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How to customize your Lock Screen on iPhone and iPad

Ios 16 Iphone 13 Pro Hero
(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

The Lock Screen is the first thing that you see when you pick up your favorite iPhone. It also gives you fast and convenient access to features like the Camera app, Siri, Control Center, and so much more. You can also prevent unauthorized access to your iPhone or iPad's private contents with the Lock Screen, since a passcode or biometrics are needed to get past it.

Since the Lock Screen is such a vital part of your best iPhone experience, it's important to tweak it to your liking. With iOS 15, you can easily change the wallpaper or disable certain features if you prefer to not have a lot of information on your Lock Screen. At WWDC22 we learned that with iOS 16 on the way, you'll be able to experience an entirely new Lock Screen as you can customize the typeface and colors, add widgets, and so much more.

If you are curious about the new iOS 16 Lock Screen features, you can download the developer or public betas right now. We have included steps for iOS 16-specific features further down in this guide, so you can have fun creating your perfect Lock Screen.

Here's how to customize your Lock Screen on iPhone and iPad.

How to change the wallpaper on your Lock Screen in iOS 15 and earlier

Your iPhone or iPad comes with Apple's default wallpaper on the Lock Screen. Still, you can change it to another image from Apple's gallery, one of a few motion wallpapers, or even a Live Photo that animates when you long-press it.

  1. Launch Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap Wallpaper.
  3. Tap Choose a New Wallpaper.

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap on the location of the new wallpaper you want to choose:
    • Dynamic: Circles that float around the screen and respond to the motion of your device.
    • Stills: Apple's gallery of images.
    • Live: Apple's gallery of Live Photo images that animate when you long-press them.
    • Libraries: All the images contained in your Photos app, including selfies, and your Live Photos.
  2. Tap on the image you want to use.
  3. If you're not happy with the default settings, adjust your options:
    • Move and Scale: If it's one of your photos, you can slide it around and pinch-to-zoom in and out to frame it exactly the way you want it.
    • Motion: Select if you want it still (no motion effect), perspective (moves slightly as you move your phone), or Live Photo (if available, animates on 3D Touch).

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Set.
  2. Tap Set Lock Screen if you only want to change the Lock screen wallpaper, Set Home Screen if you only want to change your Home screen wallpaper or choose Set Both to change the Home screen wallpaper as well.

(Image credit: iMore)

How to set Auto-Lock time

You can turn the screen off on your iPhone or iPad at any time, but by default, it'll turn off automatically after two minutes to save on power. If that time limit doesn't suit you, it's easy to change.

Note: You can't change Auto-Lock time when in Low Power Mode.

  1. Launch Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap on Display & Brightness.

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap on Auto Lock.
  2. Tap on the timing you prefer:
    • 30 Seconds
    • 1 Minute
    • 2 Minutes
    • 3 Minutes
    • 4 Minutes
    • 5 Minutes
    • Never

(Image credit: iMore)

How to turn off access to Notification Center, Control Center, Siri, and more on the Lock Screen

Notification Center makes it easy to get to your recent alerts without unlocking your phone. Control Center allows you quick access to settings, media controls, and home accessories from your Lock Screen. But, they also let other people access all of that just as quickly.

If that's a concern, you can make it so that areas like Notification Center and Control Center can't be pulled up from the Lock screen and turn off Lock screen access for Siri, Wallet, and more.

  1. Launch Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap Face ID & Passcode or Touch ID & Passcode.

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Enter your passcode.
  2. Tap the switch next to the control you want to restrict under Allow Access When Locked. These are your choices:
    • Today View and Search: Your widgets and Spotlight search.
    • Notification Center: Any notifications you've received.
    • Control Center: Your quick-access controls for things like Wi-Fi, music playback, and screen brightness.
    • Lock Screen Widgets: In iOS 16, you'll be able to have widgets on your Lock Screen with glanceable information.
    • Siri: Turning this off means you'll have to unlock your device to use Siri.
    • Reply with Message: This allows you to reply straight from a notification on the Lock screen.
    • Home Control: Control your HomeKit accessories like smart lights or garage door openers.
    • Wallet: Bring up the Wallet app on your iPhone for quick payment.
    • Return Missed Calls: Turning this off will stop you from returning a missed call from a notification without unlocking your iPhone.
    • USB Accessories: Turning this on allows your device to connect to USB accessories even if it has been locked for more than an hour.

(Image credit: iMore)

Later, if you change your mind, you can repeat the same steps to turn any of the above settings back on.

How to manage notifications for the Lock Screen

Having your notifications pop up on the Lock Screen is incredibly convenient...unless it reveals private and confidential information you'd rather not have disclosed. For example, it could be the name of a contact or the content of a message. Whatever the case, you can turn them off in settings — unfortunately, only one at a time.

  1. Launch Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap on Notifications
  3. Tap on the app whose notifications you want to disable from the Lock screen.

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the Lock Screen icon. The blue check badge that was under that icon will disappear.
  2. Tap Notification Grouping.
  3. Tap Automatic, By App, or Off to decide whether or not notifications should be grouped and how on the Lock screen and Notification Center.

(Image credit: iMore)

Note: Some apps may have additional privacy options (i.e., for Messages, you can turn off previews).

Repeat for any and every app whose alerts you want to keep off your Lock Screen or change how they're grouped.

How to add a new Lock Screen in iOS 16

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas (opens in new tab). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

One of the big new features in iOS 16 comes in the form of a brand new Lock Screen. In fact, you can now have multiple Lock Screens, with each of them fully customizable to suit your tastes and preferences. Here's how to add a new Lock Screen in iOS 16.

