On both the home screen and lock screen, I use portrait-oriented wallpaper images that feature full-length pictures of people. When the unit is rotated to landscape orientation, the iPad centers the image - cutting off the heads of the people in the images.

There's a feature when setting the wallpaper image that allows one to shift the position, but you're effectively forced to set it for landscape and let it crop the sides when you switch to portrait. What I want it to do is align the top corners of the image with the top corners of the screen at all times, and have it crop the bottom when you switch to landscape.

Is there a way (hidden setting? third-party app? image-embedded meta-data?) to control the position of the wallpaper on an iPad running iOS9?

3 Answers 3


No; iOS does not provide any options or control for wallpaper positioning - you set the file and it does what it does.

  • 1
    Yes you are correct - there is no MDM or other profile you can set to give the OS hints. Best you can do is choose your image sizes so that they play nicely with the sizing expectations of the OS. See apple.stackexchange.com/questions/89099/… for details. The automator cropping workflow there really helped me deal with this "problem".
    – bmike
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 14:00
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    @bmike It's unfortunate. I'd even be happy with something that let you set a pair of images, one for landscape and one for portrait. It's frustrating that iOS assumes the exact center of the image is the most relevant portion, particularly when there are photographic styles that emphasize not having the subject in the exact center. (To be fair, it's equally frustrating on a Microsoft Surface, but there's a whole lot more control there, at least on the ones that run full-up Windows instead of RT.)
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 14:07
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    Don't I know - many of my clients didn't like hearing this news when we worked through how their fleet of devices would be configured.
    – bmike
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 14:08

I don't think there's way to change the position, unless you edit and prepare the wallpaper image yourself.

Here are general guidelines, to make it work for both portrait and landscape orientations.

If you look at the specs for a first- or second-generation iPad, the device comes with a resolution of 1024 x 768 at 132 pixels per inch. The 2012 iPad comes with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, which is exactly double that of the iPad and iPad 2. The iPad rotates the background depending on how you have the device oriented. You’ll need to take this into account when creating your wallpaper. The 1024 (2048) pixels is the long side and the 768 (1536) pixels is on the shorter end of the iPad.

  1. Open up an image editing program, e.g. Photoshop.
  2. Create a new image in a square with edges of 1024 x 1024 (2048 x 2048 px for the new iPad).

The most important thing to know here, that image has to be square, to provide full coverage of the screen in both directions.

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    I appreciate the effort, but this doesn't tell me anything I wasn't already aware of and doesn't actually solve the problem. While I could crop them square, that would be sacrificing part of the image in portrait mode to correct landscape mode. By default, the opposite already happens - portrait mode looking good makes landscape mode bad.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 13:38
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    @T.J.L., this is how iOS works. You may try to disable parallax effect, it might partially avoid cropping. But I don't think you can do more by standard means. I've been trying several applications from AppStore, which help you with wallpapers, but all they do - are nice effects, helping you with crop and scale... but they are still forced to use native implementation of the wallpaper positioning.
    – Farside
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 14:04

No, this is not possible natively...but there is a workaround. Basically, you can do this:

Put your photo onto a blank Word doc using either the iOS Word app or Pages if you have it. Center the image so that there is about a one inch margin of whitespace around it. Take a screenshot of this document. By taking the screenshot on your iPad, you basically gaurante that the result will be exactly the right size and resolution for your specific device model.

When you set this screenshot as your background (and turn off perspective zoom), the white boarder will make your picture centered in the middle of the screen. If you rotate to landscape, the white border will get cut off like before, but the picture itself will remain intact in the center of the screen.

Depending on the aspect ratio of you photo, you may need play with the margin sizes until you get it just the way you like it.

Also, the reason I mentioned the Pages app above was because it had a feature that helped you perfectly center a picture in your document. I'm not sure if this feature is still available, however, since I have not used the app much after MS Word came out for iOS.

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    Perfect solution, thank you! To edit adjust/crop image in MS Word (on Mac!), figure out how it's better to position/scale it, to take the screenshot (the resolution of the screen could be different, but who cares), then to crop one more time (hm.. I seen this step before, I can do), and only then to put to desktop. If one haven't guessed the size and crop aspect ratio - please, repeat the steps from 1-4 several times, or print the screenshot on laser printer, and take picture with good quality camera on iPhone/iPad/Camera to make the colors look more vibrant and cropping would be pixel perfect
    – Farside
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 7:58
  • Using a document program for image editing and trying to figure the right size out by guesswork is a terrible idea. How can you call this perfect @Farside? Even if it doesn't meet my needs, your own answer is far superior from from a technical standpoint, and much more accurate.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 12:16
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    @Farside Oh thank god... I was... confused to say the least. I must have missed the sarcasm amidst the absurdity. :)
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 12:25
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    @T.J.L., I'm sorry, my purpose was not to confuse anyone. I might have added some smileys, or explicitly to tell about absurdity of the whole thing.. But hopefully we made it clearer now, unfortunately there's no possibility to edit comments.
    – Farside
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 12:34
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    @Vladimir, it might be a bit better... but for me it still sounds like a bad approach. I already defined several times why: 1. the resolution of screen you are taking screenshot from, plus scale of doc in Word may vary, as well as the screen size (see my answer) – it seriously affects the quality and antialising of the picture in result. 2. to go back and forth, until you'll reach the acceptable (but not pixel perfect result) makes no sense for me for the good quality images. It's sacrifice on quality and aspect ratio, every step – bad approach
    – Farside
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 11:52

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