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How to craft the perfect parallax wallpaper for your iPhone and iPad

iPad air

Sick of stretched, blurry or otherwise lame wallpapers on your iPhone or iPad? Apple's decision to make your background come alive with the parallax effect in iOS 7 means that using your standard wallpapers ends up giving you some not-so-sharp effects.

But fear not: You can create a wallpaper of your own using any high-resolution photos you can find online. Below, you'll find the perfect resolutions for both static and parallax wallpapers as well as some tips on how to create the perfect background image for your device.

iPhone 4s

  • Static: 960 x 640
  • Parallax: 1,196 x 740

iPhone 5/5s/5c

  • Static: 1,136 x 640
  • Parallax: 1,392 x 744

iPad 2/iPad mini

  • Static: 1,024 x 1,024
  • Parallax: 1,262 x 1,262

iPad 3/4/Air/mini 2

  • Static: 2,048 x 2,048
  • Parallax: 2,524 x 2,524

Once you've found an image that fits your needs, it's time to cut it to the perfect size. There are plenty of free tools available to help you tweak it:

Preview -- The Preview application on OS X lets you crop and resize images without a hassle, and there's even a handy formatting tool to resize images based on several iPhone and iPad resolutions. Unfortunately, it doesn't take the parallax effect into account.

Paint -- If you don't have a Mac handy, you can always use this free Windows tool to slice up your images.

Gimp -- For a little more control over your image editing, Gimp is a great solution. It's free, powerful and works on OS X, Windows and Linux.

Snapseed or Skitch -- On iOS, either of these will allow you to crop, straighten or add effects to an image.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • iOS 7 will do its best to add contrast to the lock screen text and status bar, but it's not perfect. Make sure your wallpaper doesn't leave your clock or battery bar unreadable.
  • If you use a static, screen-sized image with the parallax effect, it will automatically apply a bit of zoom to it, leaving it blurry.
  • iPad wallpapers need to be square to account for the tablet's screen orientation. If you choose a non-square image, you'll likely be left with a stretched image once you turn your screen.