How to Use Different iPhone Wallpapers for Light and Dark Mode


Setting your iPhone to switch between Light and Dark Mode automatically is a great way to enjoy both display modes while giving your eyes a break at night. But you’re not getting the full experience unless your iPhone wallpaper can switch automatically to match each theme.

You can choose a default iPhone wallpaper that does this, but that’s not your only option. The Shortcuts app opens up even more opportunities, and, for the adventurous, there’s a jailbreak tweak that combines the best of both methods.

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Here are three different ways to set Light and Dark Mode wallpapers on your iPhone.

Choose From Built-in Light and Dark Mode Wallpapers

As of iOS 15.5, iPhones include 23 built-in adaptive wallpapers. iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models feature additional Light and Dark Mode live wallpapers that change automatically to match your device’s appearance.

These color-changing iPhone Stills wallpapers are similar to the dynamic wallpapers on the Mac, albeit less detailed.

How to Use the Built-in Light and Dark iPhone Wallpapers

Although it limits you to the default options, using a built-in option is the easiest way to match your wallpaper to your iPhone’s appearance.


Follow these steps to set a wallpaper that changes with Light and Dark Mode:

  1. Open the Settings app, scroll down to Wallpaper, and tap it.
  2. Then, tap Choose a New Wallpaper.
  3. To select an iPhone Stills wallpaper, choose Stills from the top row of options. Or, if you have a device that supports them, you can choose Live.
  4. Next, look for wallpapers with a thumbnail that’s split to show both light and dark previews. Tap on the wallpaper you want to use.
  5. In the full-screen preview, which will match your iPhone’s current appearance, choose whether you want perspective zoom on or off by tapping the center button at the bottom.
  6. Then, tap Set.
  7. Finally, choose whether you want to use the wallpaper for your Lock Screen, Home Screen, or both.

Disabling Wallpaper Dimming

If you want to enjoy a vibrant iPhone’s Dark Mode wallpaper without your device dimming it, there’s one setting you’ll have to change.

Tap Wallpaper in the Settings app and look below the images for the toggle labeled Dark Appearance Dims Wallpaper.

As the small print explains, this setting will dim the wallpaper according to the ambient light around you. Turning it off ensures that your iPhone’s Dark Mode wallpaper appears at its full, vivid brightness.

Set Custom Light and Dark Mode Wallpapers With Shortcuts

While the built-in wallpapers are nice, you might want to choose your own images for Light and Dark Mode.

Using the Shortcuts app, you can set specific images from Files or Photos as your light and dark wallpapers. Then, you can use an automation to run on a schedule, changing from one iPhone wallpaper for Dark Mode to another for Light Mode. You’ll need to be running iOS 14 or later to use this method.

Learn exactly how to set up the shortcut and automation in our step-by-step guide to changing your iPhone wallpaper on a schedule.


Setting Up Automatic Switching Between Light and Dark Mode

While early versions of the iOS Shortcuts app couldn’t update your iPhone’s appearance while the device was locked, that automation is possible in iOS 15 and later.

That means you have two options for scheduling your iPhone to switch between Light and Dark Mode.

  • Set a schedule for Light and Dark Mode in the Settings app (Shortcuts not required). You’ll have to choose this option if you’re running a version of iOS that’s older than iOS 15.
  • Use personal automations in the Shortcuts app to run the Set Appearance action at specified times. This option isn’t limited to two times; you can create as many time-based personal automations as you want to change your wallpaper throughout the day.

Use a Jailbreak Tweak for Custom Light and Dark Wallpapers

If you’re using a jailbroken iPhone, you can try the DynaWall jailbreak tweak. This $2.79 app lets you choose two images to create a wallpaper that changes to match Light and Dark Mode.

What makes it a jailbreak-only solution? The app installs the custom wallpaper in the Settings app as if it were a built-in wallpaper. The benefit of this is that the wallpaper will adapt any time your iPhone changes appearance—no schedules or automations required.

Of course, this requires you to learn how to jailbreak your iPhone if you haven’t done it already.

Personalize Your iPhone With Adaptive Wallpapers

Your iPhone’s wallpaper is usually a static image. But you can add an entirely new dynamic to your iPhone by setting up its wallpaper to match Light and Dark Mode.

Choose the method that works best for your setup and make your iPhone’s background change with its appearance.

If you want to create an even more dynamic wallpaper experience, try using a Live Photo as a wallpaper.



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