While the concept of wallpaper is universal to most desktop as well as mobile operating systems, Android extends this concept one step further by letting you set dynamic content as your wallpaper – a concept known as Android Live Wallpapers. It is Android Wallpaper Weekend here at AddictiveTips. A few days back, we taught you how to take Android wallpaper customization to the next level. Join us today as we take you for a tour of the prettiest and most eye-catching Live wallpapers available for Android that we have hand-picked for you from the countless options out there.
Android is all about customization and we are big fans of doing that. That’s why we have put up a comprehensive guide to customize the looks of your Android device to the max. Wherever there’s mention of customizing the looks of your device, wallpapers and themes are amongst the first things that come to mind. There are a plethora of Live Wallpapers available for Android and that can make choosing the right one for yourself a rather tough call, though we are here to help, but lets have a few more words on Live wallpapers before we proceed.
Live wallpapers aren’t like static wallpapers – they are not like simple image files but rather like regular Android apps. That’s why installing Live wallpapers is like installing just any other app too – you either install them from the Market or sideload them using their APK file. There is a difference, however – Live wallpapers don’t have launcher icons, so upon installing, you will not find them in your app drawer. Do not be alarmed, as setting them as your wallpaper is a piece of cake. For the sake of the beginners, we have outlined that method in detail in our ultimate guide to Android wallpapers so don’t forget to check it out.
Also note that being apps, Live wallpapers take significantly more resources than static wallpapers when running, and that can be taxing on the battery. However, some live wallpapers may fare better than others in this regard while some also offer you options to choose between best appearance and best battery. That said, let’s begin with our showdown of the best free Android Live wallpapers.
Abstract Live Wallpapers
Tired of pictures, pictures and more pictures as your wallpaper and want something more abstract and artistic? We have you covered with these breathtakingly beautiful colorful and abstract live wallpapers!
Ever seen someone wearing black just walk out of a paintball game? Splatter turns your Android’s home screen into a canvas for splatting paint on it, and the results can be mesmerizing! Despite not being fans of non-functional live wallpapers due to their battery drain, we fell in love with Splatter as soon as we installed it. By default, it uses all colors of the rainbow, but in very elegant shades that are easy on the eyes and look great with any kind of icons or widgets on top. Take a look at it yourself in our screenshots.
You can splat color by dragging and dropping icons and widgets here and there, or by simply tapping on the screen, though these options are customizable. There are options that let you shake your phone to clear all splats and get a clean canvas or let splats appear automatically after set intervals. You can also choose the color scheme of the splats, the background color and the maximum number of splats visible on the screen at any time.
These settings also allow you to control the power consumption of Splatter and with auto splatter disabled or auto splatter frequency set to 60 seconds, the power consumption shouldn’t be significantly more than static wallpapers, unless you find yourself tapping on the screen or dragging and dropping widgets and icons very frequently like us, just to check out the colorful splats they make.
Splatter is available at Android Market for free but there is a pro version available too that removes ads from the settings menu so if you want to support the developer, you are encouraged to buy it.
Do you like rain? How about a shower of colorful, glowing pixels on your phone’s home screen? While it might not sound too tempting, it certainly looks quite stunning. See for yourself!
The background color as well as color of the falling pixels, their sizes, lengths of pixel trails, the glow and splash effects are amongst the many options that you can set, so there is plenty of room for tweaking if you want a lighter background or a more girly, pink-themed look, as in the following screenshots.
Update: This live wallpaper seems to have been removed from the Market.
Plasma Colour brings the enchanting plasma fluid effect to your lock screen, with the ability to make it react to your taps. Screenshots can’t really do justice to its effects but here are two to give you an idea.
Not satisfied with mere plasma and want something more electrifying? You mean it should be electrifying AND contain plasma? Electric Plasma is just that! While it doesn’t use multiple colors at the same time the way Plasma Colour does, it still lets you choose one from many colors available, and the results are eye-catching enough for us to notice.
What? You’re looking for one featuring an eagle riding a T-rex with a gun that shoots electric plasma, riding a great white shark? You sure are hard to please but you haven’t seen everything yet.
