I love to coordinate my phone’s wallpaper and ringtone. It’s is a big part of my geek lifestyle. When a big movie is coming out, or there’s a new season premiering on TV, I switch up my phone’s wallpaper and ringtone to pump me up and to show the world what I’m into.
Are you thinking, why doesn’t she use a photo of her children for her phone’s wallpaper? Why isn’t her ringtone one of her kids’ favorite songs? Here’s why: my life is nearly consumed with taking care of my family. I see my children all the time. They are ever-present in my life. I don’t need my phone’s wallpaper and ringtone to remind me of them. THEY ARE ALL I THINK ABOUT.
Geeking out on my phone’s wallpaper and ringtone is my little reprieve from my “job.” It’s my lunch break from making meals, packing lunches, drop-offs and pick-ups, managing homework, and cleaning up the detritus from all of the above.
How can you take your phone’s wallpaper and ringtone to the next level? I’ll give you some tips and then the sky’s the limit! (Because I can’t take screenshots of an Android phone, the images in this tutorial are for iPhones. I’ll try to point you Android users in the right direction, but it’s not my native tongue, so to speak.)
#1 What are your really into right now?
First, ask yourself, what excites you the most? And I don’t mean that you actually took a shower and put on real clothes. I also don’t mean that you already finished the laundry and the grocery shopping.
I mean, when you close your eyes, and listen to that little person who lives in your heart of hearts, what gives you the same giddy feeling you used to get when you were a kid? THAT’S what your phone’s wallpaper and ringtone should be.
Why? Two reasons. First, every time you look at your phone or hear it ring, you’ll get a little jolt of excitement. It’s like you have an amazing, fun secret that maybe other people will get, or maybe they won’t. But it doesn’t matter because that phone’s wallpaper and ringtone is for you.
Second, the beauty of anything digital is that you can change it any time you want, as many times as you want. So, today you might have Hook from Once Upon a Time on your phone, but tomorrow you can have Thor. Remember, the sky’s the limit!
#2 Find an image.
As anyone who uses the internet knows, there are a ton of images out there. Studios, TV networks and publishers put out a lot of publicity images, which means there are plenty of official-looking pictures you can use as your phone’s wallpaper. There’s also a ton of fan art online, if that’s more to your taste.
Usually, this is where I give a speech about copyright. But since you’re not reproducing the image you choose (don’t do it!) and you’re only using it for personal purposes, I’ll give you a pass.
Since I mentioned Thor before, let’s use him as an example for matching your phone’s wallpaper and ringtone. We’re going to look up the perfect image of Thor to use on your phone.
Open the internet browser on your phone.
The default internet browser on the iPhone is Safari, while the Android browser is the default on Android phones. You might also use Chrome or Firefox. Whatever it is, bring it up on your phone.
Go to Google images.
Next, we’re going to search Google images. While Bing has its own image search, for this tutorial, we’re sticking with ol’ Googs.
Tap the address box at the top of the screen, then type “images.google.com” and tap “Go.”
Type in your search.
Once that bright, white Google screen comes up, type in what you’re looking for plus the word “poster” then tap the magnifying glass or search button.
Why add “poster?” Your phone’s screen is portrait-oriented. In other words, the image is vertical, up and down. Generally, when you search for an image you get a lot of landscape-oriented pictures (left to right) in the search results. By adding the word “poster” to your search, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll get vertical pictures (and high quality images) in your results.
For the tutorial, I typed in “thor poster.”
Tap the image you want.
You should see a lot of lovely portrait-oriented images in your search results. Scroll up and down until you find the one you want, then tap it.
For this tutorial, I chose an image of Thor in action. Boom!
#3 Make the image your phone’s wallpaper.
Find the source image.
Once you tap the image, your screen will zoom in. Tap the three little dots on the right side of the bottom of the screen.
Then tap “View original image.”
You’ll see the original image file that someone uploaded to their website, without all the coding and gobbledegook that usually goes with it. That way, we can get the largest image with the highest definition.
Save the image.
Before you can make Thor’s pretty face your phone’s wallpaper, you need to save the image to your phone.
Tap the little square outline with an up arrow that’s at the bottom of your screen. It will bring up a menu. Then, scroll left and right until you find “Save Image,” then tap it.
Now the image is saved to your phone.
Open the image in “Photos.”
The image is saved in your phone’s photos, alongside every other picture you’ve taken with your phone. However, it will be the most recent photo, so it should be easy to find.
Tap the “Photos” icon to open your iPhone’s photos. You should see your image right away. Tap it.
Set as wallpaper.
We’re almost there! Now that the image you want as your phone’s wallpaper is nice and big, tap that little square outline with the up arrow again. It will bring up another menu.
Scroll left and right until you find the “Use as Wallpaper” option. Tap it.
You might be asked to resize or crop the image. Just use two fingers to enlarge or shrink the image, or one finger to move it around, until it looks the way you want it to.
