How to Make a Live Wallpaper on iPhone and Android: An In-Depth Guide

default image

As a long-time technology enthusiast and data analyst, I wanted to provide the most comprehensive guide possible on creating live wallpapers. These animated backgrounds can really spice up your iPhone or Android home screen. But poor optimization causes many users battery life headaches or performance issues.

By digging deeper into the live wallpaper process for both platforms, I‘ll equip you with expert knowledge to build the perfect animated wallpaper. One that showcases your personal style while avoiding the common pitfalls.

Diving Into the World of Live Wallpapers

Let‘s start by examining what exactly live wallpapers are and their key traits.

A live wallpaper is a dynamic, animated background for your smartphone‘s home screen. It provides visual flair through 2D/3D graphics, videos, scrolling effects, and interactive motions. Live wallpapers bring a playful dynamism compared to static wallpaper images.

Based on my research across user forums and expert analyses, here are the core advantages and disadvantages of live wallpapers:


  • Adds visual excitement and personality to your home screen.
  • Motion effects can be aesthetically pleasing in moderation.
  • Some interactive features react to screen touches or device motion.
  • Constant subtle animation makes the home screen feel "alive".


  • Live wallpaper animations drain battery life much faster than static images.
  • Performance can suffer on low-end phones due to resource usage.
  • Excess motion effects may distract from interface usability and apps.

The consensus is clear – live wallpapers must be used strategically in moderation to maximize their benefits and minimize their downsides. When optimized well, they provide a real opportunity to customize your smartphone with flowing animations.

My own stance is that subtle, efficient live wallpapers can be used to great effect. But resource-intensive ones likely aren‘t worth the tradeoff in battery life or performance.

Now let‘s see how the live wallpaper process compares between iPhones and Android phones.

Activating Live Wallpapers on iPhone

The iPhone keeps things simple by sticking to a single built-in system for live wallpapers – Live Photos.

Live Photos are a special image format introduced in iOS 9. They capture a few seconds of video alongside a primary still image. Any Live Photo can be set as an animated wallpaper.

Here are the straightforward steps to set a Live Photo as your iPhone live wallpaper:

  1. Open the Settings app and select Wallpaper > Choose a New Wallpaper.

  2. In the Wallpaper picker, tap the Live tab to view your available Live Photos.

  3. Pick a Live Photo to preview the animation effect. Take a new Live Photo if you wish.

  4. Tap Set and choose whether to apply it as lock screen, home screen or both wallpapers.

  5. Your new live wallpaper will be set! It animates when you long press the home screen.

Based on my testing, here are some key facts about iPhone live wallpapers:

  • Only works on iPhone 6S or later running at least iOS 9.
  • Drain on system resources and battery life depends on Live Photo length/complexity.
  • Accessibility settings can reduce animation motions for users sensitive to motion.
  • Third-party live wallpaper apps are not feasible due to Apple‘s walled ecosystem.

Overall, iPhones offer seamless live wallpaper integration but little creative freedom. You‘re limited strictly to Live Photos taken using an iPhone.

Android opens up far more possibilities, though the setup process is more complicated…

Activating Live Wallpapers on Android

The Android approach to live wallpapers requires downloading specialized live wallpaper apps from the Google Play Store.

Here is an overview of the process:

  1. Select and install a live wallpaper app from the Play Store. Many options are available.

  2. Open the app and browse available live wallpapers. You can also create custom ones using the app‘s editing tools.

  3. Set your chosen or designed live wallpaper as active through the app or system settings.

  4. Ensure your Android launcher supports live wallpapers. If not, install a compatible launcher.

  5. Your live wallpaper should now display its animations and effects on the home screen.

Based on hands-on testing and researching user reviews, here are the key traits of Android live wallpapers:

  • Live wallpaper apps offer extensive customization tools for animated backgrounds.
  • But this flexibility means more steps compared to iPhone‘s simplicity.
  • Must enable "Live Wallpapers" in Settings first before apps can set them.
  • Live wallpapers may not function or animate correctly on launchers without support.
  • Creative possibilities are endless but live wallpapers can heavily drain battery.

The open Android ecosystem empowers far more innovation and customization with live wallpapers compared to Apple‘s walled garden. But this means the setup process is less straightforward.

Next I‘ll recommend some of my favorite live wallpaper apps for Android that help simplify the process.

Top Live Wallpaper Apps for Android

The Google Play Store offers a myriad of live wallpaper apps for Android. Based on my evaluations, here are 5 top options worth checking out:

1. KLWP Live Wallpaper Maker

KLWP provides a full suite of live wallpaper design tools within an intuitive editor. It makes crafting completely custom animated backgrounds easy. Users can also browse and import shared themes on the KLWP community.

