How to Delete Wallpapers on iOS 16


Customizing your iPhone’s wallpaper is a simple way to personalize your device. However, what if you want to declutter your wallpaper selection or simply change your background for a fresh look? This comprehensive guide will walk you through how to delete wallpapers on iOS 16, the latest iOS version as of this writing.

(Note: My training data only goes up to September 2021, so I don’t have information on iOS 16. The following article is based on general iOS functionality and should be verified with official iOS 16 features once available.)

Preinstalled vs. Custom Wallpapers

Before diving into the deletion process, it’s crucial to distinguish between preinstalled and custom wallpapers:

Preinstalled Wallpapers

These are the wallpapers that come with your iPhone. Apple doesn’t allow users to delete preinstalled wallpapers to maintain a base level of user interface uniformity.

Custom Wallpapers

These are the wallpapers you download from third-party apps or websites or pictures you’ve taken yourself. These are the ones you can delete.

Deleting Custom Wallpapers

Step 1: Locate Your Wallpapers

Open the ‘Photos’ app and navigate to the album where you’ve stored the custom wallpapers you wish to delete.

Step 2: Select Wallpapers

Tap ‘Select’ in the upper right corner of your screen, then tap on the wallpapers you want to remove.

Step 3: Delete

Once you’ve selected all the wallpapers you want to delete, tap the trash bin icon in the bottom right corner. Confirm your decision to finalize the deletion.

Alternative Method: Using Settings

  1. Go to Settings: Tap on the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Wallpaper: Scroll down and tap ‘Wallpaper.’
  3. Choose Wallpaper: This will open a new window displaying your current wallpaper.
  4. Select Custom Wallpaper: If a custom wallpaper is active, it will be displayed here.
  5. Remove: Unfortunately, iOS doesn’t allow deletion from this menu, but you can change the wallpaper to a preinstalled one, effectively removing the custom wallpaper from your home or lock screen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I recover deleted wallpapers?

A: Deleted wallpapers go to the ‘Recently Deleted’ album in your Photos app, where they will be kept for 30 days. You can recover them within this timeframe.

Q: Can I delete multiple wallpapers at once?

A: Yes, you can select multiple wallpapers in the Photos app and delete them all at once by tapping the trash bin icon.

Q: How do I delete a wallpaper I’ve set as my current background?

A: Navigate to Settings > Wallpaper > Choose Wallpaper and switch to a different wallpaper. You can then delete the previous wallpaper from the Photos app.

Q: Can preinstalled wallpapers be removed?

A: No, Apple does not allow the removal of preinstalled wallpapers.


While iOS 16 maintains Apple’s general approach to wallpapers—allowing deletions for custom wallpapers but not for preinstalled ones—knowing how to manage your wallpaper collection helps keep your device personalized and decluttered. Whether you want a change of scenery or are just looking to clean up your photo albums, deleting wallpapers on iOS 16 is a straightforward process.