After you tap “Use as Wallpaper,” you should see another menu. This menu asks if you want to set the lock screen, set the home screen or both. We’re going to choose “Both.”
The lock screen is the screen you see when you’re not using your phone. Once you slide your finger or enter your passcode, then you see the home screen. You can get fancy and have two different screens, but I always choose to have the same image on both screens.
That’s it! Now your phone’s wallpaper is geeked out!
Next up, ringtone.
#4 Find the right ringtone.
Finding a new ringtone for your iPhone is so much easier than it was even five years ago. A lot of people caught on that folks like you and me were looking for noises, theme songs and quotes to have on our phones. They recorded a bunch of stuff and now they’re selling it on iTunes. That’s good for us, because it means we don’t have to start from scratch. (In the old days you had to use GarageBand to sample tracks. Ugh!)
Search for a ringtone.
Open iTunes on your phone. (Again, for Android users, use Amazon or another app to search for and set a new ringtone.) Tap “Search” or the magnifying glass at the bottom of your screen.
Now, in the search box at the top of your screen, type whatever you’re looking for. There’s usually a ringtone for every fandom you can think of, so you should see several results. I typed in “Thor” and “thor ringtone” came right up.
After you tap the keywords, you’ll see results that look like this.
If you’re not sure which one you want, tape the icon or the picture next to a ringtone to preview what it sounds like.
Buy a ringtone.
Once you make your choice, tap the price.
The price will change to “Buy Tone.” Tap it again to purchase it.
(You might be asked to give your fingerprint or your passcode to complete the purchase.)
Set the ringtone.
After the ringtone is finished downloading, you’ll see a few options. Choose “Set as Default Ringtone” to make this the ringtone that plays all the time. (If you set specific ringtones for specific people in your contacts, they should not be affected.)
That’s it! Your phone’s matching wallpaper and ringtone are complete! I guarantee you’ll get pumped every time your screen lights up or you get a phone call. I know I do.
If you’d like some ideas for matching your phone’s wallpaper and ringtone. Here are some past examples from my own iPhone. Enjoy!
There was no question that Wonder Woman would take over my phone’s wallpaper and ringtone in 2017. I’d been waiting for a Wonder Woman movie since I was 5 years-old. Happily, Wonder Woman did not disappoint. (Read my full Wonder Woman review here.)
Choosing an image was easy, because there were a ton of fantastic pictures of the fabulous Gal Gadot available. Choosing a ringtone was pretty easy too because, thanks to Batman v Superman, she already had her own theme. “Is she with you?” is a great ringtone not only because it’s a rockin’ riff, but because it gets my adrenaline going every time I hear it.
The day after I watched Deadpool, I changed my phone theme to reflect my latest fan obsession. I wasn’t sure if I would like Deadpool, but wow, that movie blew me away. What a fun ride! So, of course, I switched out my phone wallpaper for a pic of Deadpool sitting on the overpass, coloring a picture of his sworn enemy, while waiting for said enemy’s entourage to show up for a smackdown.
But what movie ringtone could I use that would match a Deadpool phone wallpaper? The movie didn’t have any memorable orchestral theme, but one song in particular stood out: “Shoop,” by Salt ‘n’ Pepa. I get why Deadpool loves that song, because it’s always been one of my favorites. “Shoop” has a bouncy beat. It’s fun and a little bit naughty. (Although, Deadpool is a lot naughty.) “Shoop” is so much fun, I missed quite a few phone calls while I was busy gettin’ my groove on.
So, my phone wallpaper and movie ringtone looked a little something like this.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
It was tough to see him go, but Kylo Ren (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) was my previous phone wallpaper. The Dark Side boy was matched with the “Imperial March” as my movie ringtone. My text tone was Darth Vader’s breathing. Talk about the perfect trifecta for a geeky phone theme!
So, previously, my Star Wars: The Force Awakens phone theme looked like this.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Prior to Star Wars: The Force Awakens taking over my phone, Avengers: Age of Ultron occupied my mobile device for months. Captain America posed for my phone wallpaper (he’s my favorite), and I matched it with a funked-up remix of the Avengers theme. My text tone came courtesy of the Jarvis app you can download from iTunes. He said, “Excuse me, there is a message for you.” Jarvis made me feel like a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.
So my phone’s wallpaper and movie ringtone for the Avengers went like this.
What’s my phone’s wallpaper and ringtone go-to? What do I use when there’s a lull in the geek action on TV or in the movies? I’m all about the wizard.
If you’re a loyal read of this website (and why wouldn’t you be?), you know that I bleed red and gold for Gryffindor; I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan. My phone’ wallpaper and movie ringtone by default — my mobile blankie, if you will — is the book cover of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which are my favorite books in the series, and “Hedwig’s Theme.” The text tone is an owl hooting, so I can pretend Hedwig is delivering a message herself.
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Header photo credit: r. nial bradshaw