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How to Create Your Own Wallpaper App

A collage of different wallpaper designs

You might not think that wallpaper apps would be such a big business. An app that helps people find a good picture to use as a backdrop to their smart device seems like a hard way to make money.

Well, amazingly there are lots of companies making serious money from wallpaper apps. This market has so much potential that even NASA includes a wallpaper feature in its app!

Many of the top wallpaper apps have millions of downloads and counting! And as any good app developer will tell you, once you have people using your app, there are loads of ways to get the cash rolling in!

Are you an entrepreneur or startup that is excited about the popularity of wallpaper apps? If so, you might be wondering how to create your own wallpaper app. Read on, since this is exactly what I will cover in this article.


What is a wallpaper app?
The popularity of wallpaper apps
Examples of popular wallpaper apps
Features desired in a wallpaper app
How to build wallpaper apps without coding
How to develop a wallpaper app from scratch
Planning to storm the market with your killer wallpaper app?

What is a wallpaper app?

Three phone screens with different wallpapers

Wallpaper apps are becoming increasingly popular with smart users. Users often want to change the look of their smartphone screens, and a wallpaper app makes it easy for them to do so.

These apps provide several choices. Users can browse through different images. They can even search based on categories. The app provides easy “download” options, subsequently, users can use the “set up” option to use their preferred image as the wallpaper. Read more about these apps in “9 of the best free wallpaper apps for Android”.

The popularity of wallpaper apps

The popularity of wallpaper apps has been increasing significantly in reent years. 2015 was a very significant year as it saw record wallpaper app user growth of 58%. However, the report found an even more interesting trend!

This concerns the apps belonging to the “Personalization” category. These were the launcher, icon, lock-screen, and wallpaper apps. In 2015, these apps recorded a 332% increase in their session usage, which was more than every other category. Read this report in “Current trends and future prospects of the mobile app market”.

Today, while growth is slowing, it remains extremely impressive. If trends continue, then it looks almost certain that it will be commonplace for all smartphone users to have a wallpaper app on their phone by the early 2020s.

Examples of popular wallpaper apps

An example of Walli wallpaper app

Let‘s review a few popular wallpaper apps. This will help you get some great design ideas.


Walli is a very popular wallpaper app. It offers the following features and advantages:

  • The app has a robust collection of high-quality wallpapers.
  • Walli is available on both Android and iOS.
  • A team carefully selects photographers and illustrators from around the world.
  • Users can download wallpapers for free.
  • Artists can earn money and gain visibility for their work.


AMOLED wallpaper app is available on Android. This app has the following features and advantages:

  • There is a large collection of beautiful wallpapers.
  • It works on all Android devices.
  • Users have over 10 categories of wallpapers to choose from.
  • The app makes it easy to save, set up, and change wallpapers.
  • Users can share wallpapers, and make their list of favorite wallpapers.
  • It‘s a free app, and it offers in-app purchases.


Vellum is one of the most popular wallpaper apps for iPhones. Users get the following advantages:

  • It‘s a free app, however, it enjoys a good reputation.
  • There is a great collection of beautiful wallpapers in this app.
  • Daily additions of new beautiful wallpapers make this app even more interesting.
  • Users can use their blur tool to blur the background.
  • A one-time in-app purchase will provide users with new wallpapers daily as soon as they open the app.
  • Users can also use it on Apple Watch.


A very popular app, Walloop is available on Android. It offers the following advantages:

  • You can get wallpapers, 4k animated GIFs, and videos.
  • The UI is very attractive, and the app loads quickly.
  • It focuses on the essentials of wallpapers and eliminates distractions.
  • Users can easily set wallpapers on their Android phones as well as tablets, moreover, they get a nice preview option.
  • It’s easy to install wallpapers and share them via social media.
  • The app is free.


Resplash for Android is quickly gaining popularity. Note the following features and advantages to this app:

  • It’s free and offers in-app purchases.
  • This app focuses on photography-based wallpapers.
  • Their collection of wallpapers exceeds 100,000, with daily new additions.
  • The app has a very simple “User Interface” (UI).
  • It offers high-resolution wallpaper versions that would work with any phone screen.
  • There are customization options, for e.g., dark mode, layout options, etc.

