Live wallpapers are exciting, eye-catching and a conversation starter. But what exactly is a live wallpaper? It is a background for your device that seems to be “alive” versus a static, still image. Live wallpapers often feature animations or looping video displayed on your home screen. In addition, some live wallpapers are even interactive, responding to your touch.
Live Wallpapers aren’t new, in fact they stretch all the way back to Android 2.1 Eclair, which was released eight years ago! Unfortunately, live wallpapers suffered from a bit of a bad rap. They had a reputation for being resource intensive and battery hogs. Furthermore, most early live wallpapers were pretty primitive. That being said, Android has come a long way in eight years, and live wallpapers have evolved to be more complex and more efficient. The icing on the cake? They’re incredibly cool.
How to Set Live Wallpapers
Once you’ve downloaded and installed a live wallpaper, you’ll have to set it as your default wallpaper. You set a live wallpaper in the exact same way as you would any other wallpaper.
- Tap and hold on any blank spot on your homescreen until a menu appears.
- Tap on “Wallpaper” and then “Live Wallpaper.” (depending on your device, you may just have to keep scrolling to see the live wallpapers you have installed.)
- Select the live wallpaper of your choice.
- Tap on the gear icon to adjust the live wallpaper’s settings. What settings you’ll be able to change depend on the individual wallpaper. This could be things like the speed or color of the animations.
- Once you have configured the live wallpaper to your taste, simply tap “set as wallpaper.”
Here are some of the best free, beautiful Android live wallpaper apps.
1. Magic Particles
Magic Particles is an impressive live wallpaper featuring brilliant, shimmering particle effects that emanate from the tip of your finger. The particles follow your finger as you maneuver it across the screen. In addition, launching apps or repositioning shortcuts results in a magnificent eye-popping explosion of color! Imagine fireworks going off every time you tap on your screen!
2. Oajoo Device Info
If you’re someone who delights in knowing the ins and outs of your device, Oajoo Device Info is for you. Oajoo presents all of your device’s system information directly from your wallpaper in real time. The specs that it covers include the following:
- Storage space
- RAM usage
- Battery level, temperature and voltage
- CPU load and speed in GHz
- Gyroscope, temperature, pressure and light sensor information
- Detailed information regarding processor cores
- Date and time
If you’re not a fan of the way the Oajoo organizes and presents information, you can try the similar Device Info Live.
3. Raindrops Live Wallpaper 8
There’s just something about staring out a window on a rainy day. If you agree, then Raindrops Live Wallpaper 8 is right up your alley. This live wallpaper transforms your device’s screen into a window pane on a rainy day. Droplets of rain course down your screen without obscuring your app shortcuts or widgets. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or watching lame prank videos on YouTube, you can stare at your phone and do some serious reflection. Raindrops Live is both calming and contemplative; all without infringing on your productivity.
Do you consider yourself to be an 8-bit kind of guy or gal? Are you constantly pining for the days of Nintendo Power? Luckily, Pixelscapes can transport you back to the days of Koopas and warp pipes. Pixelscapes is an animated wallpaper that features three distinct environments all rendered in the pixel art style. The environments automatically scroll across your screen, each one offering a unique experience. Explore the ocean depths, relax by the mountains or catch some sun at the beach, all in glorious 8-bit!
Taking inspiration from the material design of Android Lollipop, Minima is a live wallpaper for all of you minimalists out there. If you’re unfamiliar with material design, it is the layering of geometric shapes. The Minima app takes this simple aesthetic and applies a slew of customization options. For example, tilting your phone can cause the shapes to move with a parallax effect. There are a number of settings to tweak to truly make this wallpaper your own. There is a paid version that gets rid of the ads. It’s only $1, but we recommend you give the free version a spin to see if it’s right for you.
6. Vortex Galaxy
Are you one of those people who likes to marvel at the magnificence of the galaxy or dreams of flying in the galactic nebula just like in those sci-fi movies? If yes, then Vortex Galaxy is the perfect live wallpaper for you.
Once set, you will feel like you are flying and lost in the galaxy. With stars and nebula flying past you, it is truly a beautiful experience and a sight to behold.
With live wallpapers becoming more pleasing to the eye and more efficient, there has never been a better time to try them out. Fortunately, there are many fantastic live wallpaper apps out there for you to try. Which ones are your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
This article was first published in July 2010, and was updated in December 2017.