Stop Zoomed Wallpaper Resizing on iPhone & iPad with a Workaround

Dec 23, 2015 - 22 Comments

Zoomed wallpaper on iPhone vs zoomed out whole image was wallpaper on iPhone

The new versions of iOS zoom into a wallpaper image when it is set as the wallpaper on both the lock screen and home screen of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, effectively resizing the image. While this can make efficient use of some sized images and look great with certain types of pictures, the zooming wallpapers do not look so great with portraits, group photos, and just pictures of people or multiple subjects in general. While there’s no direct way to stop the zooming, there’s a little workaround trick you can utilize to stop the wallpaper image from being zoomed into on an iPhone or iPad, here’s how it works.


For this example walkthrough, we’ll use an iPhone and set this picture of The Beatles from UPI Wikipedia commons as the wallpaper, since most people who have bothered by the wallpaper zooming feature in iOS encounter it when using a group picture of people.

Workaround to Set a Whole Image as Wallpaper Without Zooming / Resizing to Fit the Screen in iOS

  1. Open the Photos app in iOS if you haven’t done so already
  2. Locate and open the the picture you want to set as the wallpaper without the zoom effect on the iPhone or iPad
  3. Tap on the picture to hide the editing and sharing tools, this will place a black border around the picture
  4. Now press the Home button and Power button concurrently to take a screenshot of the onscreen picture with the black border around it
  5. Now locate the screen shot of the picture you just created in Photos app Camera Roll, tap on it, choose the Sharing button, then choose “Set As Wallpaper” – no more zooming!

While this prevents the wallpaper picture from being zoomed in on, the obvious downside is that you’ll have a black border on the image.

Zoomed wallpaper on iPhone vs zoomed out whole image was wallpaper on iPhone

The before and after seen above demonstrates how dramatic the difference is, with the prior picture so zoomed in you can’t see half the faces, whereas the screenshot image is appropriately sized with no zoomed effect. You can see the effect by hitting the Power button once the wallpaper has been set to enable the lockscreen.

Note this is not the same as turning off the face-zoom feature on the iPad picture frame.

This is obviously very much a workaround, but it’s necessary for now until (if) iOS changes the way that wallpaper images are handled. The zoomed wallpapers have been in place for multiple major versions now, so don’t expect a change anytime soon. For now, just take a screenshot of the picture on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and use that as the wallpaper instead, no zooming.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

22 Comments

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  1. Rhiannon says:

    Thanks. Interesting solution to the wallpaper zoom issue on iPhone, which has been around since Apple made iOS look like a solar reflector. I have always been surprised they didn’t introduce various framing options for pictures, because surely many people want to set family shots and horizontal pics as their lock screen, but inevitably the people who are not centered in the photo get cropped out! Not very family-friendly, Apple!

    iOS wallpaper and lock screen wallpaper zoom and sizing should have a few options much like setting wallpaper on a desktop Mac or Windows: fit, zoom to fit, scale, scale to fit, actual size, manual adjust, etc

    That would be nice, but for now I will use this method for the family pics!

  2. Sacha says:

    Thank you so much! This zoom function drove me nuts. I liked the old wallpaper sizing on iOS much better.

  3. Rod Dalitz says:

    In my opinion, the zoom is the result of one person’s input. I strongly suspect that Steve Jobs would have spotted this and vetoed it. Actually, there are too many clicky features recently which I am sure Steve Jobe would have vetoed.

    Hey, Apple, please try to hew the purist path.

  4. OldGeez says:

    I’m so glad I stayed on iOS 7.1.2 with my iPhone 5.

    Works. I can totally resize or “unzoom” any pic when I set the wallpaper. I can’t believe they took that ability away!

  5. I think Steve Jobs is third on the left,before the byrds one?

  6. Ann Marie says:

    My Iphone6s screen is on zoom. I can’t get to setting, because the zoom is so big, I can only see one icon. How do I unzoom the screen

  7. Kat says:

    Thank you! This is the only method that has worked :)

  8. jojo ico says:

    I have tried different pic sizes and almost gave up. This one simple solution worked.

  9. Linda says:

    I went to library pics on bottom of screen took a picture then settings choose it for home screen and it fits perfect

  10. Bruce says:

    Finally! Nice work guys; makes life a little easier.

  11. Lynn Davis says:

    Thank you sooooo much

  12. Jordan Belford says:

    Bro you Rock// you saved me a huge headache!! My girlfriend has been trying to scale this image of us for her lockscreen for the last 10min and interrupted my evening football, but you came through in the clutch; Kobe!

  13. Doh says:

    This doesn’t work. On the latest iOS it always zoom because when u set the wall paper you have to set it in portrait orientation and when phone rotates to landscape it takes whatever was in portrait rotate it and zoom. No matter what size is the original will be cropped to portrait first during setting the wallpaper so this fix doesn’t work.

  14. Enrique says:

    Maaaaaaany thanks!

  15. Paresh says:

    Thanks. Simple yet effective workaround. Worked for my 6+ perfectly

  16. Keirya says:

    this actually worked thanks so much ! ❤️

  17. Narda says:

    I’m absolutely annoyed at apple for this new feature. Nevertherless, Thank you so much! It works!

  18. Ryan says:

    Which photos app r u talking about??

  19. srikar says:

    Thanks man really appreciate , the best solution :)

  20. Olivia says:

    Thank you for this fix! The zooming was so irritating and I tried cropping in different apps and nothing worked.

  21. Elina says:

    Thank you so much! I was so upset on this issue as I have so many lovely pics in my library but I wasn’t been able to resize them up to the screen format! Great solution!

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