Where Is iPhone Wallpaper Stored?
By Rebecca Mecomber
With Apple's high-resolution, patented Retina display technology, images on the iPhone pop with bright colors and sharp resolution. Choose from the iPhone's default wallpaper selection or create your own vivid lock or home screen displays with the iPhone's camera or screenshot capabilities. View the default wallpapers within the "Settings" app. The iPhone stores other images in various albums depending on your usage and the purpose they serve.
On the iPhone
The default wallpaper images that come installed with every iPhone are in the Wallpapers album. Access these images by tapping "Settings | Brightness & Wallpaper | Wallpaper | Wallpaper." Also listed are other albums that contain assorted images: Camera Roll, My Photos, and -- if activated -- your Photo Stream. If you have added other albums, these appear here as well. The Camera Roll album stores photos and videos you've taken on your iPhone, saved images from emails and texts, and screenshot images. The My Photos albums are images you've synced from iTunes and your computer. Photo Stream contains the images you've shared on iCloud and synced to other devices, such as an iPad or computer. Access these photo albums by tapping the Photos app. Set as wallpaper by tapping an album tab, the image, the small settings icon and "Use as Wallpaper." Alternatively, you may set any image as wallpaper by tapping the "Settings" app and selecting "Brightness & Wallpaper." Tap the wallpaper graphic that shows the lock and home screens and then choose any photo from any album. Tap the photo and choose "Set" and select from "Set Lock Screen," "Set Home Screen" or "Set Both."
On the Cloud
If you have enabled Photo Stream through Apple's iCloud service, your most recent 1000 images are automatically synced and stored online. Access your available images by typing iCloud.com in your Web browser. Sign in with your Apple ID and click "Photo Stream." To turn on Photo Stream, tap the "Settings" app, "iCloud" and "Photo Stream." Slide the toggle to "On" and the iPhone will upload the photos and screenshots you take to the iCloud service. Photo Stream automatically syncs all images and downloads them to all your other iCloud-connected devices. If you edit or delete an image in Photo Stream, this change affects the image on all your devices.
On Your Computer
When you plug in your iPhone to your computer, Windows views the device as a portable, external drive and displays available media. To view your wallpaper images, plug in the iPhone to the computer and click "Computer" from the "Start" menu. Double-click your iPhone under "Portable Device." Click the various folders to view the Camera Roll and other albums on your phone. The iPhone does not allow you to view or delete the default wallpaper images in the Wallpaper album, as these files are included in the iOS.
In the Backup File
When you back up your iPhone from iTunes, the device saves your wallpaper and other images in the backup files. Depending on your settings, these images are stored either on your computer via iTunes or on iCloud via Wi-Fi syncing. Backed-up files are compressed and, in some cases, encrypted, so although your wallpaper images are saved, they are not accessible as individual, readable image files.
This information refers to Apple iOS 6.0.1 software for the iPhone 5. Information and instructions may vary depending on your particular device and operating system.
Rebecca Mecomber, a former radio broadcaster, has been a professional blogger and writer since 2006. Her articles and interviews have appeared in "The Wall Street Journal," Salon.com and several other publications, covering topics such as Federal Trade Commission policy and media regulations, blogging, home improvement and New York travel.