iPhone 101: Syncing Photos & Wallpapers to Your iPhone/iPod touch


Getting photos or wallpapers to your iPhone/iPod touch isn’t initially very obvious, but it’s actually quite easy. Once you have the photos or wallpapers you want, you can either use a software program to organize them (such as Aperture or iPhoto) or organize them yourself into folders and sub-folders.

Syncing Photos to Your iPhone

You can sync photos via iTunes to your iPhone from your iPhoto or Aperture libraries, your Pictures folder, or from any folder you select.

  1. Open iTunes and plug in your iPhone.
  2. Once your iPhone is mounted and you see the iPhone icon in the “Devices” list, click on your phone’s name.
  3. Click the tab labeled “Photos”
  4. Check the checkbox labeled “Sync photos from: “
  5. Select the source of your photos.
  6. Click the “Apply” button to sync the photos to your iPhone or iPod touch

If you are using iPhoto or Aperture, I highly recommend making albums with only the photos you’d like to sync to your iPhone. Syncing your entire photo library is not only time consuming, but it could also take up a substantial amount of disk space on your iPhone.

I created an album titled “iPhone Wallpapers” specifically for my wallpapers. It helps me keep them separate from all my other galleries and makes changing my wallpaper a snap.

Setting Your iPhone Wallpaper

Once you have the photos synced to your iPhone or iPod touch, setting your wallpaper is a breeze.

  1. Open the Photos application
  2. Browse to the photo you’d like to set as your wallpaper
  3. With the photo selected and enlarged, click it once to bring up the menu
  4. Click the arrow icon in the bottom-left to bring up the action menu
  5. Click “Use As Wallpaper”
  6. Position/resize as required
  7. Click “Set Wallpaper”

See the photo gallery below for a visual step-by-step for setting your iPhone wallaper.



i have recently purchased an iphone 3gs and indeed i have sync the photo albums i wish to sync although they do not come up on my photo’s only my camera pictures do can anyone help me navigate my way to where they would be?


Could I please ask where you found that wallpaper? It’s gorgeous and I haven’t been able to find it. Thanks!

Brandon Eley

Xsande, Aperture or iTunes is resizing the photos to sync to the iPhone. I remember seeing where you can configure that but can’t seem to find it now. I’ll see if I can’t find it again and post it here.

Xande Macedo

I also use Aperture as my main photo application and I am having issues. The syncing works fine however, my wallpapers I have in Aperture are synced in low-res as if Aperture were syncing the previews rather than the master. Is anyone having the same problem? If yes, any workaround? I don’t want/need to use iPhoto.

Brandon Eley

Sareena, are your albums named the same? You can sync multiple albums to your iPhone at the same time, but if you deselect one to sync another it will probably replace the old with the new.


Is anyone else having problems uploading new photo albums? When I sync, it replaces the old photo album instead of creating a new one. If anyone has any hints, I would GREATLY appreciate it!

Brandon Eley

Brian, smart albums are great! I selected iPhoto for the screenshot but use Aperture as my primary photo management application, and I have smart albums based on 4 stars or better. It works like a charm.

Brian Warren

Great post! I have a couple smart albums that I always sync. Such as all photos rated 4 stars or better, all photos within the last month, and some specific albums as well (all photos of my daughter, for instance, which also happens to be my “wallpapers” album). Metadata is super helpful in getting the kind of photos you want onto your iPhone, esp when you have far more photos than would fit on your iPhone.


It´s a shame that you cannot star the pictures directly from your iPhone. That will be handy to “catalog” and sort out your picture library, exactly in the same way as you can do with songs…

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