  1. Unlock your iPhone or iPad with either Touch ID or Face ID, or even your passcode. But do not go to the Home Screen yet.
  2. Press and hold on your Lock Screen. This is like how you change an Apple Watch face, and the interface is also similar.
  3. Either swipe all the way to the right until it says Add New, or simply tap the blue plus button.

(Image credit: iMore)

From here, you'll follow the steps below to customize your Lock Screen interface.

How to customize your new Lock Screen interface in iOS 16

On top of being able to have multiple Lock Screens, each one is can be completely personalized to your liking, from the wallpaper to the typeface for the clock, and you can even add widgets.

  1. Use the steps above to make a new Lock Screen.
  2. Select a new wallpaper to use. You can pull images from your Photo Library, or use one of Apple's collections or suggested photos.
  3. Once you pick a wallpaper, tap the Clock to pick a new Font & Color.
    • You can tap the Globe to choose between Arabic, Arabic Indic, or Devangari.
    • Simply tap the typeface you want to use, as well as the color. If you don't like the default colors available, use the color picker.

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the Date to change the widget. By default, it is set to the standard Calendar date widget.
  2. Tap the empty box underneath the time to add a widget.
  3. Lock Screen widgets are similar to Apple Watch complications. They will give you glanceable bits of information right on the Lock Screen. You can only fit two of the larger widgets, or four smaller (square) ones.

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Swipe left or right on your Lock Screen to change the color filter. If you chose a default Apple Wallpaper from a collection, this will cycle through all available options for that particular wallpaper.
  2. Tap on the Photos icon icon in the bottom left corner (it looks like a photograph on top of another) to select a different photo you'd like to use.
  3. Tap the ••• button in the bottom right corner to enable or disable Perspective Zoom/Depth Effect.
  4. Tap Done to save your changes. Optionally, tap Cancel if you change your mind.

(Image credit: iMore)

How to customize an existing Lock Screen in iOS 16

If you already have a Lock Screen set up but want to change it, you can do that too.

  1. Unlock your iPhone or iPad via Touch ID, Face ID, or passcode, but do not go to the Home Screen yet.
  2. Press and hold on your Lock Screen.
  3. Make sure you're on the Lock Screen you want to change, then tap Customize.

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the Clock to pick a new Font & Color.
    • You can tap the Globe to choose between Arabic, Arabic Indic, or Devangari.
    • Simply tap the typeface you want to use, as well as the color. If you don't like the default colors available, use the color picker.
  2. Tap the Date to change the widget. By default, it is set to the standard Calendar date widget.
  3. Tap the empty box underneath the time to add a widget.
    • Lock Screen widgets are similar to Apple Watch complications. They will give you glanceable bits of information right on the Lock Screen. You can only fit two of the larger widgets, or four smaller (square) ones.

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Swipe left or right on your Lock Screen to change the color filter. If you chose a default Apple Wallpaper from a collection, this will cycle through all available options for that particular wallpaper.
  2. Tap on the Photos icon icon in the bottom left corner (it looks like a photograph on top of another) to select a different photo you'd like to use.
  3. Tap the ••• button in the bottom right corner to enable or disable Perspective Zoom/Depth Effect.
  4. Tap Done to save your changes. Optionally, tap Cancel if you change your mind.

Customize Lock Screen in iOS 16: Swipe left and right for filters on wallpaper, tap photos to change wallpaper image, tap ... to enable perspective zoom and depth effect, tap Done to save

(Image credit: iMore)

Optionally, you can also go to Settings, then Wallpaper to change your Lock Screen. You'll get all of the same options as mentioned above.

How to link a Lock Screen to a Focus mode in iOS 16

Along with customizable and multiple Lock Screens, you can link particular Lock Screens to a select Focus mode that you have set up.

  1. Unlock your iPhone or iPad via Touch ID, Face ID, or passcode, but do not go to the Home Screen yet.
  2. Press and hold on your Lock Screen.
  3. Make sure you're on the Lock Screen you want to change, then tap ** Link Focus**.
  4. Select the Focus that you want that Lock Screen to be linked to.

(Image credit: iMore)

At the moment, you can only link one Focus to a Lock Screen, but you can link multiple Lock Screens to a single Focus. However, when you activate a Focus, it only picks one associated Lock Screen. I believe this is an oversight, and it is the early stages of the beta testing phase, so this may be an oversight for now and change later.

How to change the wallpaper on your Lock Screen in iOS 16

If you want to change just the wallpaper on your current Lock Screen, you can still do that from the Settings app, but it's a little different.

  1. Make sure you're on the Lock Screen you want to change the wallpaper for.
  2. Launch Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  3. Tap Wallpaper.

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Customize under your Lock Screen, if you want to set separate wallpapers for your Lock Screen and Home Screen, tap Customize under either Lock Screen or Home Screen.
  2. If you want a single wallpaper for both the Lock and Home Screens, tap Add New Wallpaper.
  3. You can choose from an Apple default wallpaper or choose from your own Photo Library.

(Image credit: iMore)

Make the Lock Screen completely yours

With all current versions of iOS, like iOS 15, it's easy to get your Lock Screen set up just the way you want with your favorite wallpapers, customized notifications, and other settings. But iOS 16 definitely will be taking things to an entirely new level by letting you change the typeface and colors of information on the Lock Screen, and you can even have glanceable widgets. There will also be a new notification style called Live Activities that are widget-like in appearance and interactive, though limited to specific Apple apps.

Regardless, customizing the Lock Screen to suit your personal tastes is well worth it, considering that it's the first thing you see every time you pick up your phone. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the new possibilities that you could do with the Lock Screen now, I'd recommend taking a look at what others have come up with in the /r/iOSsetups subreddit. This is a great place to just find inspiration on cool Home Screen setups, and now Lock Screens.

Updated July 2022: Added screenshots for iOS 16 betas.