This one is basically a soft, cloudy flame of colors dancing around on your screen, giving away colored smoke in all directions and changing its location based on your touch. Touching multiple spots on the screen in quick succession spawns multiple such flames but they eventually all die out or blend back at the center of your screen. You can choose between color schemes and even specify the colors of your own choice from the settings.
Rays of Light
Want the same bright colors on a dark background like Crazy Colors but in form of light rays? The same developer has taken care of that for you, in Rays of Light. While this one doesn’t react to touch, it’s pretty enough without that. See for yourself:
Update: Taken down from Market.
A cosmic-looking, twisting and turning flux of brilliant colors with OpenGL 3D effects bundled in a free, small package less than 90Kbps in size is definitely hard to resist, especially so if it looks like this:
Update: Taken down from Market.
From the makers of Flux comes solar wind – a wallpaper similar to Flux as a concept but with a twist of its own, literally! While the motion of the flux pattern is quite abstract in Flux, it’s more twisty and wavy in Solar Wind and the results will make you keep looking at your device screen. If you aren’t satisfied with its default effect, there are a bunch of others to choose from as well, including a jiggly one.
Want to make it truly yours? Just choose ‘Customized’ as style and you’ll be able to control the particle number, size and speed as well as wind speed, motion blur, particle emission speed and the number of emitters in each gust of wind.
Update: Taken down from Market.
The next few wallpapers in this section come from GO Wallpaper Dev Team – the same guys who developed the immensely popular GO Launcher, GO SMS and GO Weather apps for Android so when we learned about these, we knew they had to be nothing less than superb, and we weren’t disappointed! The first amongst these is Euphoria. It is hard to describe it in words and even screenshots won’t do it justice but we’ll try.
You’ve got to see it on your phone’s screen to truly appreciate the brilliant colors and the animation and if you’ve got an AMOLED screen, it’ll truly bring it to life! The free version is limited to the style shown above while there’s a paid version available as well that adds several other styles and removes the ads.
Update: Taken down from Market.
Up next by the GO Wallpaper Dev Team is this swarm of colorful fireflies leaving trails of vibrant colors behind as they fly around your screen in a 3D motion.
As with their other wallpapers, the free version is functional but the paid one adds more options and removes the ads.
Update: Taken down from Market.
Last in this section (but not the least) by the GO Wallpaper Dev Team is what they describe as the most realistic and stunning firework live wallpaper, and we find it hard to disagree. It lets you choose the quality of the firework explosion effect for a combination between looks and battery life that suits you. You can show or hide clouds and stars, choose star density. With this many options and a price tag of free, it’s hard to go wrong.
A paid, ad-free version available at the market adds the ability to enable touch sensitive mode that lets you control the viewing angle and camera animation by swiping along the screen.
Space Live Wallpapers
Want to stare into the infinite vastness of space? These stunning space-themed live wallpapers will take you on a breathtaking tour of the universe, right from your Android home screen!
Update: Taken down from Market.
Another masterpiece by the GO Wallpaper Dev Team, Hyperspace 3D is a blend between abstractness and space and can be put into both categories. It lets you travel through a time-warp tunnel across space while watching the stars and galaxies getting created and destroyed as you pass them by. If the concept of wormholes fascinates you, this is the live wallpaper for you!
You can choose your speed, star count and star size in the free version while more options such as depth of field and the size and resolution of the view port can be controlled by buying the ad-free, paid version.
Maxelus Galaxy Tetrology
This is a series of four stunning space live wallpapers set on different themes. We’re keeping these four together here because these are parts of the same series of galaxy-themed live wallpapers by the same developer. We’ll just let their screenshots speak for each of them.
Inferno Galaxy (Top-left), Ice Galaxy (Top-right), Vortex Galaxy (Bottom-left) and Shadow Galaxy (bottom-right) are all available for free from the market, have been optimized for tablets as well as phones and allow you to set the animation speed as well as battery consumption levels in the settings.
Update: Taken down from Market.
When Vega Galaxy and Lyra Galaxies, our own Milky Way’s galactic core and Orion, Aquila, Crab, Eta Carina, Rosette and Antenna Nebulae are combined together in one live wallpaper, its epicosity index is bound to be of astronomical proportions, no pun intended. Just two screenshots will not do justice to this one, so here is a whole bunch of them!
