you use your own image or one of Patternator's, the app hands a ton of control over to you. You choose the pattern itself, fine-tune that pattern (e.g., scale, spacing, angle, etc.), change background color, and adjust the color, among many others.

While there are some cool Live Photo features hidden away behind a paywall, the free app still gives you an overwhelming amount of options when it comes to still patterns.

Using one of these excellent wallpaper apps is just one way to customize your iPhone to fit your style. By our count, there are over 100 different methods for you to tinker with your iOS device to make it truly feel like no one else's. Check out our complete guide below to see just how much you can customize your iPhone.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover image and screenshots by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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