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iPhone wallpaper need a refresh? These are the 5 best sites to find free options

Justin Malonson



Angela Lang/CNET

We spend so much time looking at our cell phone screens these days, it’s no wonder it’s become so popular to make your iPhone “aesthetic” in iOS 14. Changing your iPhone wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to spruce up your phone and inject some personality into it. And, as silly as it might sound, giving your iPhone a makeover with some new wallpaper (live wallpaper or static), is a small but not insignificant way to get a virtual refresh, akin to that post-spring cleaning feeling.

A phone background could feature cute animals, lovely sunsets, a goofy meme, something related to your favorite fandom and everything in between. You might even liken setting your phone’s wallpaper as the photo of a loved one to keeping their photo in a locket or wallet. 

If you’re bored of your iPhone‘s stock images, here are five places to find some new backgrounds for your phone, and how to change your wallpaper in the first place.

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How to change your wallpaper 

Changing your iPhone’s wallpaper is pretty easy and there’s more than one way to do it. 

1. Go to Settings on your iPhone.

2. Tap Wallpaper.

3. Tap Choose New Wallpaper.

4. Choose an image. Newer iPhones include stock wallpaper that moves as well as regular still Dynamic, Stills, Live or one of your photos. New stock wallpaper often comes with OS updates. 

5. Once you choose an image, you can adjust it to fit the screen how you like.

6. You can choose where you want the wallpaper to appear as well — home screen only, lock screen only or both. 


The iPhone 12 Pro Max has the largest display on an iPhone to date. It also has a revamped camera system.

Patrick Holland/CNET

You can also change your wallpaper directly in the Photos app.

1. Select the image you want from a folder or your camera roll.
2. Tap the share button in the bottom left.
3. Scroll down and choose Use as Wallpaper.
4. Once you choose an image, you can adjust it to fit the screen how you like.
5. You can choose where you want the wallpaper to appear as well — home screen only, lock screen only or both. 

If you’re looking for something new, here are five sites to help you find the perfect iPhone wallpaper for any mood or occasion. 

Read more: iPhone 13 rumors so far: Release date, specs, price and everything else we’re hearing

1. Pexels


A look at one of the stunning free iPhone wallpaper options on Pexels.


The Pexels website has over 1,000 free iPhone backgrounds, and more are added every day. You can scroll for ages through landscapes, fruit, surreal art, cityscapes and more. Simply search iPhone wallpaper on the site and apply any filters you’d like — orientations, sizes and color schemes. It’s free to download images, but if you want to favorite or collect images on the site, you’ll need to create a free account.

When you find an image you like, tap it to view it closer and select Free Download. Pexels will download it directly to your phone — choose Files, and the image should be in Recent. If you like the photographer, Pexel will also provide their Twitter and Instagram information.

Read more: The best ways to sell or trade in your old iPhone for 2021

2. Pixabay


Wallpaper example from Pixabay contributor Candid_Shots.


Pixabay is another option for iPhone wallpaper. Similar to Pexels, simply search iPhone wallpaper in Pixabay to find a background you like. You can also filter photos, vector graphics, illustrations and more. Once you find an image, tap Free Download and choose the dimensions that best fit your phone. 

You can make a free account on the site to favorite images, but it’s not mandatory to download an image. Again, the image should go straight to Files in the Recent folder. Pixabay has a social media feel, and you can check out the photographer’s page to send them a message or follow them. 

3. Unsplash


Wallpaper example from Unsplash contributor Zetong Li.

Zetong Li/Unsplash

Similarly to Pixabay and Pexels, Unsplash has thousands of free images to search for the perfect iPhone wallpaper. The site has an Instagram-like feel where you can follow the photographers and artists, as well as like and collect images. Its more social features like collecting, favoriting and following artists require that you make an account. 

Once you find an image you like, just tap Download and you’ll find the image in your Recent folder. 

4. Pinterest


You can find endless images to use as your phone background on Pinterest. 

Screenshot by Katie Conner/CNET

Pinterest is one of my favorite places to find phone wallpaper that matches my personality. It’s not difficult to become familiar (or obsessed!) with the photo-sharing site. Simply download the free app and make an account — also free. 

Search any image you like — or more specifically iPhone wallpaper — and tap to open it. You’ll see a Read It button (opens corresponding articles that the image appears in) and Save (which lets you “pin” the image to a board.) Tap the three-dot Settings button for more options and choose Download Image. 

If you’d rather not commit to the app, you can open Pinterest in your mobile browser. You can search Pinterest images in Google. Tap on the image from there, tap the three-dot Settings button for more options and choose Download Image. 

5. Tumblr


Tumblr is still a safe space for many internet users as well as an easy place to find iPhone wallpaper.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Remember the blogging site Tumblr? It’s still out there and is a fun place to find new wallpaper for your phone. You’ll need an account to explore the app to the fullest, but like Pinterest, you can search images from Tumblr through Google. To save a photo — in the app or through a Google search — tap the photo and then long-press. You’ll be able to find the new image in your Camera Roll. For dedicated wallpaper, you can search “iPhone Wallpaper.” 

For more, check out the five best emoji keyboards for Android and iOS and everything we know so far about iOS 15.

Rad more: Best iPhone 2021: Apple currently sells 7 different models. Here’s how to pick one

Justin Malonson is a successful author, investigative reporter and the host of the Freedom Not Control Radio Show. As a serial entrepreneur with a strong background in software development Justin is one of the most highly sought-after tech entrepreneurs today.

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