While the images might not be too realistic since all the portrayed celestial bodies seem to be composed of individual dots of the exact same size, this doesn’t make the overall result any less stunning so give it a shot. There aren’t any customization options for the animation but there really isn’t any need for them either. The best part is that it’s fully free, with all the galaxies included.
Want to see a more realistic but by no means less fantastic view of space? Galaxy Core brings you a mesmerizing view of a rotating spiral galaxy just like our own Milky Way. While its concept is the same as Galaxy Core, there is just one unnamed galaxy available, though is it way more realistic than any of those featured in Galaxy Core.
The free version doesn’t let you change any settings though, and you’ll have to buy the paid version to get access to features such as changing camera zoom and speed, modifying colors, spin or touch sensitivity and enabling accelerometer tilt sensitivity.
Nature Live Wallpapers
Care for a serene, natural setting as your wallpaper? Let us bring interactive beaches, gardens, cloudy skies and aquariums right to your Android home screen!
Update: Taken down from Market.
Tired of living in an urban environment and seeing concrete and metal all around you? If you can’t afford to move to the suburbs yourself, you can bring the suburbs to your Android phone’s home screen with the Suburb Dusk Live wallpaper. Vines crawling over a wooden fence next to a tree under a cloudy sky is about as serene and picturesque as it gets. It also includes a clock rendered in the colors of the sun.
Suburb Dusk offers options such as an extensive wallpaper editor, ability to run it in landscape mode, change animation speeds and performance levels, and even launch an app by tapping on it.
Celtic Garden Free
Celtic Garden Free takes you to a mystic garden with a predominantly green Irish Celtic theme, complete with an ancient fountain, a clover field and exotic mushrooms.
The free version of this wallpaper doesn’t offer any customization options but it doesn’t look bad without any changes, and you can always buy the paid version if you want more control over it.
Spring Zen Free
Brought to you by the developers of Celtic Garden, Spring Zen takes you to a beautiful Zen garden set in a Spring theme with eggs in a bird’s nest, falling pink Sakura flowers and a wooden bench on a lush green patch of grass with a pond in the background.
Like Celtic Garden, the free version doesn’t allow access to settings and you will have to buy the paid version to be able to customize it any further.
My Beach Free
Not a Spring person and craving for some sun, sand, surf and sea? Get your own private beach on your Android home screen with My Beach Free – yet another wallpaper by the developers of Celtic Garden and Spring Zen.
Like their other free wallpapers, this one is also as-is in the free version but settings can be unlocked by buying the paid version to customize it to your heart’s content.
Aquarium Live Wallpaper
Did you know why hospitals and therapy clinics often have aquariums? According to a research, watching fish swim has a calming and somewhat healing effect on us. Can’t afford an aquarium? Get one for your Android for free, using Aquarium Live wallpaper.
Set in a beautiful tropical reef with colorful tropical fish, Aquarium Live wallpaper is a joy to stare at. The fish have animations and respond to your taps too, by changing direction or swimming away faster. Need more options? There is also a paid version available that lets you unlock the settings.
Don’t wanna buy the paid version of Aquarium Live wallpaper but still want more control on your aquarium? AniPet Aquarium Free gives you an aquarium with you having a lot more control over it without buying the paid version, at the cost of getting fish and backgrounds in less brilliant colors compared to those in Aquarium Live wallpaper.
The options it offers include adding or removing fish from a large variety, change their sizes and speeds, set how the fish behave and even change the background, so take it on a spin and explore away.
A Playmio 3D Sky
This one left us utterly mesmerized. That’s why instead of writing much about it, we decided to get straight to taking screenshots – LOTS of screenshots. See for yourself:
With nine stunning sky themes to choose from including Stormy, Interstellar, Violent, Grim Night, Mirmar, The Alps, Blue Mountains, Red Mountains and Green Mountains, and access to settings such as frame rate and sky motion speed, all for a price tag of free, one really can’t go wrong.
