Automatically Set the iPad Wallpaper
Software

Enjoy Your Photos More by Automatically Setting the Wallpaper on Your Mac, iPad and iPhone

If you are like me, many of my favorite photographs are just sitting in my Lightroom catalog.  I rarely go thru my favorite photos to enjoy them.

I’ve recently set up my iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhone to randomly set my wallpaper to my favorite photos.  It’s quick and easy to do.  In this blog, I’ll show you how I did it. 

Set Up a Wallpaper Album in Apple Photos

The first step is to create a Wallpaper Album in Apple Photos.  If you have photos set up to share in iCloud settings, this album will be available on all your Apple devices.

1. In the File Menu in Apple Photos, click on New Album.  You can name the Album what you want but I kept it simple and called it “Wallpaper”.

2. In Lightroom (or whatever software you are using to store your photos), flag your favorite photos that you’d like to show on your wallpaper.  You don’t have to put them all in the Wallpaper Album at once, you can keep adding new photos.

Lightroom Wallpaper Export Preset
Lightroom Wallpaper Export Preset

3. Export the photos that you want to put in the Wallpaper Album in Photos.  I set up an Export Present in Adobe Lightroom Classic so I can quickly export the photos. I export the files in JPEG format at a size of 1920×1080 pixels.  This size works pretty well but some photographs may be cropped depending on the photo and device.

Photos Wallpaper Album
Photos Wallpaper Album

4. Drag and drop the exported photos into the Wallpaper Album in Photos.  I’ve created an Export Folder on my mac that I always export to, so I always know where to find my exported photos.

You can easily change the photos shown as your Wallpaper by adding and removing files from the Wallpaper Album.

Setting Up the Wallpaper on a Mac

With macOS Ventura, Apple renamed the System Preferences to System Settings. It also redesigned the System Settings.  In Ventura, you change the Wallpaper by going to Apple Menu – System Settings – Wallpaper.  In older versions of macOS, you change the Wallpaper by going to the Apple Menu – System Preferences – Desktop & Screen Saver.

I’ll show the steps for Ventura, but the steps are very similar for older versions of macOS.

1. Open up the Wallpaper settings in the System Settings (Apple Menu – System Settings – Wallpaper)

Selecting the Wallpaper Album in System Settings
Selecting the Wallpaper Album in System Settings

2. Click on the Add Photo Album Drop Down List at the bottom of the window and click on the Wallpaper Album.  Click on Auto Rotate on the left side of the Wallpaper Album.

Set the Frequency of the Wallpaper Change
Set the Frequency of the Wallpaper Change

3. At the top of the widow under where it says “Rotating through “Wallpaper”.  Select the frequency that you’d like the Wallpaper to change and whether you’d like your Mac to Randomly select a photo or go in order.

If you have a second monitor attached to your Mac, you can set it up in the same way.

Setting Up the Wallpaper on an iPad

On the iPad, I could not find a way for iOS to automatically rotate the Wallpaper.  But, I did create an Apple Shortcut to Change the Wallpaper to a Random Image in the Wallpaper Album.

If you have Shortcuts set up to share in iCloud, this Shortcut will be available on all your devices.

There are only 2 actions for this Shortcut.  These steps are for the iPad, but the steps for the Mac and iPhone are similar.

Create a New Shortcut
Create a New Shortcut

1. Open the Shortcuts App and create a new Shortcut by pressing the Plus button on the top of the App.

Find Photos Action
Find Photos Action

2. Search for “Find Photos” in the search box on the right side of the screen. 

3. Select the “Find Photos” in the list of actions on the right side of the screen.

Add a Filter to Find Photos
Add a Filter to Find Photos

4. Click on “Add Filter” in the Action.  Click on the 2nd Album and select the Wallpaper Album.

4. Click on “None” in the Sort By Row and select “Random”.

5. Activate the Limit Button and hit the minus button until the label reads “Get 1 Photo”.

Find Set Wallpaper Action
Find Set Wallpaper Action

6. Search for “Set Wallpaper” in the search bot on the right side of the screen.

7. Select the Set Wallpaper in the list of actions on the right side of the screen.

The Set Wallpaper action should look like the image below.

Set Wallpaper Action
Set Wallpaper Action

Press the i icon on the right side of the screen to bring up the Information Window.  For easier access, press “Add to Home Screen”.  This will put the Shortcut on your iPad’s home screen.  I have a folder set up on my first screen with all the shortcuts that I want to quickly access.  You can also turn on “Pin in Menu Bar” for quick access to the Shortcut in the Mac menu bar.

Information Window
Information Window

You can now change the Wallpaper on all your devices with one click.

Setting Up the Wallpaper on an iPhone

One more Apple device to set up, the iPhone. These steps are for iOS 16.

1. Click on the Settings App, scroll down and select Wallpaper.

Set up Wallpaper on an iPhone - Steps 2 & 3
Set up Wallpaper on an iPhone – Steps 2 & 3

2. Click the Plus on the Gray iPhone outline.  If you don’t see the Gray iPhone outline, swipe to the right.

3. Click on Photo Shuffle on the top of the screen

Set up Wallpaper on an iPhone - Steps 4 - 6
Set up Wallpaper on an iPhone – Steps 4 – 6

4. Set the Shuffle Frequency that you would like the photograph to change.

5. Click on “Select Photos Manually” at the bottom of the screen.

6. Click on Albums at the top of the screen and select the Wallpaper Album.

Set up Wallpaper on an iPhone - Steps 7 & 9
Set up Wallpaper on an iPhone – Steps 7 & 9

7. Select the Photos that you want included in the Photo Shuffle and click Add on the top right of the screen.

8. You can now Add Widgets to the Lock Screen or click Add to add the Wallpaper. 

9. Select “Set as Wallpaper Pair” to set your Wallpaper and Lock Screen to the Photo Shuffle.  Select “Customize Home Screen” to first select options for the Home Screen.

You can change Lock screens and Home Screens by long pressing on the lock screen.  You can have several screens set up and just swipe between them.

You can now enjoy your photographs on all your Apple devices.  If you get tired of the photos shown as your Wallpaper, you can just change or add new photos your Wallpaper Album.

Written by Martin Belan

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