Skip to Content

Can you turn a picture into wallpaper?

Turning a picture into wallpaper for your desktop or mobile device can be a great way to personalize your technology. With the right tools and techniques, any image can be adapted into a stylish wallpaper. In this post, we’ll walk through the process step-by-step.

Choosing an Image

The first step is picking an appropriate picture to use for your wallpaper. When selecting an image, keep the following criteria in mind:

  • Resolution – Choose a high-quality image with ample resolution. Pixelated or blurry source images will not look good when stretched to wallpaper size.
  • Dimensions – Pick an image with similar dimensions as your device’s screen. For example, images with a 16:9 width-to-height ratio work well for widescreen desktops and phones.
  • Orientation – Landscape images are best for wide screens, while portraits work well for phones.
  • Subject Matter – Pick an image that you find aesthetically pleasing and appropriate for a background.
  • File Type – JPEG and PNG files work best for wallpaper.

You can use your own photos, find free images online, or purchase stock photos. Just ensure it meets the size, orientation, and resolution requirements first.

Editing the Image

Once you’ve chosen your base image, it may need some editing to optimize it for a wallpaper. Here are some common edits to consider:

  • Cropping – Crop the photo to better fit the target device’s screen dimensions.
  • Resizing – Increase the image size if the resolution is too low.
  • Color Correction – Adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, etc. for visual appeal.
  • Adding Effects – Apply filters or textures for extra flair.
  • Removing Background – Delete distracting or cluttered backgrounds.

Use photo editing software like Photoshop, GIMP, or Pixlr to make these edits. Save your finished image as a PNG or high-quality JPEG.

Creating the Wallpaper File

With your image ready, it’s time to create the wallpaper file. Here are two common methods:

1. Using Wallpaper Software

Dedicated wallpaper creator tools provide templates and settings for exporting wallpaper-ready files for various devices. Some popular options include:

  • Fotor – Free online and mobile app with wallpaper templates.
  • Canva – Web and mobile design app with wallpaper sizing presets.
  • PicMonkey – Online photo editor with wallpaper layouts.

These tools make it easy to size and export your image to match your phone, computer, or other screen’s resolution.

2. Manual Sizing

You can also manually adjust your image size to create a wallpaper file:

  1. Determine your device’s screen resolution.
  2. Open the image in a photo editor.
  3. Resize the image to match your device’s screen dimensions.
  4. Set the resolution to 72 or 96 dpi.
  5. Save the resized image as a JPEG or PNG.

This requires knowing your target device’s specs and manually entering the numbers, but gives you precise control over the wallpaper dimensions.

Applying the Wallpaper

The last step is setting your new wallpaper image as the background on your device. The process varies depending on your operating system:

On Windows:

  1. Right click on the desktop and select “Personalize”.
  2. Click “Background” and browse to the wallpaper image file.
  3. Click “Save Changes” to set the wallpaper.

On Mac:

  1. Open System Preferences and click “Desktop & Screen Saver”.
  2. Click the “Desktop” tab and select the wallpaper image.
  3. Click “Save Changes” to set it.

On iPhone/Android:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap “Wallpaper”.
  2. Select “Photos” or “Gallery”.
  3. Pick the wallpaper image file.
  4. Set it as home screen, lock screen or both.

Preview the image first to ensure it appears correctly on your device, then set it as active to complete the process.

Tips for Great Wallpapers

Follow these tips for making stellar wallpapers that complement your display:

  • Use sharp, high-res source images for crisp quality.
  • Edit photos to isolate focal subjects and remove distractions.
  • Employ color correction for vivid hues.
  • Resize precisely to avoid distortion or pixelation.
  • Pick visually striking imagery that you enjoy seeing.
  • Change wallpapers periodically for a fresh look.

With the right approach, you can turn any photo into an attractive, customized wallpaper.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about turning pictures into wallpaper:

What image resolution do I need?

Aim for image resolutions at least as large as your device’s native screen resolution. For example, 1920×1080 for 1080p screens. Larger source images can be downsampled if needed.

What file type should I use?

JPEG and PNG are the most common wallpaper file formats. JPEG offers smaller file sizes, PNG provides transparency.

Should I edit my photo?

Editing can greatly improve a picture’s suitability as a wallpaper. Cropping, color correction, and removing background elements make images pop as backgrounds.

How do I remove the background?

Use photo editors like Photoshop to select and delete background areas. Or use the Subject Select tool in Photoshop Express to automatically mask out backgrounds.

What’s better – centered, tiled or stretched?

It’s a personal preference for visual appeal. Centered retains the image’s original dimensions. Tiled repeats the image. Stretched enlarges it to fill the screen.


Turning photos into wallpaper is easy with the right tools and know-how. The key steps are choosing a great source image, editing it for optimal visual impact, resizing it to proper dimensions, and applying it as desktop or phone wallpaper. With a high-quality image and a few tweaks, you can craft a custom wallpaper that elevates your device’s style.