Features desired in a wallpaper app

The market already has established wallpaper apps, therefore, you need to offer competitive features in your app. Consider including the following features:

  • The app should feature works of high-quality illustrators and photographers.
  • There should a large enough collection of high-quality wallpapers.
  • The screen size of phones vary, therefore, high-resolution images are important.
  • The UI should be elegant and simple.
  • Users should be able to download, set-up, and share wallpapers easily.
  • Many users change wallpapers frequently, therefore, this app should make it easy to do so.
  • The app should load quickly enough.
  • It should also offer in-app purchases and other monetization options so that photographers and illustrators can make money out of their work.
  • Finally, the app is supposed to work on major mobile platforms, i.e., Android and iOS.

Read “10 best wallpaper apps for iPhone to customize your device in 2019” to understand why these features are important.

How to make your own wallpaper apps without coding

For entrepreneurs without access to a skilled development team, using app builders is an easy option. Appy Pie offers such an app builder to build a wallpaper app, with the following features and advantages:

  • It‘s an intuitive app-builder, therefore, you don‘t need programmers.
  • You need to select a layout for the app, add features, and publish it.
  • One can make both Android and iOS apps with this app builder.
  • Users of the app can set wallpapers. They can add video clips, animation, etc.
  • The users of the app can edit photos and crop them.
  • Push notification and email will be available in the app.
  • Appy Pie takes care of the cloud infrastructure.

Visit their pricing page to view their pricing plans, and remember that you can use your branding only with their Platinum plan. You need to follow the “Google Play” publishing guidelines for the Android app, and you need to consult the “Apple App Store” review guidelines for publishing the iOS app.

How to make a wallpaper app from scratch

Three phones with different pop-up icons on their screens

This is the software development approach to create a wallpaper app from scratch. Provided you have a good software development team and development processes, this is the best option to ensure that you create the best wallpaper app. Doing so will give you the best chance of your app becoming a success.

I will now outline the required steps:

Step #1: Use the Agile software development methodology

A mobile app is a ’System of Engagement‘, therefore, you will likely need to frequently enhance and update it. This calls for iterative development. Agile software development is the right approach for this project. Read more about this in “Waterfall vs Agile: which methodology is right for your project”.

Step #2: Build your development team

Your project team should include the following roles:

  • Business analysts;
  • UI/UX designers;
  • iOS developers;
  • Android developers;
  • Testers;
  • A project manager (PM).

You don‘t need to include mobile backend developers and infrastructure architects. I recommend you use a “Mobile Backend as a Service” (MBaaS) provider.

Step #3: Use Kinvey MBaaS for the mobile backend

I recommend you use Kinvey, a reputed MBaaS provider. This will expedite your development process since you will get the following advantages:

  • MBaaS providers handle the entire gamut of cloud infrastructure, including servers, networking, etc. This lets you focus on the development.
  • Good MBaaS providers help you scale your app by using architectural patterns like microservices.
  • MBaaS providers deal with persistent storage, database, etc.
  • You need to deal with user management, your MBaaS provide takes care of it.
  • Security, 3rd party API integration, etc. are other advantages of using an MBaaS provider.

I explained these advantages earlier in my article “How to choose the best Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)?”.

Step #4: Pay attention to the mobile navigation menu

A good UI design is important, and the mobile navigation menu plays a key part in this. There are quite a few mobile navigation menu patterns, for e.g.:

  • Hamburger menu;
  • Tab bar;
  • “Priority +” menu;
  • Full-screen navigation.

You can read more about these in “Mobile navigation menu examples”. Choose an appropriate pattern for your requirement.

Step #5: Use an appropriate color scheme for the UI

An attractive yet easy-on-the-eyes UI is important to attract users to your app and to retain them. There are quite a few color schemes for the mobile app UI, for e.g.:

  • Minimal color usage with focused palettes;
  • High-contrast colors;
  • Subtle colored shadows;
  • Pastel, muted colors.

