Stop Zoomed Wallpaper Resizing on iPhone & iPad with a Workaround

Dec 23, 2015 - 55 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

This trick works the same for both iPhone and iPad with iOS and iPadOS:

  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 Volume Up & Power Button (or Home button and Power button, depending on device and model) 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


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Irene says:

    Τhank you so much!

  2. Tracy says:

    Genius! Thank you!

  3. Gia says:

    This is the most useful tip ever

  4. Al x says:

    Never mind, sorted.

  5. Al x says:

    Pushing power and up volume just gave me an option to slide off power.

  6. Danielle Davis says:

    Thank you for this, it worked perfectly!!

  7. Katrina says:

    It won’t work on the iPhone XS Max because there is no home button.

  8. Rxptxs says:

    Hello i have spent a total or 23 minutes trying to find exactly how to do this thank you so much it really helped

  9. Chris says:

    Your a genius, been driving me nuts trying to figuring something out.
    Way to think outside the box! Thank you

  10. LaRonda Brooks says:

    Didn’t work for me ☹️

  11. VGK says:

    Thanks a ton buddy!

  12. lostie says:

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you 🙏🏽

  13. Jeremy says:

    This is wonderful! Thank you so much! This made my life a little better :)

  14. Nasos says:

    Very good! Thank you!

  15. Shel lee says:

    So easy! You’re a genius problem solver, Thank you!

  16. Raquel says:

    Thank you so much!!

  17. Shane says:

    Great workaround, thanks mr Horowitz!

  18. Mark Berlin says:

    It worked. Thanks.

  19. Miranda says:

    Omg thanks so much, I was struggling. This helped a lot!

  20. Dena says:

    I apologize… I tried one more time for some reason. And this time it worked!

    I think I jumped the gun. Sorry!

  21. Edi says:

    Thanks a lot! That is the best solution!!!!!!!!

  22. Ellie says:

    Just tried this and it did nit work on my new iPhone 8 plus. Is there another way to sop the awful zoom?

    • nt says:

      Ellie, if you take a screenshot of the photo when it is zoomed out and use that zoomed out image screenshot, it will work on the Plus size iPhone model.

  23. Rob Foster says:

    Hack still works in 2019.
    Many thanks for showing how to get round an annoying Apple problem.

  24. Eden says:

    Thank you ! I cant believe all this time later Apple just don’t give a toss about all their customers who HATE this issue. I got quite riled up by it when it first happened, tried a few different apps that were supposed to fix it, but nothing ever did, until now ! Sure this IS a workaround as you say, but the operative word is WORK ! Now I can finally enjoy pictures I actually like as wallpaper. Maybe Apple should employ you … just sayin 😉

  25. Jennifer says:

    You’re freaking awesome

  26. neal says:

    GENIUS LEVEL HACK! thank you.

  27. ELIJAH says:

    Thank You So Much !

  28. Guin says:

    GENIUS! I’ve been trying to re-size a photo for wallpaper for a week now. Thank you!

  29. Sunil says:

    Awesome tip. Thank you so much!

  30. Mike says:

    Dude, you are a genius. It was frustrating the crap out of me. Thank you!

  31. Rohit says:

    Saved my day!!!

  32. 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!

  33. Olivia says:

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

  34. srikar says:

    Thanks man really appreciate , the best solution :)

  35. Jay says:


  36. Ryan says:

    Which photos app r u talking about??

  37. Narda says:

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

  38. Keirya says:

    this actually worked thanks so much ! ❤️

  39. Paresh says:

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

  40. Enrique says:

    Maaaaaaany thanks!

  41. 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.

  42. 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!

  43. Lynn Davis says:

    Thank you sooooo much

  44. Bruce says:

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

  45. 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

  46. jojo ico says:

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

  47. Kat says:

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

  48. 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

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

  50. 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!

  51. 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.

  52. Sacha says:

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

  53. 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!

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