Cinematic wallpapers arrived in the June 2023 Feature Drop for Pixel 6 and newer devices. If you haven't heard anything about them yet, Cinematic Wallpapers use "AI to transform your 2D wallpaper photos into dynamic 3D scenes for a truly magical look," according to Google. Essentially, they'll make your photos look a bit more cinematic on your lock or home screen. While it's not a revolutionary feature, it's nice to get added bits and bobs from Google while we eagerly await Android 14.
While this feature is technically available on Pixel 6 phones and newer, don't be surprised if you have one of those phones and can't find it. As reported by Phones Arena, some Pixel users have had the feature drop, but can't see some of the features, notably Cinematic Wallpapers and emoji backgrounds. Unfortunately, I actually experienced the same problem with my Google Pixel 6 Pro: despite updating and receiving other parts of the Feature Drop like the palm camera timer, I don't have Cinematic Wallpapers yet. Weird, and annoying.
Luckily, our team here at Tom's Guide like to make sure we have a range of the best phones on hand, so Editor Tom Pritchard stepped in with his Pixel 6 Pro. He did receive the features and provided the imagery for this article, so we can walk you through how to set Cinematic Wallpapers on Google Pixel devices if you're lucky enough to have access.
How to set Cinematic Wallpapers on Pixel phones
Firstly, make sure your Pixel 6 or later is updated to the latest Android version. Find out how to update Android if you're unsure.
1. Go to Settings > Wallpaper and style
Open the Settings app and tap Wallpaper and style.
2. Tap Change wallpaper
Now tap Change wallpaper, underneath your existing home and lock screen wallpapers.
3. Select My photos
Tap My Photos at the top of the page. If you've done this process before, you'll see the top of your camera roll, otherwise it'll be blank like in this image.
4. Select an album and then a photo
Select an album from the list, then tap a photo to choose it.
5. Tap the star icon
On the image preview, ensure you choose between home or lock screen (or both) at the bottom, then tap the star icon, top right.
6. Toggle on Cinematic Wallpaper
Now hit the Cinematic Wallpaper toggle in the pop up at the bottom and set your image as your wallpaper. You're done!
Now you know how to set cinematic wallpapers, why not check out our other Android guides, including how to check Android battery health, if you'd like to find out how the power unit is fairing. We can also teach you how to transfer data from Android to Android when you get a new phone, and how to get the Android 13 easter egg and set emoji wallpapers (extremely useful if you didn't get the full June '23 Feature Drop like me).
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Peter is Editor of the How To and Camera sections at Tom's Guide. As a writer, he covers topics including tech, photography, gaming, hardware, motoring and food & drink. Outside of work, he's an avid photographer, specialising in architectural and portrait photography. When he's not snapping away on his beloved Fujifilm camera, he can usually be found telling everyone about his greyhounds, obsessively detailing his car, squeezing as many FPS as possible out of PC games, and perfecting his espresso shots.
My Google Pixel 6a (India) device got Emoji wallpaper settings but can't get cinematic wallpaper. How do i receive Cinematic wallpaper?Reply
Hey there bestusefultip. You and me too! I also have emoji wallpaper but not cinematic wallpapers. I'm afraid I don't know the answer to this one yet but I have been trying a few things that I thought might help and that other reports have said solved the issue. These are: leaving your device on charge over night and updating the Android System Intelligence app (apparently advice from Google support); updating Google Photos; clearing cache on the former two apps. Anecdotally some of these seem to have worked for others, but not for me. I think waiting until the next update might be the only course of action.bestusefultip said:My Google Pixel 6a (India) device got Emoji wallpaper settings but can't get cinematic wallpaper. How do i receive Cinematic wallpaper?
Update the Android System Intelligence app and Google Photos. Also, clear the app cache, but still facing the same issue. I hope the next update will fix the issue, and my Pixel 6a will receive the Cinematic wallpaper update. Thank you.Reply