The Best Live Wallpapers for Android
Animated and even interactive backgrounds are available by default in stock Android and most Android-based systems. The feature can really help liven up a phone's display with modern graphics but is also great for older devices that now function as clocks.
Unfortunately, countless static wallpaper apps claiming to be live wallpapers have created confusion so many people aren't aware of the more dynamic offerings. On top of that, Google's Play Store is sprawling with ad-laden, spammy apps that make it tedious to find good content and this definitely applies to live wallpapers.
This list takes a look at some of the very best live wallpaper apps with a special focus on app developers seeking to provide a great experience for those using their apps. Apps in this list are made by developers with other great apps, or those who really stand out for the few they've poured their heart into.
Some of the most amazing parallax, HD backgrounds ever made. More than that though, this is a full-featured, community-based wallpaper designer that lets anyone create multi-layered parallax backgrounds to share with the world.
An elegant interface makes it super easy to download and use community or premium wallpapers, and even edit those designs, or create from scratch using your own photos or any number of high quality, bundled assets. It even provides a special effects layer to add rain, fog, snow or other gorgeous animations.
Get an epic view of the earth in 8k resolution from space. In contrast with similar wallpapers, this one goes overboard with features. It lets you check out the view from several vantage points, including a few from the moon. It's also based in real time by default for accurate day-night cycles. Topping off the gorgeous visuals is a constellation overlay for an insightful view to the stars in the background. It's all navigable by touch and affected by gyroscope movement for a dynamic, captivating view of our planet and surrounding wonders.
Sim Aquarium stands out in a sea of lackluster aquarium apps. Besides the high quality of visuals and dynamic viewpoint that adjusts to device orientation, the app has fish swimming very realistically at all angles to and away from the camera. The attention to detail amounts to a breathtaking experience. And the app features 2 distinct scenes; one of a general undersea aquarium and the other a closeup of clownfish moving playfully through anemone. Both offer a fair share of configuration options.
If the highly dynamic movement of Sim Aquarium is a bit much, Marine Aquarium provides a more tame but still visually captivating experience with a view to a realistic, home aquarium that slowly pans around to avoid screen image burning. The panning and many other options are configurable and the free version shares the same vast options as the premium, it just reminds you every so often to support the developers.
A bewildering display of vibrant, dancing colors might be too distracting as wallpaper but this app strikes the perfect balance by showcasing its fluid magic only upon touch interaction. Watery shapes swirl into being with the move of your fingers but otherwise hide comfortably in a dark, distraction-free background that works great for saving battery.
You can add a configurable clock widget anywhere on Android but this thing is a complete background theme full of moving gears and elegant timepieces. It's a live wallpaper with accessible info like the time and weather cast amidst a clockwork scene of rotating gears and chains. The low cost premium version adds more configurable clocks and dust particles. The perfect background for those old tablets waiting to be used as decorative clocks.
Another great app for fuller control of your wallpaper, KLWP provides a robust editor that lets you add everything from digital and analog clocks to weather widgets and CPU meters. Coupled with features like randomly changing images and gyroscopic effects, it's the ultimate tool for customizing the live wallpaper experience. Or if you're not so keen on designing your own, the premium version gets you access to great designs shared by the community.
See your Android device stats rendered as smoothly animated, parallax live wallpaper including a 3D compass, battery level, date and time, CPU usage and much more. While similar apps might offer more customization of stats, Holo Droid provides very usable details rendered through a nicely animated, high-tech theme.
More than your typical parallax galaxy photo, Space - Stars & Clouds is a fully 3D experience of a cloud nebula with parallax stars and gyro-controlled movement for a rich, dynamic view to the stars.
You can easily use your photos for wallpaper but this freemium app showcases your choice of specific photos or even folders of photos in a lively, animated collage. Better yet, the app integrates with the popular Camera ZOOM FX to let you tone down the colors so the display isn't too distracting, or add other amazing filter effects as you choose. The app provides just the right options to get you started and offers many other configuration choices at a small premium.
Playing with sequins may not be your thing but this app just might make it so. It offers a realistic 3D simulation that lets you draw by flipping sequins through simple touch interaction. It's highly configurable and also features dynamic lighting of sequins based on device orientation. It's a very real experience that makes sequins fun for everyone.
From live particle effects master Maxelus.net, WAVERO decorates your screen with a brilliant, parallax field of ever moving, hex-shaped cells that gather in a pulsating mass around your every touch. The app is free while the premium version adds options for configuring cell sizes, colors and more.
The perfect blend of softly colored shapes and subtle animations to round out the typical Android experience, Chrooma Live Wallpaper features configurable Material design themes that aren't too distracting but are also light on the battery. It's totally free and ad-free to boot.
