Tired of looking at that static screen? Live Wallpapers are animated, and often interactive, backgrounds for any taste.
Thanks to advances in Android, these eye-catching backgrounds now also sip your battery instead of chugging down charge.
I've put together a small collection of my favorite Live Wallpaper apps for Android, some of which are free. The apps mentioned here are uniquely different from each other and represent some of the best available for the platform today.
As you might expect, the images don't do these wallpapers justice. You'll have to try them for yourself to see just how gorgeous and flexible they truly are.
From Gauli, one of my favorite live wallpaper developers, this one features 19 different designs with endless color combinations and movements.
These are some really fantastic, always-spinning and evolving circle-like backgrounds. Different every time you look, it's a great set-it-and-forget wallpaper app that keeps your interest.
Although the app comes with some default settings with colors and layouts put together, the real fun comes in the tinkering. Users can drill down and choose from a variety of options that freshen up the screen in new and inviting ways. The preset color palettes are sharp and look great on any size device.
Like to keep things muted or minimal? Circulux lets you dial down the number of colors, intensity and rotation speeds.
The free version provides some basic features and settings, but you'll want to drop a couple of bucks ($1.95) to get the full experience. The only option I would like to see is a random button that completely shakes things up.
City Bokeh Live Wallpaper
You know that blurred light effect that sometimes shows up night photos? Called bokeh, it's the out-of-focus look that often accompanies holiday lights in winter pictures. City Bokeh Live Wallpaper mimics that look on your Android home screen.
Once set, your icons and widgets will appear to have more dimension as they sit out front of the background. The wallpaper changes randomly and constantly and never looks the same twice. Indeed, it's not unlike looking out a window at a city way off in the distance.
There are two versions of this app available, a free and a version that costs $1.80. While they are nearly the same, the Pro version offers more particles and strips out the ads. Start with the free app to get a feel for the app, but don't forget to show the developer some love with an upgrade.
Minima Pro Live Wallpaper
Created with Google's Material Design principles in mind, Minima sets your background with layers of flat colors and shapes. Imagine cutting out a bunch of construction paper shapes and arranging them in patterns and you'll understand the effect.
With more than one dozen themes in the free version, it's a great way to get a feel for how the wallpapers work. Users can set how much depth or movement there is between layers; parallax effects also put things in motion by simply moving your device.
Once you have a sense for the app, I certainly recommend unlocking its full potential in the Pro settings. Not only do you jump to more than 70 themes, but you can also create your own to return to later. It's also here that you can have a lot of fun by merely pressing the "random" button.
If you loves the flat aesthetic, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more fitting live wallpaper.
3D Parallax Background
Do you know that 3D effect that 3D Parallax Background is that. It provides a fantastic layered feel with a handful of other options.had where the icons appear to be floating above the background?
Thanks to the gyroscope built into your Android phone, a twist of the wrist shows depth between the background photo and your icons and widgets. Users can define just how sensitive the wallpaper should be.
Use any image you'd like or try one of the preloaded designs; the Cracked Screen background is jarring and frightfully fun. Photos provide varying degrees of 3D effect, so play around with the settings a bit. Hint: you don't need to put much space between the icons and the background to get the desired result.
Perhaps one of the most detailed Live Wallpapers I've seen so far, Space Colony ($2) is heavy on polish and customization.
The city looks every bit like Coruscant (from "Star Wars") and features buildings that light up, space ships, a glowing aura and more. How busy do you want your future skyline? It's up to you as you tweak the layout to your heart's content, with settings for nearly every aspect imaginable.
Space Colony also takes advantage of thescreen. Why stare at your news feeds or a clock when you can escape to a more civilized and futuristic society?
To say there are plenty of options to play with would be an understatement, and no screenshot can do this wallpaper app justice. There are innumerable settings to choose from -- including ships, city aura, location, camera movements, and building lights.
While there is no free version, I suggest checking out some of developer Maxelus.net's other Live Wallpapers to download as a sort of preview to this one. You should be able to get a sense of the level of detail and customization from the portfolio and feel comfortable with your purchase price.
As one of the most flexible live wallpaper apps for Android, this one is heavy on customization. To be clear, Muzei itself doesn't so much provide its own wallpapers, but it opens the door to countless other sources of background images.
Thanks to a developer-friendly API, Muzei offers support for wallpapers from just about any corner of the Web. Be it Flickr, Nasa, Tumblr, 500px or somewhere else, somebody has created an extension to pull in these images.
Once you have your image sources set up, Muzei lets you define how often you'd like for them to rotate. This alone breathes new life into other wallpaper apps that only offer static images.
If you've got a bunch of accounts you like to follow on Instagram, you may enjoy having a new background image every few hours. Or, perhaps, have your Android show off your own filtered cat photos.
Have your say
Of course, there are countless other Live Wallpapers for Android, many of which provide plenty of customization, with new wallpapers surfacing regularly.
Which Live Wallpapers do you use, and are there any paid apps you find particularly impressive? Please share your thoughts and favorites in the comments below.