How to Customize the Home Screen and Wallpaper on Your iPhone


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Erin Lawrence

Personalization was never Apple’s strong suit, especially when it comes to software design and interface. So, for the longest time, changing the wallpaper was as much you could do if you wanted to make your phone feel more like “you.”

iOS 16 aims to change this with its most recent update by relinquishing some degree of control and giving it over to users. This iteration of Apple’s mobile operating system gives us more personalization options to work with. This time around, iOS is letting us change not just the wallpaper but also the fonts and even add widgets on our iPhone home screens.

The only drawback is that changing these items is not the easiest thing to do. So, if you find yourself a little stuck trying to find a way to personalize your phone, here are a few simple steps to get you started:

Changing the Wallpaper (Via the Settings and the Lock Screen Method)

Let’s start with the most basic customization option – changing the wallpaper. With iOS 16, Apple gives us two ways to change the wallpapers: Settings or the Lock Screen.

Here’s how to do it using Settings.

  1. Tap on the Settings icon from your home screen. You can also find this in the App Library if you don’t have it pinned to your home screen.
  2. Scroll down to find the Wallpaper option. 
  3. Scroll to the right and tap on the “+ ” sign to add a new wallpaper to be used on both the lock screen and the home screen.
  4. Choose between six general wallpaper themes that include: Photos, Photo Shuffle, Emoji, Weather, Astronomy, and Color
  5. Find the wallpaper of your choice and tap “Done” at the top right corner of the phone. This should automatically apply the wallpaper to your home screen and lock screen.

Here’s how to do it directly from the lock screen:

  1. Get to the lock screen and unlock your phone via FaceID.
  2. Once unlocked, tap and hold the middle of the screen until you reach the customization screen. If you have some wallpapers previously set up, you should find these options here too.
  3. Select the wallpaper you want or customize a completely new one by tapping “+.”
  4. Pick and choose the wallpaper and tap “Done.” It should become the current home screen when you swipe home.

Customizing Your Chosen Wallpaper

Apple’s doing some A.I. magic on their wallpapers this time around too. If it detects an image in your gallery that’s suitable for a wallpaper, such as a portrait of your pet or significant other, it’ll put these images in a Suggested category at the top of the list.

The A.I. really shines in how it detects the subject of the image and cleverly superimposes it in front of your lock screen clock widget. It’s

You can also apply several quick filters on them, such as:

  • Black and white
  • Duotone
  • Color wash

Customizing the Home Screen Even Further

On older iOS versions, changing the wallpaper and rearranging the app icons on your home screen is pretty much all you can do in terms of software personalization. For the latest iPhones or those upgraded with the latest iOS version, however, you can go deeper in home screen customization.

This time around, you can add widgets directly on the home screen, not just on Apple’s Today View. Want to learn how to do this? Here are the two easy ways:

Method One (Direct from the Home Screen)

  1. Tap and hold on an empty spot on your home screen until the app icons begin to jiggle.
  2. Tap on the “+” sign on the upper left corner of your iPhone, which should give you a list of widgets you can display on your home screen.
  3. Choose between three widget sizes with up to three size options on your home screen. The bigger the widget, the more information it can share.
  4. Drag and drop the widget to where you want it shown on your home screen

Method Two (From the Today View)

  1. From your home screen, swipe to the right to access the Today View. It’s where Apple keeps widgets that it thinks you’ll like.
  2. Tap and hold the widget of your choice, then slide it over to the home screen by dragging it to the right-most edge of your screen.
  3. Drop the widget where you want it and enjoy your new home screen!

Wrapping things up: How to Customize the Home Screen and Wallpaper on Your iPhone

Apple’s pivot on iPhone personalization is a welcome development from the company’s design team. It allows users to express themselves through their iPhones in a way that wasn’t possible before.

It allows you to choose your own wallpaper, apply different filters, and even apply some A.I. tech to bring the subject of your wallpaper into even more focus. Plus, making the widgets available on the home screen itself instead of just on the Today View gives the iPhone another layer of functionality that it didn’t have before. The best part is that all of these options are available to you right now, without having to wait for the next major iOS update.

So, what are you waiting for? Check out these features and start customizing your iPhone experience today!

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