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How to use emojis as your lock screen background in iOS 16

Really love specific emojis? Show them off in iOS 16.

ios 16 icon with blurred iphone in background
Image: KnowTechie

If there’s an emoji that you can’t get enough of, you can actually use dynamic emojis as your iPhone lock screen in iOS 16.

We bet that if you looked at your iPhone’s emoji list right now, one would stand out to you. Maybe even a few.

Your lock screen will be able to do more than just show emojis, as well. iOS 16 lets you use photos as your lock screen, including Photo Shuffle. You can also add widgets for the weather, your calendar, astronomy, and more.

Today we’re focusing on emojis and how to create a customized wallpaper using them as your lock screen.

How to use emojis as your lock screen background in iOS 16

From Settings

Open the Settings app
ios settings app
Scroll down to Wallpaper and tap on it (skip to step 4)screenshot of ios settings app with the wallpaper option highlighted

From the lock screen

Long press on the lock screen
Tap the blue + button at the bottom right, or swipe left until you see the Add New pagescreenshots showing where to tap to create a new lock screen wallpaper

Now it’s time to customize

Tap on the Emoji button at the top rightscreenshot of ios 16 wallpaper creator with the emoji option highlighted
Choose up to six emoji using the emoji picker, then tap X to close the pickerscreenshot of emoji picker in ios 16
Swipe left or right to cycle between the layout options: Small Grid, Medium Grid, Large Grid, Rings, Spiral.screenshot of ios 16 emoji wallpaper maker showing swipe sideways to change layout
Tap on the three dots at the bottom-right to change the background colorscreenshot of ios 16 emoji wallpaper maker showing the background color picker
Tap on date, time, or the empty widget space if you want to edit thosescreenshot of ios 16 emoji wallpaper maker showing where to tap to add widgets
Tap Done at the top-right once you’re finishedscreenshot of ios 16 emoji wallpaper maker showing the done button at the top right

Now your emoji masterpiece lock screen is active. You can change it at any time by going back to the lock screen and long pressing until the gallery view appears.

What to do if your lock screen wallpaper doesn’t show up

If you’ve done all of this, and can’t see your new emoji-splattered lock screen, here’s what to do. Go to the lock screen, then long press on the lock screen.

That opens up the lock screen gallery view, and you can swipe through the different lock screen wallpapers. When you get to the emoji one, tap on it to select it.

screenshot of how to delete an emoji lock screen wallpaper on ios 16
Image: KnowTechie

You can also remove your lock screen wallpaper from the same gallery view. Long press on the emoji wallpaper and slide your finger up.

💡 Annoyed by the new home screen search button in iOS 16? You’re not alone. Here’s how to zap the iOS 16 search button from existence.

That will move the wallpaper upwards, and uncover a red trash can icon. Tapping that icon will delete the wallpaper.

iOS 16 takes the iPhone to a new level

Before iOS 16, the lock screen on iOS was basically there to keep prying eyes off your stuff. Now you can heavily customize your lock screen, like this emoji-based option.

Thankfully, the process is similar to how you changed wallpapers before iOS 16. If you get lost, just remember to head to Settings and then Wallpapers.

You can also just long-press on the lock screen to make changes, as well.

Now that you know how to put up to six of your favorite emojis onto your lock screen, which ones are you going to use? Will you rotate them, with multiple emoji lock screens to show your mood?

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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