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I have a photo set as my current iPhone wallpaper, which I would like to save. I have forgotten where I stored this file on my computer originally, so I can't easily go back to place it back on my phone. It has since been deleted from my camera roll.

Is there any way to export the photo that is currently set as the wallpaper, so that I can change the wallpaper to something else, but save the other one?

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8 Answers 8

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You cannot export the wallpaper, depending on the pattern (if it were repetitive) it would be possible to take screen shots and after emailing these to your self you could edit in Photoshop (other editing software is available)

You would need to take one shot of a page in iOS with only one app, and then if it is a repeatable patern you can edit out or clone out the app on the screen and the apps at the bottom.

Alternatively you can or tap and hold an app to get to wiggle mode, and go to the far right to get a "clean" page, then screenshot this.

Not great but that is the only way, I'm afraid.

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You may find the photo in the iPhone backup on your computer.

On a Mac press Alt and select Go to in the menu bar. There open Library. Assure that you are in column view in the new window. Got to UserName/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup.

There you will find strangely named folders with all the backed up files. Go through the one, that seems to be one that is the latest backup for your iPhone. You may want to check on which date you have created the latest backup for your iPhone in iTunes first. Some of the backed up files will have the same date.

In the right column you will see a preview of any selected file. Many files will be blank though.

Copy the right one to another location on your computer and add .tiff or .jpg to the file name. Open in Preview other any appropriate program.

With that procedure I was able to recover the background that I had carried over from my first iPhone. I had to go through a lot of files though. The desired one was about number 800 of 4.500 files.

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Try this: http://www.tineye.com/

I had the same problem, so I took a screenshot, uploaded it on that website and it found my image!

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Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please summarize or excerpt it in the answer. The idea is to make the answer stand alone. –  Daniel Lawson Sep 6 '12 at 17:11
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Very interesting; sadly, it won't work for my wallpaper which was a family photo :) –  NickC Sep 6 '12 at 17:21

If your home screen wallpaper happens to be the same as your lock screen wallpaper then it is possible to extract the image with a screen grab.

With iOS 7 installed on my iPhone 5 and while viewing my lock screen I plugged a power cable into my phone. For a split second all the text overlays disappeared from my lock screen then a battery power status icon appeared. If you are quick you can take a screen grab of the clean wallpaper.

I had spent a couple hours trying to figure out how to recover my lock screen image since the pic had been deleted from my camera roll long ago. Just as I was giving up and was laying down to bed, I plugged my phone into it's charging cable. That's when I noticed the clear image. It was a life saver. I hope this helps.

Important to note
When setting this newly captured image as a wallpaper it is automatically scaled up so you will lose some information around the edges. I recommend trying to set your background to this new image to see exactly how much you will lose before you decide to replace your original.

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I would Imagine, if you jailbreak, you can find where the file is stored on the iPhone's file-system.

This would involve jailbreaking, and then installing a package like Samba. All you would have to do then is mount the iPhone from your desktop, and find the image.

Alternatively, there are a number of pieces of software that allow you to browse the iPhone filesystem over USB, again assuming the iPhone is jailbroken (DiskAid is an example).

Last, there are local file managers for the iPhone, that would possible allow you to find the file and copy it directly on the iPhone.

However, I do not think there is really any way to do this without jailbreaking.

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As you have set a photo as wallpaper the photo should still be listed under photos on your iPhone. You can email that photo yourself.

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That is actually not true, since I have synced and removed photos since I set the wallpaper. –  NickC Jan 15 '12 at 22:18
    
Sorry, I did not think that a photo can be deleted as long as it is in use. –  Martin Jan 16 '12 at 12:39

I have the same issue. Best thing I found was to take a screen shot (press the Home and Sleep buttons simultaneously. The screen will flash white, a camera shutter "click" will sound, and the picture will be saved to the Camera Roll folder in your Photos). Not ideal as you have the date header and footer but at least you get to keep the original shot. Hope this helps?

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Tap and hold an app to make all your apps shake (how you delete apps), move all 4 of your apps on the bottom bar (the one that is at the bottom of every app page) to a page with other apps on it so it is blank. Slide over to a completely blank page (you can do this while app delete is activated), then take your screen shot. You will only have a small grey bar across the bottom of your image. If the image you want is on your lock screen instead of your home screen this will not help you.

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