iOS 18 will finally give you Mac-style dynamic wallpapers – and they look great

An iPhone running iOS 18 on a purple and blue background
(Image credit: Apple)

Your iPhone will soon get a neat new feature when iOS 18 launches later this year: dynamic wallpapers. These will subtly change at various points throughout the day, giving you a phone background that automatically adjusts itself as the hours pass.

The feature has been spotted in the latest iOS 18 developer beta 3, which was released yesterday. If you’ve signed up to the developer beta, you can get the update by opening the Settings app on your iPhone and going to General > Software Update and selecting the Update Now button.

In previous iOS 18 betas, Apple had launched a handful of new wallpapers, as it does every year, including four named Yellow, Pink, Azure and Purple. However, these were static images – while each one had a light and a dark option, they would not change unless you specifically adjusted your wallpaper choice.

Now, there’s a fifth option named Dynamic (as you can see above). With this, iOS 18 handles the wallpaper change on your behalf. Instead of simply having light and dark editions, each background has numerous different versions that it cycles through over the course of the day. 

It’s not yet clear what the conditions are for each adjustment (such as how many hours elapse between each alteration), but it’s a pleasant feature to have on your iPhone.

Finally arriving on iOS

Customization options in iOS 18, as presented at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024.

(Image credit: Apple)

The macOS operating system for Apple’s Mac computers has featured dynamic wallpapers for years, so in a way it’s strange that iOS has taken so long to catch up.

The reason for the delay might be something to do with Apple’s increased customization options in iOS 18. For instance, there’s a new setting that can automatically change certain app icons from light to dark when you enable dark mode. Perhaps Apple wanted to wait for this feature to be ready before pairing it with dynamic wallpapers, as the two seem to go hand in hand.

Right now, iOS 18 is only available as a developer beta. However, the public beta is expected to launch at some point in July, with the full release following in a few months’ time. With plenty of interesting new features on the way, it could be one of the biggest overhauls in the history of iOS.

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Alex Blake
Freelance Contributor

Alex Blake has been fooling around with computers since the early 1990s, and since that time he's learned a thing or two about tech. No more than two things, though. That's all his brain can hold. As well as TechRadar, Alex writes for iMore, Digital Trends and Creative Bloq, among others. He was previously commissioning editor at MacFormat magazine. That means he mostly covers the world of Apple and its latest products, but also Windows, computer peripherals, mobile apps, and much more beyond. When not writing, you can find him hiking the English countryside and gaming on his PC.