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Pixel phones could soon let you set different live wallpapers on home and lock screens

Aug 24, 2023

December’s Pixel Feature Drop could make our dreams come true

Wallpapers play a big role in helping you personalize your Android phone, and that’s especially true since the advent of Material You dynamic theming, which colorizes app interfaces and icons using colors pulled from your wallpaper. That’s part of the reason Android updates often include new wallpapers. However, Android doesn’t yet let you set one live wallpaper as your lock screen, and another as your home screen background. We now have a ballpark estimate of when this feature could make its way to Android, at least on Pixel phones.

By default, Android allows you to set separate static backgrounds for the home and lock screens, or a static image on the lock screen and a live wallpaper on the home screen. You can even set up the same live wallpaper on both, enjoying a smooth animation when you unlock your device. However, it is impossible to set one live wallpaper as your lock screen and another as your home screen background. Effectively, Android prohibits the simultaneous use of two live wallpapers.

We spotted code commits back in March suggesting this behavior could change. Now, Android alpha geek Mishaal Rahman has spotted a Google IssueTracker post suggesting the feature has been implemented in the Android quarterly platform release (QPR) that’s currently in development. If everything goes to plan, that would be the underlying QPR for the December 2023 Pixel Feature Drop.

This conversation between the IssueTracker author, a Samsung engineer, and the Google staffer, likely wasn’t meant for the world to see because it seems to reference the wrong ticket ID. While most of us will have to wait until the official release of this feature, Rahman points out that people comfortable with root access to their phones can enable the following toggle in current Android 14 public beta builds to enable the feature.


It might seem like a minor change, but the ability to apply live wallpapers on your home and lock screens independent of each other will be a great move for customization enthusiasts. For instance, you could have an informative lock screen wallpaper with plenty of glanceable information, while your home screen uses Android 14’s new emoji wallpapers to ensure app icons stand out, prioritizing function over form. It should also tie in nicely with Android 14’s new lock screen personalization options. That said, timelines could shift, and this cannot be treated as a promise for a rollout in December.

Chandraveer is a mechanical design engineer with a passion for all things Android including devices, launchers, theming, apps, and photography. When he isn't typing away on his mechanical keyboard’s heavy linear switches, he enjoys discovering new music, improving his keyboard, and rowing through his hatchback’s gears on twisty roads.