A New Wallpaper Photo Every Morning

Each day I am greeted by some of my favorite images. Sometimes a family event or a photo from my portfolio shows up or perhaps a glimpse at something motivational or aspirational. When the alarm goes off, my iPhone lock screen shows me a new photo. Likewise when I first wake up my iPad, there is a new image on the lock screen each morning. In this post I share the iOS shortcut and instructions for setting it all up. The steps basically are:

  • Create an Album in the Photos application for the Wallpaper images
  • Download and setup my shortcut
  • Create an Automation to run the shortcut
  • Add photos to your Wallpaper Album

Note if you do not have both a phone and a tablet, the instructions still apply for a single device.

Create a Wallpaper Album

On both your iPhone and iPad you need to create an Album in the Photos application to contain the photos you want to use as wallpaper. I created a separate album on each device. My iPad is most often on its keyboard, so I prefer horizontal (landscape) oriented photos on it. I generally hold my iPhone, so vertical (portrait) photos workout better. For this reason, I segregate wallpaper images into two different albums, “Wallpaper iPad” on my iPad and “Wallpaper iPhone” on my iPhone. These are the defaults used by my shortcut, but you can name your album anything or both with the same name. Just create an album on each device, drop a few photos in for testing, and remember the name(s) for the next step.

N.B. It is possible to create an album on one device and have it synchronize on other devices. But that depends on how your devices, Photo app and iCloud are configured. Since I do not know how you have set up your Photos application, I have no idea of what could go wrong.

Wallpaper album on my iPhone

Download the Shortcut

Use this link to my Set Wallpaper shortcut and download it. By default a security feature in iOS will prevent you from adding shortcuts created by a third party. This page has instructions on how to change Settings to allow “untrusted shortcuts”. When you add Set Wallpaper, you will be prompted for the name of the Album that contains iPhone Wallpaper and one that contains iPad Wallpaper. Use the name(s) you created in the above step. When the shortcut runs it detects the device and loads a photo from the album you specified for the iPhone or iPad. Again you do not have to segregate photos, but I find it useful to separate them by named albums.

You should only have to download and setup this shortcut on one device. Shortcuts synchronize via iCloud to devices using the same Apple ID.

Configure the Shortcut to Run Automatically

You can run the “Set Wallpaper” from the Shortcuts app, which is not particularly convenient. But there are many ways to run a shortcut including Siri or as a widget from the home screen The latest iOS versions added the ability to automate running a shortcut, based on a Home Automation or a Personal Automation. Now I have configured both my iPad and iPhone to use “Do Not Disturb” at night when I go to bed. When “Do Not Disturb” ends in the morning an event occurs from which I trigger my “Set Wallpaper” shortcut. You may wish to automatically run the shortcut at a specific time or on a particular day of the week instead, whatever works for you. Be sure to turn off the “Ask Before Running” switch when you define the automation.

Adding Photos to Your Wallpaper Album

I use Lightroom Mobile to synchronize collections of my best images between my desktop, phone and tablet. I created another shortcut that runs from the Share Sheet of an image or file. It copies that image into the appropriate Wallpaper album. Since this shortcut also detects what device it runs on, when you first install it you are prompted for album names to use for iPad and iPhone; use the name(s) from the first step. Download Save to Wallpaper Since this runs from a Share Sheet, it does not require Lightroom Mobile and you can use it on any image you find on your device that you would like use for wallpaper.

Additional Notes

Another reason to segregate phone and tablet images, would be to edit the aspect ratio for a better looking screen. This edit is to the copy in the album and not the original photo.

If you wish to set the wallpaper for your Home Screen, then edit the last action of the shortcut to check that option.