One of our favorite things about Android is the way you can customize it to your heart’s content: where rival devices’ customization starts and stops with gaudy cases, you can completely change almost every bit of the OS. But you don’t need to start installing skins or messing around with design to make your Android phone truly personal: just installing some good-looking wallpaper can make your phone or tablet look so much better. Customize your phone's background with some of the best free wallpaper apps for Android.
- Want more free stuff? Here are the best free Android apps for 2015 - and while we're at it, here are the best free Android games. You're welcome!
If you haven’t heard of 500px, it’s a website where some great photographers share their stuff - and with the 500 Firepaper app, you can see their art on your phone. You can specify how often the images should change, and you can limit images to a particular category.
Backgrounds HD Wallpapers 50M+
Backgrounds HD offers free wallpapers for Android from artists all over the world, and it features more than 7,000 high quality wallpapers to personalize your phone. You can crop and set wallpapers to fit your screen or just highlight the best bits, share on social networks and submit your own backgrounds for others to admire.
Cool Wallpapers HD
Cool Wallpapers HD doesn’t just work on your Android phone or tablet: it works with Android Wear too, so you can use it to send wallpapers to your smartwatch. Browsing the huge gallery is fast and you can search by category or keyword, and you can also share wallpapers via social networks or email.
Sun Rise Free Live Wallpaper
Live wallpapers are often fairly uninspired things with the odd bit of movement on otherwise static images, so it’s nice to see something with a bit of thought behind it. Sun Rise Free Live Wallpaper features a silhouette of a tree underneath gently moving clouds, flying birds and the occasional rainbow, and it’s a lovely calming presence on any device.
Muzei Live Wallpaper
Feeling a bit arty? Fancy some Van Gogh on your Moto G or something arty on your Galaxy Alpha? Muzei Live Wallpaper gently refreshes your screen with famous works of art from Wikiart.org and high quality photography, keeping the images faded in the background to emphasize your icons and indicators but showing them in their full glory when you double-tap. Like Cool Wallpapers Muzei supports Android Wear too, so you can wander around with a masterpiece on your wrist as well as in your pocket.
Zedge doesn’t just offer wallpapers: it has themes, ringtones and notification sounds too, although the wallpaper library is why it’s in our list today. The wallpaper collection is massive - there are more than 11,000 - but easy to navigate, and the extensive sort features make it easy to track down exactly what you’re looking for.
Premium Wallpapers HD
Premium Wallpapers HD is another huge repository of wallpapers with more than 10,000 wallpapers in HD quality and new additions each and every day. It’s a nice app to use and the images are both good to look at and easy to navigate.
Shake Them All! Live 2 Wallpaper
This one’s a lot of fun: Shake Them All! Live 2 Wallpaper features tumbling androids and a physics engine that means they react to gravity, shakes, touches, light and sound. We like to imagine that they’re real people, that our phone is a tower block and that we’re angry giants who laugh as we throw them around like dolls, jab them and generally make them feel like rush hour commuters.
Sometimes you just want to keep it simple with no alarms and no surprises, and Color Wallpaper is designed to do just that. It doesn’t offer live wallpapers showing tropical fish, waterfalls or dogs licking the screen, it doesn’t feature the Mona Lisa or that famous poster of the tennis player scratching her bum, it doesn’t offer any ringtones and it doesn’t feature up-and-coming artists. What it does do is give you a color picker that creates a stripped-back and completely calm wallpaper for your device - something that might even help with battery life compared to all singing, all dancing live wallpapers.
Okay, this isn’t strictly a wallpaper app. But it’s related, because what Transparent Screen does is make your phone’s screen transparent by showing you what the phone’s camera sees. If you’re the kind of person who gets so engrossed in your phone that you don’t notice the world around you, this app could prevent hilarious-sounding yet potentially lethal encounters with public transport, cliffs, opened mineshafts, bear pits and so on. Just watch the battery life: live-viewing your camera isn’t great if it’s going to be a long time until you’re next near a charger.
Have you found a must-have Android wallpaper app or just a live wallpaper that made you laugh? Let us know in the comments!