Games Live Wallpapers
Colors, pictures and nature not your style? Want some cool, retro gaming goodness on your home screen instead? What better to satiate your thirst for retro gaming with than Pac Man, Mario and Doom?
PacDroid Live Wallpaper
What’s better than Pac Man eating dots, ghosts and fruit? PacDroid chomping away at dots and Apples, of course! Warning: The Apple fanboys are certainly not going to like this one.
You can customize dots, dot color, wall color, show or hide walls, background color and even behavior of Android and its rivals (or victims, if you will), but even without all these options, Android + Pacman + Apple-in-despair = a geek’s-dream-come true!
Super Mario Live Wallpaper
If you don’t like Mario, we don’t like you! Super Mario Live Wallpaper turns your Android home screen into Mario World, with the famous plumber in action stomping on the poor goombas and koopa troopas, and breaking bricks. See for yourself!
We have already covered this live wallpaper a few months back and it definitely deserves a mention in this list, so check out our review of Super Mario Live Wallpaper for Android for more information as well as a video of the wallpaper in action.
Unfortunately, the version that we covered is not available at the Market so you’ll have to download the APK file and sideload it to your device.
Doom Live Wallpaper
Want something bloodier and more violent than Mario and Pac Droid? How about Doom, with all its demons? Doom Live Wallpaper brings the old classic to your home screen where you can see the hero fire away at all sorts of bloodthirsty beasts as they storm in on him from all directions.
You can not only watch him in action but also help him out by tapping on the screen, which drops power ups. Want to make things tough for him instead? Just move the app shortcuts on your home screen by dragging and dropping them here and there to spawn extra daemons to make his life more of a hell than it has to be. This live wallpaper uses pixel art sprites from Doom and thus, its battery use is quite low compared to other similar live wallpapers, so that you get more Doom nostalgia with little battery loss.
Bonus: StickMan Free
While not exactly a game, the ubiquitous stick man has starred in several games such as hangman, Fancypants Adventures and many more, and now he’s ready to invade your Android home screen as a live wallpaper. Watch him workout, skateboard or just stretch and relax as he attempts to keep himself busy, or even tap on him to interrupt him in his activities.
The free version doesn’t give you many options except for selecting the background from three images already provided but more backgrounds as well as other features such as a more active StickMan, custom background of your choice, or even a StickDog can be bought in the paid version.
Photo Live Wallpapers
While we have already seen in our Ultimate Android Wallpaper guide how to use an app to automatically change the wallpaper after a set interval with images stored on your SD card, it lacks many advanced features such as using online sources to grab images, showing transitions when switching images etc. There are many live wallpapers available that offer the same basic functionality, with these and more added features. We have taken the trouble of checking out literally dozens of such apps to select some of the best for you.
Photos Around Me
Photos Around Me does what it says – showing you interesting Flickr photos from around your street, neighborhood or city. It’s a simple way to learn more about what’s there in the neighborhood or town if you have recently moved there, or even to discover things around you that you never knew were there.
While an image is displaying, you can tap on it to get controls, allowing you to skip to the next or previous image, zoom into the current image, get the information about the image, pause auto-update to keep the current image set as wallpaper or go directly into settings of the wallpaper.
In the settings, you can choose the update interval, specify whether you want to use images from around your street, neighborhood, city, state/region, country or the whole world, set the quality of images to be downloaded based, use images matching only certain keywords or get images from only a particular Flickr user. You can even set to display images randomly or interesting first.
So just Flickr isn’t enough for you eh? How about almost two dozen sources of the most stunning photography, such as Astronomy Picture of the Day, National Geographic Photo of the Day, EarthShots, Kodak Photo of the Day, bing Picture of the day, and many more? Picofday lets you have ‘em all.
You can choose to download pictures on Wi-FI only, store downloaded pictures to SD card, show download progress or even store every downloaded picture on your SD card for a collection.
If the sources already provided in the app aren’t enough for you, you can even suggest new sources and they will be included if enough people are asking for them but with all the sources already there, who needs that?
Photile Live Wallpaper
Feel your current wallpaper getting too stagnant but don’t want to change it? Why not add some twist – and lots of tiles – to it with Photile Live wallpaper! It takes your current wallpaper and lays out several animated tiles on it with a plethora of options to customize the effects.