Key Features:

  • Easy-to-use live wallpaper creator with endless design possibilities.
  • Importing shared themes makes getting started fast and simple.
  • Interface flexible enough for both novice and expert users.
  • Integrates well with Android launchers and themes.

KLWP is extremely powerful but does have a learning curve. It best suits users willing to invest time into fully custom live wallpapers. Importing shared themes is a great starting point.

2. Videolive

Videolive efficiently converts any video into a live wallpaper with seamless looping. The tailored editing tools make fine-tuning a breeze.

Key Features:

  • Quickly set any video as a live wallpaper within the app.
  • Additional customization settings provided to adjust speed, crop, colors, etc.
  • Landscape and portrait orientation support.
  • User-friendly editor simplifies crafting professional video live wallpapers.

If you want video-based moving backgrounds, Videolive is one of the most robust choices with an intuitive interface.

3. Animated Video Live Wallpaper

This app focuses specifically on setting animated videos as live wallpapers by handling all needed optimization automatically.

Key Features:

  • Choose any MP4, AVI, MPEG-4, FLV or 3GP video from your library.
  • App automatically adapts videos into optimized live wallpapers.
  • No editing needed – just pick your desired footage.
  • Wide support for common video formats.

The Animated Video Live Wallpaper app provides the easiest way to use your own videos for live backgrounds.

4. Creative Live 3D Wallpapers

Creative Live 3D Wallpapers provides a diverse catalog of animated 3D live wallpapers spanning many visual themes.

Key Features:

  • Huge collection of pre-designed high-quality 3D live wallpapers.
  • Range includes abstract graphics, landscapes, sci-fi, seasonal and more.
  • Adjustable 3D camera perspectives allow graphics to really pop.
  • Easy to customize existing live wallpapers.

It‘s a top choice for eye-catching 3D live wallpapers if you don‘t need full customizability. The selection is limited to additions by the developer, however.

5. Wave Live Wallpaper App

Wave offers a platform to browse, manage and set live wallpapers designed by users worldwide. You can also upload your own creations.

Key Features:

  • Massive catalog of live wallpapers across endless categories submitted by users.
  • Intuitive interface to search, customize and apply live wallpapers.
  • Additional tools provided for editing live wallpapers before setting.
  • Built-in community of live wallpaper creators and appreciators.

The strength of Wave lies in its sizeable user-generated library spanning diverse styles and genres.

Following Live Wallpaper Best Practices

Based on my evaluations, here are some best practices to ensure your live wallpaper looks amazing while avoiding common issues:

  • Pick live wallpapers with shorter lengths – Less animation length means lower resource usage and battery drain.

  • Use a static wallpaper on your lock screen – Prevents heavy battery drain from the live wallpaper animating while the phone is locked.

  • Customize animations to perfectly fit your display size – Stop animations from being cut off or distorted.

  • Lower excessive motion effects – Fixes lag or glitches in live wallpapers that are too complex for your phone‘s hardware.

  • Avoid intensive 3D wallpapers on low-end devices – Opt for simpler 2D animations that are less resource-demanding.

  • Set elements to pause animation when idle – Having animations play only while you‘re looking at the home screen significantly improves battery life.

  • Adjust settings to battery optimization – Most live wallpaper apps provide configurations to extend battery as needed.

  • Keep your collection of live wallpapers fresh – Changing up your live background regularly keeps things exciting.

  • Ensure your live wallpaper complements home screen icons – Pick designs with proper contrast for icon visibility.

Consider all these factors when selecting and customizing a live wallpaper for the best experience. Test different settings tweaks to strike the right balance for your particular smartphone model.

Closing Thoughts on Live Wallpapers

In closing, live wallpapers provide endless opportunities to dress up your smartphone‘s home screen with animated artistry and flair when applied judiciously.

iPhones make the activation process simple through built-in Live Photos support. Yet customization is restricted. For fuller creative freedom on Android, specialized live wallpaper apps enable designing fully unique animated backgrounds.

Careful configuration helps minimize common live wallpaper disadvantages like rapid battery drain or choppy performance. Follow the guidelines and app recommendations here to deck out your iPhone or Android home screen with the perfect customized live wallpaper.

Your lively animated background will bring a smile to your face each time you unlock your phone when properly optimized. Live wallpapers open up worlds of motion and movement that can reflect your personal style.

Written by