Live Wallpaper

JD, a member of the weekly after-podcast hangout club, asks this one. We all were excited about live wallpapers when they came with along with 2.1, and have become pretty synonymous with Android. There's thousands to choose from, more than a few good ones come pre-installed on most phones, and it's always one of the first things hackers try to rip from leaked ROMs and new phones. 

On the other hand, they can be rough on performance and battery, so a good many folks don't bother. Which are you? Let us know in tonight's poll!

 
There are 92 comments

craigrn16 says:

I only run it to show off to non Android people. Other than that no. I like my battery life.

Franwella says:

Ditto. Live wallpapers are a cute novelty but they're not practical full time. i'll pop something schwanky on when showing off my device, but the rest of the time it's a still image and battery priority.

WAldenIV says:

Any half-decent live wallpaper from a reputable source is not going to have any meaningful impact on battery life. This is a typical Android myth. The screen being on and/or data polling will hit the battery. Crappy under-powered phones might choke with live wallpapers but that's on the consumer.

m x s says:

Sorry, but this is misleading. I'm an Android developer.
The battery consumption from an application has nothing to do with the reputability of the source. It has to do with what the app does.

An crazy 3D OpenGL Wallpaper could be doing countless matrix multiplications and transforming vertices at least 25 times a seconds, and that is a battery hog even on the newest phones. A 2D canvas wallpaper will certainly consume less.

WAldenIV says:

Tablet double-post.

DrDoppio says:

+1

serpa4 says:

+1

DrDoppio says:

Hey, I got a crazy idea, why not add a small "+1" or "thumbs-up" right there in the corner of the post? That would be smashing! AndroidCentral?

+1

qdigga says:

This

JonK says:

+1

magneto198 says:

+9,000

briankurtz79 says:

i recently started running the beatiful weather lwp that comes with beautiful Widgets. its infomative for the outside work i do and worth the battery life. never buy a phone without a removable battery. rule #1

Mtn_Scott says:

I run WP Clock. It is a non issue batery and performance wise. It all depends on the live wallpaper.

MUTINOUS says:

Yep, good way to show off. Loving my GNex. Swagger "On"
Question:
When does having a better device become showing off?
Answer:
??

DWR_31 says:

If it's not live its not running.

My Razr Maxx battery life is just fine with live wallpaper. Sometimes getting something that fits your needs is better than the "latest and greatest".

jjrudey says:

I did at first, when they were a new thing for Android. But now, nah.

Stang68 says:

I ran a cool Xmas one in December but other than that, no.

loueee says:

most of the live wallpapers in the market suck - they are ugly and install a lot of spyware. i run wp clock 2 - it doesn't drain the battery at all, doesn't kill the performance - it looks great and is useful. and it makes the iphone user jealous! ;-)

Nicketmaster says:

I run one occasionally. I prefer wallpapers that don't distract from what I'm looking at, so I stick to simple ones. Pixel Rain is the only one I've used in recent memory.

aaronratner says:

I will occasionally run a really well made live wallpaper if I'm in the mood. For example, I'll run a nice winter theme in the summer (or even in winter). But it's usually for a few weeks at a clip. I also only like subtle live wallpapers. Nothing in your face.

davedegrooot says:

Care to share some of a few nice subtle ones?

dbareis says:

Some better wallpapers have an option to stop working when down to certain battery level. In theory they should not use much juice (CPU/battery) as I'd hope that when the screen is off they aren't animating and same thing when not at the homescreen.

These I prefer but I no longer use any in any case because of their memory requirements. If my next phone has 2GB RAM then yes I'll be running live wallpapers again as they look great.

E_man says:

On the podcast tonight, Jerry said that much of the SGS2's 2GB in ram was dedicated to video memory for TouchWiz. If true, then we may wait a while till we get 2Gb for real.

serpa4 says:

1

icu says:

or ... we'll just wait for a crafty dev to release a stock(ish) ROM and then RAM fiesta!

E_man says:

I'll run a subtle one now and again. I never really had much battery life or slow down issues with them. I change my wallpaper pretty frequently, and sometimes I land on a live one for a while.

fredknex says:

My old epic is set to "Phase Beam" which doesn't seem to be too hard on the phone. Many other of the live wallpapers take a toll on smoothness when switching homescreens. Especially some of the interactive ones.

migzy says:

Live wallpapers is one thing that I don't understand as I don't spend a lot of time just staring at my home screen. Sure I customize the image, but having one that moves seems like just a waste of battery.

ongre10 says:

I voted yes, but I never use "live wallpaper on my thunderbolt, I do use a subtle aurora borealis wallpaper on my new GT2 7.

Jayshmay says:

Yeah, but not very often. Slows my phone down too much
has an impact on battery.

ranblv says:

LW are eye candy that eats your battery and slows your launcher.
its only good for people who stay plugged in most of the day.

bhislop says:

Never on my phone, but I LOVE the water live wallpaper on my Transformer Prime!

RustyU says:

I use Microbes from the Nexus

shahravi94 says:

which nexus? microbes makes my nexus s and my dads galaxy nexus very laggy. actually the galaxy nexus gets laggy on most lwp

davedegrooot says:

The Nexus doesn't seem to be impacted too much from a live wallpaper, although it seems to differ between wallpapers. Especially if you take a rotating Earth, showing live cloud and light coverage, synchronizing every 15 minutes.. :)

(I don't do that, btw... just sayin.. lol)

skyboxer says:

Right now I'm running wp clock instead of a clock widget. Regardless of what I do, I cannot get through a day without recharging anyway so I may as well run all the pretties.

Impulses says:

Using the one pictured above, impact on battery life seems negligible, I get about 4 hours of display-on time with or without it. Frankly I think the impact on battery life is vastly overstated, unless you're running a particularly taxing lwp. