How Apple chooses iPhone wallpapers and where they get them


Standard wallpapers in iPhone are a feature not only of a single smartphone, but also of the iOS version. Every year Apple adds new photos, but, you see, recently they have become less expressive: if earlier the company added more nature wallpapers to the collection, then at some point switched to abstractions and geometric shapes. Only in iOS 14 there was a return to the roots: the system received picturesque images of mountains that switch to dark mode. I wonder where Apple gets wallpapers for the iPhone and on what basis does it choose them? Let’s figure it out.

Standard Apple Wallpaper

Perhaps no other smartphone in the world has such recognizable wallpapers as the iPhone. Even owners of Android smartphones install them: it is hardly an attempt to make an iPhone from Android, they are just really very beautiful. Apple regularly promotes its smartphones in films and TV shows – this applies to the Apple TV service and other streaming platforms.

Although, sometimes directors try to hide the fact that an iPhone or iPad has appeared in the frame by sticking apples on the back and redoing the sounds, but Apple’s gadget is easily recognizable by the wallpaper on the Home screen.

In the series “Ted Lasso” showed the iPhone without notch. Fat spoiler?

Surely you at least once wondered where Apple takes these wallpapers? There are a couple of stories. Espen Haagensen, a Norwegian photographer, is the one who took that iOS 8 photo of the Milky Way: he took a photo in the mountains using a wide-angle lens. He uploaded the picture to the 500px website, where it was discovered by Apple.

I had to tweak a little. But it’s easy to recognize these wallpapers!

True, the Cupertino company pre-edited it: in the original frame there is Espen Haagensen’s house in the frame, but it is not on the iOS wallpaper – Apple made the image simpler by removing unnecessary elements. The company has entered into a license agreement with the author to use the image.

Apple takes photos even from novice photographers

Another story is related to the iOS 7 wallpaper: Keegan Gibbs said that he met a photographer whose picture Apple took for the iPad. Keegan thought it would be a good idea to promote his photographs to the masses in this way. A couple of months later, he was checking spam on his phone and accidentally saw an email from the Apple Arts Department inviting him to enter into a contract to use the image in the new iOS.

Where does Apple get iPhone wallpapers?

But on iOS and macOS, abstract shots are common. For example, a photograph of the Andromeda galaxy got into macOS X Lion – this was confirmed by astronomers. It later emerged that Apple took this high-resolution photo from NASA and retouched it so that the colors of the image did not interfere with the reading of the text.

Above – the original from NASA, below – the version of Apple

Do you remember the standard branded iPhone XS wallpapers ? At first glance, it seems that they depict a planet, but this is not so: it is just a substance of soap, water, corn syrup, as well as moments of other chemical reactions. The pictures were taken by photographers Donghoon J. and Sean S., who love to experiment with different materials, creating unusual images. By the way, the photo was taken on the iPhone XS, and not on a professional camera.



By the way, Apple selects many pictures at its competitions. For example, with the help of Shot on iPhone Macro Challenge : one of the winners was Daniel Olah from Hungary – he has very cool photos that I put on my iPhone and advise you!

How to get old wallpaper back on iPhone

Unfortunately, Apple does not leave wallpapers from old iOS in new versions of the operating system: it may seem that developers are removing them to save iOS volume, but this is not so. It’s really just marketing: Apple removes old wallpapers and adds new ones so people can identify images with phones.

It is believed that the new wallpaper is one of the tools that increase the desire to buy a new phone. For the same reason, they first tried to hide the Face ID notch, and now they are making it more pronounced, because it has become an iPhone feature.

Will legendary wallpapers return to iPhone? Rare case

But Apple wouldn’t be itself if it didn’t bring back something from the past. In the beta version of iOS 16 , wallpapers were found that depict the same clown fish from the firmware of the first iPhone . Yes, in fact, the iPhone never had them by default, Steve Jobs just used the picture at the presentation of the iPhone 2G. It’s not yet clear if wallpapers will be in the public version of iOS 16.

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