You should use a color scheme that suits your use case. Read more about these color schemes in “8 trends in mobile app color scheme”.

Step #6: Design great icons for your app

Mobile screens are small, therefore, icons play an important part in conveying the apps‘ functionalities to the users. Design icons following best practices, for e.g.:

  • Exercise restraint in design.
  • Use icons that are universally recognizable.
  • Design icons that users can easily remember.
  • Stick to a simple design, and use the right tools for icon design.
  • Keep your icons consistent with the overall UI design.
  • iOS and Android icon design guidelines vary, and you should factor this in while designing.
  • Some icons already have strong associations with certain functionalities. An envelope icon for email is a good example. Keep these associations in mind while designing.

You can read more such best practices in “How to design the perfect icon for your mobile app?”.

Step #7: Use the best practices for Android UI design

Android UI design should follow the material design guidelines. You should focus on the following aspects:

  • Layouts;
  • Material design color systems;
  • Making your UI expressive using motions;
  • Design of the bottom navigation;

You can get some important tips from “How to convert user interface from iOS to Android?”.

Step #8: Design the iOS UI following the “Human Interface Guidelines”

You should design the iOS app UI following the “Human Interface Guidelines” on the “Apple Developer Portal”. Your team should pay attention to the following:

  • Using iOS design themes like clarity, deference, and depth work;
  • Complying with iOS design principles like aesthetic integrity, consistency, and user control;
  • Using interface essentials like bars, views, and controls;
  • Handling the loading of content effectively.

Consult our guide “How to convert user interface from Android to iOS?” for more details.

Step #9: Use Android Studio to develop the wallpaper app for Android

If you’re wondering how to make a wallpaper for Android, this is what I recommend:

  • Using an “Integrated Development Environment” (IDE) speeds up the mobile app development, therefore, consider using “Android Studio”.
  • Develop the Android app using Kotlin, a modern language. You can read “Get started with Kotlin on Android” for tips.

Step #10: Use Swift and Xcode for iOS development

Consider the following app development software for the iOS development:

  • Swift is the modern language championed by Apple, and I suggest you use it.
  • Use Xcode, the IDE that expedites iOS development.

Step #11: Use “Application Programming Interfaces” (APIs) for stock images

You need to offer high-quality images in your wallpaper app. I recommend you use APIs from providers of stock images. You can use either of the following options:

API option #1: Getty Images API

Getty Images, the reputed stock image provider offers their APIs. You can integrate this in your wallpaper app. Their documentation provides the following resources:

  • Open API documentation;
  • API overview;
  • OAuth2 access;
  • SDKs, sample codes.

API option #2: Shutterstock API

Shutterstock, another well-known provider of stock images, also offers APIs. You can access it here. Read their documentation to get guidance about the following:

  • How to use the API;
  • Authentication;
  • Using search capabilities;
  • Licensing and downloading;
  • Editor integration.

Step #12: Manage the project using “Scrum” technique

I suggest you use “Scrum” technique to manage this Agile software development project. You need to take the following steps:

  • Form a cross-functional “Scrum” team where the PM performs the role of “Scrum master”. Read “How to build a Scrum development team?” to know more.
  • The “Product owner” provides the requirements in a “Product Backlog”, subsequently, the team estimates and prioritizes these. They plan “Sprints”, i.e., iterations in a “Sprint planning meeting”.
  • During the sprint, the team conducts a “Daily stand-up meeting” to discuss project status.
  • Once the team develops and tests the features, they demonstrate them in a “Sprint review meeting”. Project stakeholders approve the sprint if the features are working.
  • The team conducts a lessons-learned exercise called “Sprint retrospective meeting” after the sprint.
  • Use Jira to manage the project. It‘s a robust Agile project management tool.

Planning to storm the market with your killer wallpaper app?

The market for wallpaper apps is highly competitive.

The most famous apps are well established, and most are free. You need to offer highly original and useful features, and ensure that you build a great app to make a mark in this market.

Naturally, that will make the project complex, therefore, consider engaging a development partner. Read our guide “How to find the best software development company?” to learn how you can find the right development partner.

Best of luck with your project.