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How to create a live wallpaper on iPhone and Android

Ditch the old-timey background.

Android and iPhone with live wallpaper in purple background
Image: KnowTechie

When you look at your phone, one of the first things you see is your wallpaper. So, you might as well choose something visually appealing, right?

Some people prefer simple, unobtrusive backgrounds, while others opt for photos of pets, family members, or celebrities.

But the image is a dying medium. Now, it’s all about video.

If you consider yourself a bit of a modernist—or just like looking at cool stuff—you can ditch that old-still background and set live wallpapers on your iPhone or Android device.

How to set up a live wallpaper on iPhone

iphone 14 in both sizes on purple background
Image: KnowTechie

With iOS 16, Apple removed the live wallpaper feature in favor of a Dynamic Lock Screen. If, however, you’re running an older OS, you should still have the option.

You can set live wallpapers on your iPhone (pre-iOS 16) by following these steps

  1. Launch the Settings app

  2. Select WallpaperiPhone settings with arrow pointing to wallpaper tab

  3. Tap Choose a New WallpaperiPhone with arrow pointing to new wallpaper

  4. Either select Live or scroll down and select Live PhotosiPhone with arrow pointing to live photo tab

  5. Select a live photo, tap Set, and choose either Set Lock Screen, Set Home Screen, or Set Both

Convert TikTok Videos to live photos on iPhone

tiktok logo in 3d
Image: Unsplash

When using a pre-iOS-16 iPhone, you can convert videos from TikTok to Live Photos, which you can then use as wallpapers. The process is swift and simple. Here’s how to do it.

How to convert a TikTok video to a live photo in iOS by following these steps:

  1. Launch the TikTok app and locate the video you want to use
  1. Tap the Share icon
TikTok on iPhone with arrow pointing to share
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Select Live Photo to save the video to your device
TikTok on iPhone with arrow pointing to live photo
Image: KnowTechie

Once you’ve saved the video as a live photo, you can set it as a wallpaper via the Settings app using the standard process.

How to set a live wallpaper on Samsung Galaxy

samsung galaxy s22
Image: KnowTechie

If your Android phone happens to be a Samsung Galaxy, you’re in luck. You can set a live wallpaper without downloading a third-party app.

Here’s how to set live wallpapers on a Samsung Galaxy phone

  1. Launch the Gallery app and select the video you want to use
  1. Tap the More (three dots) button and select Set as wallpaper
Samsung set wallpaper screen
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Select either Lock screen or Call background
Samsung call background screen in purple background
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap the Scissors button to trim the clip if necessary and tap Set… when done
Samsung screen on lock screen wallpaper on a purple background
Image: KnowTechie

How to set a live wallpaper on Android

If you’re using a non-Samsung phone, you’ll need to get a third-party app involved to create a live wallpaper.

Luckily, you have several solutions to choose from. While the process varies between apps, the basic idea is the same.

For example, here’s how to set a live wallpaper using ‘Video to Wallpaper’ for Android:

  1. Download and install Video to Wallpaper from the Google Play Store and launch the app
  1. Tap the Plus (+) button to add a new wallpaper
Video to Wallpaper with arrow pointing to plus tab
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap Choose, select the video you want to convert, rename if necessary, and tap OK
Video to Wallpaper with arrow pointing to Choose tab then to OK tab
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap the wallpaper you want to use and tap Set wallpaper
Video to Wallpaper with arrow pointing to Set Wallpaper
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Select either Home screen or Home screen and lock screen
Video to Wallpaper with arrow pointing to Home screen
Image: KnowTechie

That’s it. Your wallpaper is now live. Note that the free version of Video to Wallpaper will only let you save one wallpaper at a time.

You can either delete your wallpaper when you want to set a new one or pay to upgrade the app.

While Video to Wallpaper is super simple to use, other free apps may offer more freedom and flexibility.

What are the downsides of using live wallpapers?

While live wallpapers may be nice to look at—or horrific, depending on the content—they don’t come without a cost.

Continually running a video in the background of your phone can quickly drain your battery and affect overall performance.

If you set a live wallpaper and notice serious battery drain or clunky performance, it may be time to switch back to an antiquated still image and save yourself the trouble.

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