Instead of a static image, dynamic wallpapers change throughout the day, with many of them reflecting the time of day. Unfortunately, the number of default dynamic wallpapers is relatively small, so you have to sort through third-party options to find more. Let’s take a look at some of the best websites to download dynamic wallpapers for both your Mac and iPhone.
What Is a Dynamic Wallpaper?
Before jumping into the where, let’s talk about the what. As in, what is a dynamic wallpaper? We can describe it best by examining the three different types:
- Geographic-based wallpapers use your location to change the look of the wallpaper based on the time of the day. If it’s winter, your wallpaper will account for daylight savings and images from later in the day will be played earlier in the evening.
- Time-based dynamic wallpapers are directed by your system clock and change based on how much light is available outside. Early morning and evening? Dark dynamic wallpaper. Middle of the day? Light dynamic wallpaper.
- Light and Dark mode wallpapers are based on whether your macOS or iOS system is using Light or Dark Mode settings.
How to Switch to Default Dynamic Wallpapers
These instructions apply to iPhone 6S and newer models.
iPhone and iPad
- Go to “Settings -> Wallpaper -> Choose a New Wallpaper.”
- Tap on Dynamic (top left) and choose from one of the preinstalled dynamic options.
- Tap “Set” on your selected wallpaper and choose whether you want to add to the Lock Screen and Home Screen (Set Both) or one or the other.
- Click on the Apple logo at the top left of the menu bar and select “System Preferences.”
- Select “Desktop & Screen Saver -> Apple -> Desktop Pictures.”
- Within macOS Monterey, there should be eight total options. The first one (top left) is already downloaded, while the remaining seven wallpapers will need to be installed.
1. 24 Hour Wallpaper (by Jetson Creative)
This one is both a macOS app and a website. Don’t let the website and app confuse you – they both offer the same wallpapers under slightly different names.
On the 24 Hour Wallpaper app, $9.99 will get you 83 dynamic 24-hour wallpapers, each of which comes with 28 to 36 images. If you want to skip the app, you can head to the Jetson Creative website and pick from 32 wallpapers that come with 16 images, each at 5K resolution. Priced at $1.29 each, you can securely pay with AutoPay or pick up all of the 32 desktops at the current sale price of $14.99.
Some of the outstanding options include Joshua Tree, Malibu, Glacier National Park, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo and more. Many of the images are available as fixed camera angles, providing a measure of control so that you can choose whether you want a day or night scene. Whether you choose the app or website, you will find a fantastic choice of dynamic wallpapers available for download.
Separately, Jetson Creative also includes a selection of dynamic wallpapers for iPhone and iPad. There are only eight new wallpapers available, with another four converted from previous default macOS wallpapers. This adds up to 12 total dynamic options.
If you’ve spent any time searching for dynamic wallpapers, Dynwalls may be one of the first you stumbled across for macOS. The site has six free dynamic wallpapers to use, ranging from space-based imagery to cities on Earth.
The creator of the site has a Patreon account they say will allow them to create more wallpapers. If you like what you see on the site, you should consider contributing.
3. Dynamic Wallpaper Club
Dynamic Wallpaper Club is a unique twist on dynamic wallpapers. As these images are user uploaded, you can expect the artist’s unique twist on all images.
You’ll need to do some digging around the gallery, but you will have a wide array of choices for your Mac ranging from real-world photography to artist renditions of video games, cityscapes, animals and more. Of all the dynamic wallpaper websites on this list, there is a goo chance Dynamic Wallpaper Club has the most unique choices if you are looking for something outside of the usual selections.
With just two images available to download, GenoApps is definitely not the strongest source on this list. However, if you are looking for space shots of Earth to add to your Mac, you won’t find anything better.
With two satellite views of earth, both sets of wallpapers are based on American Pacific timing so trying to use this anywhere else in the world might be disappointing. That said, if you must have a beautiful image of planet Earth, both of the available images are more than satisfying.
iPhone owners looking for dynamic wallpapers that are truly unique should look no further than BenVessey.com. Not only are these wallpapers dynamic in that they change based on the time of the day, they are specific to telling you just how full your iPhone battery is.
Using Shortcuts automation, your iPhone lockscreen becomes a giant battery indicator. There are three total sets of dynamic wallpapers in four different packs available for around four dollars.
The final site on this list only has one wallpaper available, but fortunately, it’s a very good one. This comes from a series of articles describing how Apple’s dynamic wallpapers work.
This macOS wallpaper shows a single view of the Earth, beginning in darkness, passing through light, and returning to dark. Yes, it’s another view of the earth from space, but it’s stunning enough that it’s definitely worth adding to your collection.
Create Your Own Dynamic Wallpaper
The above websites will give you plenty of dynamic wallpapers to download, but what if they aren’t for you? If that’s the case, it’s surprisingly easy to make your own. All you need is an app called Dynaper.
The app lets you drag and drop images to create wallpapers in the HEIC format that Apple uses for dynamic wallpaper. It will use either dates and times from the filenames or in the photos EXIF data to automatically suggest which images should map to which times of the day.
You don’t have to pay a dime for the app, but it will add a watermark unless you purchase it. The price to remove the watermark is $12, but you can easily use the free version to create wallpapers until you have something you’re sure you’ll be happy with.
For anyone who loves to change out their wallpapers and keep things fresh, dynamic wallpapers for Mac add a new level of desktop personalization. If, however, you prefer animated wallpaper instead, try this method to set an animated GIF as wallpaper on a Mac.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between live and dynamic wallpaper on iOS and iPad?
Live wallpaper is like a live photo. Force touch your screen and it animates. Dynamic wallpaper is animated on the lock screen and also on the springboard behind your iPhone or iPad icons.
2. Can you make you download apps with dynamic wallpapers?
Yes, there are plenty of third-party apps available in the App Store for download. Some actually contain dynamic wallpapers and others are live wallpapers that are mistaken for dynamic options.
3. Will dynamic wallpapers affect macOS or iOS battery life?
Any animations can impact battery life on both macOS and iOS. It’s unlikely these animations will cause significant drain but any additional work the phone or computer has to do will utilize battery life.
Dynamic wallpapers are still not for everyone. Most people are not as concerned over their wallpaper choices as those who might want to use something dynamic. However, if you are in the latter camp and enjoy something that changes with Light or Dark mode or time of day, there are enough options out there to make sure you have something new from time to time.