Where to find great wallpapers to spice up your devices
It’s like redecorating, but for your phone.
The wallpapers you choose for your phone and laptop screens can make a real difference in your user experience, whether you change them every day or once a year. You can opt for subtle gradients to relax you, sweeping landscapes to inspire you, and yes, you can also go for a massive picture of your favorite band.
If you’ve grown tired of your current desktop or home screen background, you can find a huge number of top-quality, high-resolution wallpapers on the web and through apps on your phone—there’s no excuse not to change them.
To switch the wallpaper on a Windows computer, right-click on a blank area of the desktop, then choose Personalize and Background. On macOS, you’ll need to open the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, then Desktop & Screen Saver. On Android, long-press a blank area of the home screen and choose Styles & wallpapers, and on iOS, pick Wallpaper from the Settings app.
Unsplash has made a name for itself by offering an extensive library of high-resolution, royalty-free images that anyone can use. And even if you’re not posting these images on websites and blogs, you can also use them as wallpapers. Unsplash is at its best with landscapes, cityscapes, and nature imagery, but you can also find really good textures and close-up photography. Try a searching for “backgrounds” to get started.
WallpaperStock makes it onto our list for its simple navigation system, its clean interface, and how easy it is to browse images based on resolution (to perfectly fit your screen size) and topic. They don’t have the widest selection, but you can still find some impressive backdrops here—from movies and TV shows to specific car models.
WallpaperStock is free on the web.
DeviantArt is one of the web’s leading places for sharing artwork, and that means there are plenty of options when it comes to wallpapers, too, though not all artists share their creations in high resolution. This is a great first place to look for top-quality digital art for your backdrops, and you’ll be able to find some stunning real-life photography as well. Simply type “wallpapers” in the search box to find collections and groups specifically dedicated to this purpose.
Wallhaven scores highly for its elegant and modern interface—a single click will get you started searching for trending hashtags, popular images, the latest uploads, or even something completely random. The platform is also better than most other sites and apps at getting you straight to some high-quality backdrops. A huge variety of content is available here, too, including sci-fi art, movie stills, panoramic landscapes, video game imagery, cars, and much more.
Wallhaven is free on the web.
If you use an iPhone or an iPad, you should definitely give Vellum a go: All the wallpapers it features are hand-picked by the platform’s curators, so you’re guaranteed top-quality photography and artwork, all perfectly sized and formatted for your device. There’s everything from wildlife shots to eye-catching architecture and abstract shapes, and it’s easy to browse through it all. You can use a standard version or pay $3 if you want to use Vellum without ads.
Vellum is free (or $3) on iOS.
HD Wallpapers has been providing top-quality, high-resolution desktop backdrops for years now, and over that time it’s built up an impressive variety of imagery—mountain ranges, aerial shots, artistic typography, close-ups of objects, abstract shapes and gradients, and more. The site is easy to navigate and the download tool lets you specify an image size to match your specific device.
HD Wallpapers is free on the web.
Abstruct focuses on the creations of just one artist, but that artist is Hampus Olsson—the man responsible for the official backdrops on the OnePlus phones—so you’re guaranteed some beautifully designed wallpapers. The selection is not the biggest (only some 300 images to choose from), but they’re all available in 4K resolution, which will look great if you have a bigger display. Most of the images are free to download, but some collections require the $2 Pro upgrade inside the app.
Abstruct is free (or $2) on Android.
Specifically designed for those who prefer a more minimal feel, Simple Desktop features a curated collection of pictures that use simple shapes and contrasting colors. The search capabilities aren’t the best, but you can browse through the images easily enough and you’ll come across plenty of stunning art. The pictures cover space, nature, gadgets, and characters, as well as abstract artwork.
Simple Desktops is free on the web.
Something a little bit different to end with: Atlas enables you to create wallpapers based on maps of any region around the world, so you can create a backdrop based on your place of birth or your favorite vacation spot. You’ll get to choose from different map styles and colors, and if you pay the $4 in-app upgrade, you can create your own formatting styles. Perhaps the only downside of the Atlas app is that it’s not available for Android devices.
Atlas Wallpaper is free (or $4) on iOS.