How to Make and Securely Customize Live Wallpapers on Mobile Devices

Live wallpapers have exploded in popularity over recent years among smartphone owners looking to inject more personality and visual flair into their mobile devices.

Unlike static background images, live wallpapers feature embedded animations, video, or even interactivity that bring your smartphone to life.

But with the growing usage of animated wallpapers comes an increasing need for security diligence as well. From malware hidden in live wallpaper apps to privacy violations, there are risks to be aware of.

In this comprehensive guide, we provide an overview of live wallpaper technology and best practices around securely creating and customizing your own animated backgrounds:

The Rise of Live Wallpapers

First popularized on Android over a decade ago, live wallpapers are now supported on iPhone as well. They allow moving backgrounds that react to user input:

Live Wallpaper Example

Recent research shows that over 30% of smartphone owners under 30 now use live wallpapers, indicative of the growing adoption:

Age Group % Using Live Wallpapers
18-29 32%
30-44 23%
45-60 19%
60+ 11%

And the market is forecasted to expand at a CAGR of 4.3% through 2025.

But what‘s behind this rapid growth? There are a few key driving factors:

  • Customization: Live wallpapers allow for more personalization
  • Visual Appeal: Animations and motion grab attention
  • Interactivity: Responding to touch input is satisfying

However, while live wallpapers provide fantastic visualization, they can pose cybersecurity and privacy risks if proper precautions aren‘t taken.

Overview of Live Wallpaper Tech

Before diving into creation methods, let‘s briefly explain how live wallpapers actually work under the hood.

Live wallpapers leverage animation and video playback capabilities built into mobile operating systems.

On Android, wallpapers can be set to utilize a backend service that renders 2D/3D graphics and video. This animation runs efficiently in a low-priority background process.

On iPhone, Apple utilizes its Live Photos technology – short video clips tied to photos in the camera app – to enable animated wallpaper backgrounds.

iOS actually trailed far behind Android with native live wallpaper support up until recently. Android offers far more robust capabilities in this area (more on that later!)

Now let‘s explore options for crafting your own live wallpapers for both major mobile OSes.

Creating Live Wallpapers on iPhone

iOS provides iPhone users with a couple approaches for setting animated wallpapers:

Leverage Live Photos

Live Photos burst small video clips along with photos taken using compatible iPhone models.

You can set these as wallpaper simply by:

  1. Opening the Settings apps
  2. Tapping Choose a New Wallpaper
  3. Selecting a Live photo from your camera roll
  4. Choosing to Set as your wallpaper

"While practical for quick personalization, Live Photos have significant limitations in length and format that restrict creativity"

However, Live Photos wallpapers have some frustrating constraints:

  • Brief length of typically less than 7 seconds
  • Lack advanced customization options
  • Restrictive aspect ratio/formatting

Due to these limitations, third-party iOS apps unlock far more live wallpaper potential.

Use Third-Party Live Wallpaper Apps

Specialized live wallpaper maker apps provide iPhone owners with vastly expanded options for video formats, length, effects, and customization settings.

Top picks include:

  • intoLive
  • Lively Wallpaper
  • Live Wallpapers

For example, to create an animated wallpaper with intoLive:

  1. Import any longer video from your camera roll
  2. Customize playback settings to meet your needs
  3. Save and set the resulting live video as your wallpaper

These third-party apps add capabilities more on par with Android‘s live wallpaper support. But as we‘ll discuss next, additional security considerations come into play when going outside Apple‘s ecosystem.

Creating Live Wallpapers on Android

Given its early focus in this area, Android offers iPhone users far more native support for animated wallpapers. Let‘s explore your options.

Use Built-In Live Wallpaper Library

All Android devices ship with an included set of live wallpaper options via the native Settings menus:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Choose Display
  3. Select Live Wallpapers to peruse built-in selections

However, Android‘s native live wallpaper collection tends to be limited to around just 20-30 choices.

If you want more variety, third-party apps are the way to go.

Convert Video Files to Live Wallpapers

Just like on iOS, dedicated Android live wallpaper maker apps enable converting personal videos into animated backgrounds.

Benefits include:

  • Use any video source – camera roll, cloud storage, etc.
  • Unlimited length for extended animations
  • Additional effects and customization

Top Android picks include:

  • Video Live Wallpaper
  • GIF Live Wallpaper
  • My Live Wallpapers

As an example, Video Live Wallpaper Maker allows:

  1. Importing any MP4 video
  2. Preview customization options
  3. Saving the resulting live wallpaper

Longer videos with augmented effects really shine using these apps vs Android‘s default options.

Convert GIFs into Live Wallpapers

Another approach is to set an animated GIF file as a live background:

  1. Download or create a high-quality GIF
  2. Set it as a wallpaper through Android‘s settings
  3. Enjoy the looping animation!

While GIFs work OK, they lack the same degree of wallpaper optimization around performance compared to apps that convert full videos.

Generate 3D & Interactive Live Wallpapers

Lastly, some apps specialize in creating next-level 3D and touch-interactive live wallpapers:

3D Live Wallpaper Example

  • 3D Waterfall Wallpaper – Beautiful waterfall simulation
  • Forest Live Wallpaper – Flowers and trees sway when touched
  • Koi Pond Live Wallpaper – Physics-based fish behavior

These apps generate super immersive living backgrounds by utilizing OpenGL and other graphics optimizations. They take customization much further for those seeking next-level personalization.

Live Wallpaper Security & Privacy Best Practices

Live wallpaper apps provide awesome visualization opportunities. However, if you aren‘t careful regarding security, problems can arise:

  • Malware infections hiding within innocent-seeming wallpaper apps
  • Spyware violations covertly extracting data from your device
  • Performance issues caused by inefficient animations

Here are some best practices to follow:

  • Only download live wallpaper apps from official app stores like the App Store or Google Play
  • Check app ratings/reviews and developer reputation before installing
  • Monitor battery usage and phone performance for abnormal lag/slowdowns
  • Fully uninstall live wallpaper apps you aren‘t actively using
  • Run occasional anti-malware scans using quality cybersecurity software

Stay diligent, stick to highly rated apps, and refrain from third-party APK sideloading from questionable sites and creators.

Customizing Your Live Wallpapers Like a Pro

The ability to deeply customize live wallpapers is a major appeal for personalization enthusiasts.

Let‘s overview some top settings and tweaks for getting your animated backgrounds finely tuned:


Scale your live wallpaper correctly across different iPhone and Android models.

Aspect Ratio

Adjust for modern 18:9, 19:9, or even 21:9 screen types.


Overlay trippy effects like mirroring, saturation shifts, etc.

Playback Speed

Accelerate or slow down animations.


Add supporting soundtracks or effects.

Experiment liberally while previewing to achieve your perfect vision! Saving versions along the way preserves milestone designs.


We‘ve covered a full set of techniques enabling you to build captivating live wallpapers for your smartphone.

While iOS offers basic live photo support, dedicated apps provide vastly greater customization power and versatility for iPhone owners by unlocking full video.

Comparatively, Android offers very extensive native tools given years of early optimization. Converting videos using specialized apps expands possibilities further still.

Just remember security and privacy consciousness while indulging your personalization appetites. Avoid shady apps, monitor for odd performance patterns, run anti-malware routinely, and fully delete unused LWPs.

Follow these best practices while utilizing live wallpapers and your mobile makeover endeavors will be smooth sailing! We can‘t wait to see all the awesome animated backgrounds you create.