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How to edit your Lock Screen in iOS 16

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First, say goodbye to your boring old Lock Screen that looks pretty much identical to anyone else’s iPhone. Then, say “Hello! Finally! At last!” to the now very customizable, dynamic new Lock Screen made possible by iOS 16.

The iPhone’s newest software update brings “the biggest update ever to the Lock Screen,” according to Apple. Users can now update the fonts, photo activity, and details, and add widgets to their phone screens, making their first glance at their iPhones a lot more personal and useful. Here’s how to set it all up for yourself.

1. Open up Settings, and scroll down to Wallpaper.

iPhone settings screenshot with a black arrow pointing to

Wallpaper, not Display & Brightness!
Credit: Screenshot: Apple

Don’t get fooled by the settings for Display & Brightness. Your Lock Screen’s settings will live in the Wallpaper section.

SEE ALSO:

How to edit an iMessage in iOS 16

2. Tap on “Add New Wallpaper.”

Wallpaper settings with black arrow pointing to

The button will be beneath your current Lock Screen wallpaper.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple

This will pull up all of the ways you can customize your Lock Screen.

3. Scroll through the preset background options.

If you don’t want to design a new background entirely, iOS 16 comes with tons more preset backgrounds in a couple of different themes. These include a Featured section that pulls from other themes:

Wallpaper


Credit: Screenshot: Apple

Weather & Astronomy backgrounds, which show live weather and astronomical conditions for your location:

Wallpaper


Credit: Screenshot: Apple

Emoji backgrounds, which you can customize even further with your favorite emoji:

Wallpaper


Credit: Screenshot: Apple

Collections, which can feature patterns for Pride and Black Unity:

Wallpaper


Credit: Screenshot: Apple

And Color, which offers a couple simple gradient backgrounds that can personalized:

Wallpaper


Credit: Screenshot: Apple

4. If none of the presets interest you, tap on “People” to see the iPhone’s suggestions for headshots that will fit well on the Lock Screen.

Lock Screen settings with red arrow pointing to

This option will display images cropped to display headshots.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple

iPhone settings with six photos showing six people cropped into headshots.

Choose from the photos your iPhone has identified have people in them and will crop well into the Lock Screen.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple

The People option will automatically scan your Camera Roll for photos of people that frame well on the Lock Screen. Choose one of these suggestions to grace your screen, or if you can’t decide on just one…

5. Tap on “Photo Shuffle” to use multiple photos on your Lock Screen.

Lock Screen settings with red arrow pointing to

Tap here for a bunch of photos to be part of your background.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple

Lock Screen settings with black arrow pointing to

Tap here to choose specific photos you’d like to feature in a shuffle.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple

This option will pull featured photos of identified people to scroll through, or you can manually choose specific photos you’d like to feature on your background.

Lock Screen settings with black arrow pointing to

Tap here to change how often the photos will switch on your background.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple

You can also adjust the Shuffle Frequency in this option, making your photos change whenever you tap the screen, whenever you wake it up, hourly, or daily.

6. Or if you want just one static image, tap on “Photos” and choose your desired image.

Lock Screen settings with red arrow pointing to


Credit: Screenshot: Apple

This option is more typical of the iPhone Lock Screen we already know, but it’s still pretty good.

7. Now that you have an image selected, start adjusting each element of your Lock Screen data: date, time, and additional widgets.

Lock Screen image in settings, with a photo showing the back of Chicago Cubs player number 17.

This is what a photo background will look like with each element available for edit.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple / Jennimai Nguyen

To adjust what shows in the Date area of your lock screen, tap on the box that currently displays the date. You can choose to display additional data like weather, events, Apple Watch activity, and more.

Lock Screen with red arrow pointing to the date area.

Tap at the top to bring up the widget menu for the date area, which shows at the bottom of the screen.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple / Jennimai Nguyen

Lock Screen with red arrow pointing to the date area, which now shows weather info also.

Date and weather!
Credit: Screenshot: Apple / Jennimai Nguyen

To adjust the font and color of your time and date display, tap on the box around the current time. A popup box will appear where you can test out font styles and colors. You can even customize each shade of the available colors on a slider scale.

Lock Screen with red arrow pointing to time, and another red arrow pointing to different fonts in the popup box at the bottom of the screen.


Credit: Screenshot: Apple / Jennimai Nguyen

To add additional widgets, tap on the empty box under the time. In the popup box, choose what widget you’d like to include. Depending on the size, you can choose between two and four widgets to display in this area.

Lock Screen with widget menu

An option with a medium and small widget, leaving room for one more small widget.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple / Jennimai Nguyen

Lock Screen with widget menu

An option with two medium widgets, taking up the max space.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple / Jennimai Nguyen

8. Make your photo background more dynamic by enabling the multilayered effect.

Lock Screen with red arrow pointing to

Tap here for the multilayer effect.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple / Jennimai Nguyen

Lock Screen with photo of back of Chicago Cubs player number 17.

What the photo looks like with the effect enabled.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple / Jennimai Nguyen

If you’re using a photo as your background, make sure to tap on the three dots in the lower right hand corner and tap “Enable Depth Effect.” This will likely be automatically on, and will place your photo’s subject partially over the time and/or widgets at the top of your display for a fun visual effect.

If you do not want this effect, tap to turn it off. Occasionally, this effect may not be possible, as your chosen photo may block too much of the time, date, or widgets if layered over it. If that’s the case, tapping on the effect will not do anything.

9. Slide your screen left to right to explore Photo Styles.

Black and white image of the same Lock Screen as above photos.

Black & White, for extra drama.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple / Jennimai Nguyen

With photo backgrounds, the iPhone will suggest different styles, such as Black & White, to enhance your image. Certain photos will have more suggested styles than others, depending on elements like lighting that make each style possible. Slide through these to peruse them, and choose one if it suits your fancy.

10. When you’re satisfied, tap “Done” in the upper right corner.

Lock Screen with red arrow pointing to


Credit: Screenshot: Apple / Jennimai Nguyen

Whew! That’s it! All of the possible types of backgrounds and edits you can make to your Lock Screen should now be in place, customized to your heart’s desire.



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