You will agree with me that variety is the spice of life. There are so few things smartphone makers allow users to do to customize the look of the Android and iPhone, so I try whatever I can to give my phone a little extra flair. How do I always manage to make my cell phone look so much better than yours? It’s time to let the cat out of the bag.
I’m a big fan of minimalism, which is probably why I like the look of Android so much in general following Google’s big latest OS (Nougat) releases and Apple’s UI revamp that eliminated skeuomorphism. Beyond the general style of the OS though, that also means that I like to keep things simple with my wallpapers.
Some people like to use photos as their wallpapers and as they say, to each his (or her) own. I have a few issues with using photographs as wallpapers, though, and the biggest is that they’re often too busy and bright. As a result, icons and especially the text beneath them tend to get lost in the fray.
Photos on your lock screen are fine, on the other hand. You’ll still see your baby, or a sports car, or your cat, or whatever else all the time, and the Smartphone’s UI darkens and blurs the lock screen wallpaper anytime notifications are displayed above it. As a result, notification text is still crystal clear regardless of the image shown behind it.
On home screens that’s not the case, so I do the blurring myself. It really couldn’t be easier.
You can use any one of dozens or even hundreds of photo editors to blur images on the iPhone (or on Android, of course), but I use a free app called Gradify. In addition to blurring, it also lets you add patterns or manipulate colors if you want. Android users can try PicSay;
Open the app, load any photo you’d like, and get to work. Once you get the hang of the controls, it typically takes less than 20 seconds to blur an image to your liking and then save it to the camera roll. As an extra step if the photo I start with it particularly bright or colorful, I sometimes also then open it in the Photos app on the iPhone and tweak the saturation or brightness a bit using the built-in editor.
The colors and content of the photo you start with will obviously determine what the end result looks like, so be sure to play with lots of source photos. You’ll find an example below (click to enlarge).
With that out of the way, I think many people have trouble finding high-quality wallpapers to begin with. There are hundreds, even thousands of places to find beautiful wallpapers online, but that may very well be the problem… where does one begin?
Well, I have a number of different resources but my favorite recent one is a single post on Reddit in the comments section of a thread in the iPhone subreddit. In it, a user shared a link to an album of 300 wallpapers he uses on his iPhone. They’re all high-quality, they’re all free, and you’ll find them by following this link.
Here are a few examples of what you can expect: