How To Change the Wallpaper on Your Computer or Phone

How to Change the Wallpaper on Desktop & Mobile Devices

Screenshot showing how to change the Windows 8 desktop background
Changing the Windows 8 Desktop Wallpaper.

Changing the wallpaper, or background on your computer, is an easy way to quickly personalize your user experience.

While you can definitely make a wallpaper be an image you already have, see this list of the best free wallpaper sites to download some others. I also keep a list of websites dedicated to free desktop wallpapers of a certain type, like holiday wallpapers, wallpapers for each season (such as Autumn and Spring), beach wallpapers, and more.

Changing the wallpaper is different for each major operating system. Use the instructions below to learn how to make nearly any image your wallpaper whether you have Windows, Mac OS, Linux, or would like to know how to change the wallpaper on your phone.

How to Set the Windows Desktop Background

In Windows, the simplest way to set a picture as the desktop wallpaper is to open it so that you can see the image, and then right-click it to choose Set as desktop background.

You also see this option when you right-click the picture file in Windows Explorer; you don't even have to open the picture to set it as the desktop background.

Another way to change the desktop wallpaper in Windows is to right-click the desktop itself and select Personalize (or Properties in Windows XP). From here, you can choose a new desktop background image as well as decide if you want the photo to be tiled, centered, or stretched across the screen.

Some versions of Windows have additional options here, like automatically changing the desktop wallpaper after so-many seconds, which comes in handy if you can't choose just one background.

Note: The same background wallpaper settings just mentioned can be accessed in Windows Vista/7/8/10 through the Control Panel Personalization applet, or Display in Windows XP.

Changing the Wallpaper on Other Devices

Windows of course isn't the only operating system that can have its desktop wallpaper customized. Below are some instructions for other devices including how to change it on a wide variety of mobile phones.

Mac OS & Linux

Mac OS X users can follow these steps to personalize your Mac's desktop wallpaper. Included in the tutorial is how you can use your own photos as your wallpaper and how to set multiple desktop wallpaper pictures.

Here's how to configure your desktop background preferences if you're a Linux user. Also included here is directions on how to change your desktop colors.

iOS, Android & BlackBerry

If you're using an iPhone, here's how to change your iPhone wallpaper. The same steps should apply for iPad and iPod touch devices too. Images you take with an iOS devices will fit perfectly as the wallpaper image, but there are also websites you can visit that can provide you with perfectly-sized images for the iPhone or iPad wallpaper, like PhoneWalls.

Android users can see this Android Central quick guide for changing the wallpaper. Like iOS devices, there are plenty of free ways to get hundreds of Android wallpapers, such as AndroidWalls.

For BlackBerry's, see How To Change Home Screen, Backgrounds via PCWorld.

CrackBerry is a good source for all things BlackBerry related, like their Free BlackBerry Wallpaper section for free backgrounds.