A Liquid Cloud is like its name suggests; an ever evolving, smoothly animated cloud. The soft gradient colors makes for a very usable background and the premium version adds touch interactivity that has special cloud effects forming with your finger at the center.
A very stylish and calming wallpaper, Sun Rise Live is a 2-dimensional view of a scenic sun rise with scores of time and touch-based interactions. A flock of birds will greet you in the morning by arranging themselves in a message in the sky, "Good morning!" They'll also fly in droves through the skies at random. Touch the birds to have them scatter. Or interact similarly with other random wildlife.
For those who prefer a darker setting, Dream Night LiveWallpaper by the same company brings the same interactivity and style into the night. Or for the encompassing experience, the commercial Day Night Live Wallpaper bundles those scenes and much more.
This steampunk-inspired scene of 3D balloons adrift in the clouds adds smoothly animated visuals that sit comfortably in the background so they're not too distracting. Just the right touch of artistic style and subtle animation.
A re-implementation of Winamp's classic music visualizer MilkDrop, projectM packs the power of Milkdrop's huge library of visualizers and adds touch-based interaction on mobile devices while reacting to either live audio being played on the device or audio detected through the mic. The premium version for Android lets you use the app as a live wallpaper so you get an audio reactive background with a massive archive of gorgeous visuals to choose from.
For slightly more traditional music visualizations, Audio Glow empowers music with brilliantly colored, audio spectrum displays. The visualizer reacts to standard Android sounds and the premium version lets you use the app as live wallpaper.
50,000 vivid particles to play with. Particle Flow is the open-source, ad-free live wallpaper with smooth particle animations for you to interact with. Control the flow of particles with up to 5 fingertips. Or just let the natural particle movements decorate your background on their own. They're good at that.
Fire! Magic Flames lets you draw with fire. Swipe your fingers and flames follow. Fun to play with and the premium version brings the fire to your live wallpaper and lets you even add a photo background to let see the distortion effect from all the heat.
Master of fantastical, 3D scenes, developer Ruslan Sokolovsky brings us a futuristic city bustling with activity and featuring a live clock to keep track of time right from our wallpaper. While the polygon graphics are a bit on the janky side, it actually adds a bit of retro flare to the cyberpunk theme while also helping to save some battery life.
Once a premium wallpaper, Electric Plasma now lets everyone enjoy a configurable, reactive electric field at no cost and with no ads. Touch the display to have electric energy gather around your finger or simply let the particle lines traverse your background on their own.
For the ultimate in customization, Shader Editor lets you code your own GLSL shaders right on your Android device through a very intuitive and usable code editor. Best of all, you can use your creations as live wallpaper. Your wallpaper becomes your own creation through code, or you can use one of many amazing shaders already created by brilliant developers.
This one is just brimming with life, a relatively simple wallpaper with highly realistic, microscopic organisms swimming around your background. Low in options but high in battery life, it's totally free and ad-free and made by the people behind the very popular Caustic mobile audio studio.
All the beauty of a living forest to decorate your phone. Tap Leaves offers mostly soft animations that sit well in your background while letting you interact through taps and touches.
A unique wallpaper with mythical style and smooth animations that work great for backgrounds, World Turtle Live Wallpaper is a freemium app with lots of extra effects perks at a small cost.
Another wallpaper that strikes the perfect balance of colors and distraction-free usability, this one features a beautiful Betta fish swimming in glorious 3D in your background.
Animated koi ponds were some of the first live wallpapers to grace Android backgrounds. Water Garden Live evolves the idea into a very realistic and soothing 3D experience. Choose from a large number of koi backgrounds and interact by touch to create soft waves, startle your fish or even feed them.
If you don't care much for real fish swimming on your wallpaper, try paper variants. Papersea delivers the same, interactive experience of aquarium wallpapers only with the fun styling of paper craft.
Or if you rather avoid the sea completely, you can try Paperland Live Wallpaper by the same company.
For those who prefer lots of pixels with their art, Pixelscapes Wallpaper packs 3 lively, animated scenes with tons of style. Options are minimal but that ties in with the goal to save battery life. Plus the app saves you money, it's totally free with no ads, no bloat.
This totally free and ad-free, candy-filled scene sits flawlessly with Google's Material Design theme in Android. The colors are tame enough to not distract from important foreground tasks and the app even includes 4 color themes to configure it further. Meanwhile, 3D panning adds just the right bit of animation to keep the eyes entertained.
This free app features 3 different scene types, with 2 to let you play with fiery particles and another to experience a live firework show over a smoky night sky. The scenes all offer touch-based interaction with highly realistic particle effects.