As you can see, tiles can be set to use random levels of transparency for each. Animations like sliding tiles can be added, with an option to turn your desktop into a tile-sliding puzzle as well, though you will not be able to play it.
Apart from the customization options, there is also a theme chooser with a few pre-installed themes, which are basically just sets of different customizations to directly apply if you are feeling too lazy to do so yourself from the settings. Once you have it all setup the way you want, you can even take a screenshot to save or share with others, right from the settings, which you can launch right from the home screen using a widget that comes bundled with it.
Foto Tiles Slideshow & Live Wallpaper
Update: Taken down from Market.
Want the tiles but not just one image? Foto Tiles Slideshow & Live Wallpaper brings tiles of different images to your home screen. What’s more…you can use photos from your gallery, Picasa or Flickr.
There are plenty of options to choose how to display the tiles including random, Metro, two-by-four and many more. You can choose to display just one photo at a time too, if you want. There is even a built-in editor for further customization of the style, apart from the options provided in the settings. You can also set an app to be launched when the pictures are tapped.
Foto Tiles is actually a full-blown app that can be used standalone for a slideshow as well as a Live wallpaper, and supports all screen sizes. It is one of the most feature-rich Live wallpapers in this list.
PhotoWall Live Wallpaper
Who doesn’t love stacks of Polaroid pictures? With PhotoWall, you can fill your home screen with Polaroids of pictures in your gallery, stacked up randomly and more getting added automatically to the stack with cool fading effects.
Photos can be loaded from the phone’s gallery as well as other sources such as your Picasa Web Albums, your own Facebook photos, your friends’ Facebook photos or Facebook photos tagged of you.
Tapping a photo can open it for viewing and different effects can be applied. The free version includes just a few effects but more effects as well as more ways to display the photos on your home screen can be unlocked by buying the pro version.
Floating Image is similar to some of the other Live wallpapers we have just seen, but there are a few differences. Firstly, while some other Live wallpapers that we have already seen do let you display tiled images from your phone’s Gallery, Facebook, Flickr or Picasa, some can only display your own images from these services, while others display the images in a much more cluttered-up way. If you want to give your images more space, see the 500 top-rated Flickr images or Picasa images matching only certain keywords, Floating Image does that!
There are plenty of options to customize how the images display, including transition modes, shuffling options, speed and frame rate settings.
Floating Image has multi-touch support and uses 3D OpenGL for rendering, resulting in buttery smooth animation and effects, so grab it and bring all your favorite images right to your home screen.
MultiPicture Live Wallpaper
So far, we have covered most of the options one can explore with Picture Live wallpapers but we have missed one. How about having a different image for each of your home screens? While it may seem pointless or even weird to some, there might be others who can use this to add a variety to their screens when scrolling between them. That’s where MultiPicture Live wallpaper comes handy.
It can load the images from your gallery, a folder on your SD card or a Picasa Web Album. You can set different transition animations when scrolling between the screens and change the picture by double-tapping or after a set time interval.
There is one known limitation: if you use a device running HTC Sense 3.0 interface, be warned that MultiPicture Live Wallpaper will not work for you in its current version.
Special: My Water Honeycomb Tablet Live Wallpaper
My Water Live Wallpaper for Honeycomb tablets is a popular live wallpaper that originally came with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer but was quickly ported to other Honeycomb devices in its original form as well as several modified flavors. Here is the original followed by just a few of its variants.
My Water Live Wallpaper works only on Android tablets running Android 3.0 Honeycomb or later. You can grab the original from the XDA-Developers forum and its flavors including the ones shown above as well as all the rest, from the Xoom Forum links given below.
Original My Water Live Wallpaper at XDA-Developers
Flavors of My Water Live Wallpaper at Xoom Forum
That’s it for today’s episode of our Android Wallpaper Weekend. Come back later, when we will take a look at the best functional Live wallpapers available for Android.
UPDATE: Our review of the Best Free and Amazingly Functional Android Live Wallpapers is up so don’t forget to check it out and see how Live wallpapers can add a lot of functionality to your Android home screen that goes beyond mere cosmetics.