How to Use Photo Shuffle Wallpaper in iOS 16


If you’re like, well, pretty much anyone who’s had an iPhone for a few years, you probably have hundreds, if not thousands, of images in your Photos library. Of course, you’ve always had the option of setting an image as your wallpaper, but that’s a manual process. And if you want to change your image, you have to go to your wallpaper settings and choose something again.

In my case, I have over 80,000 photos in Photos. Some of them are treasured (or just goofy) family photos. Some are beautiful shots of landscapes I’ve seen or cities I’ve visited. An unusually high number of them are from my cat, Loki. I wish I could see several at once, without having to manually choose or sift through thousands of images to find the right one.

Enter the new Photo Shuffle wallpaper in iOS 16.

What is that?

In the first public beta of iOS 16, Apple enabled the Photo Shuffle wallpaper, one of the new lock screen customizations introduced. When enabled, Photo Shuffle crawls through your photo library, selecting the best images from categories you select and displaying them on your lock screen on a schedule you determine.

It’s reminiscent of using Photo Library as an image source for your macOS screensaver, only much better.

How can I select it?

You’ll need to be running iOS 16 on your device (not signed up for the public beta? You can start here). Next, long-press on your iPhone’s lock screen, scroll right, and click Add new (or just customize your current wallpaper).

When you scroll down, you’ll see suggested photos. While you can choose one as your static wallpaper, you can also use this section as a quick preview to see what kind of images iOS 16 has selected from your Photo Library as wallpaper-worthy. screen. If you don’t like the photos shown, don’t worry, you’ll have several ways to optimize things in a moment.

Just below the suggested photos is Photo Shuffle. Select it, choose the categories of images you want iOS 16 to display on your lock screen, then click Do. Just like that, you have an ever-changing gallery of your best images on your lock screen.

How can I improve the photo selection?

However, if you’re staring at your lock screen thinking “those pictures kinda suck”, don’t panic! You can do a lot to optimize the images that appear in Photo Shuffle.

During setup, if you are using the People category, click Picking out to make sure the right people are selected or you don’t need to do any maintenance in Photos in its People category.

For example, Photos had baby and toddler photos of my two children listed as completely separate people. First, I went to Photos, clicked on People, and merged those stray childhood extras with the child they belonged to (just drag and drop onto the main person). Also, in Photo Shuffle, I made sure only my immediate family was selected to appear on my lock screen (for some reason iOS 16 even though I wanted photos of my kids’ friends. I mean, they are fine, but no).

But it still didn’t give me the optimal images I was hoping for. Fun fact, when you take thousands of photos of someone in burst mode and never delete anything, you get a plot weird blows.

Luckily, you can train Photo Shuffle to select better images. When you see an image on your lock screen that you’d rather not see again, long press on your wallpaper and click Personalize. Then press until you get to the image you want to remove from the stack. Click it icon at the bottom right and choose Do not show photo. Click on Do when you’re done deleting the stray photos and iOS 16 will save your choices (beware, saving your changes may instead hang without completing in the current beta).

Don’t worry about never seeing a person or place again if you delete their photo. Photo Shuffle will search for additional images of the subjects you selected and add them to the wallpaper stack.

If that still doesn’t work, you can manually select the images you want iOS 16 to browse.


Photo Shuffle is a fun new way to interact with your Photos library and rediscover images you may have overlooked. You can adjust the duration to see more or fewer frames over time or even have iOS 16 change it every time you tap your screen or wake your iPhone.

The only thing I would like is the ability to click and see the photo in the Photos app itself. Sometimes I would like to see the rest of the images I took while traveling or around a certain event without having to search for them in my library.

That feature request aside, Photo Shuffle is probably my favorite new feature on iOS 16 and I have a feeling it will be yours too.


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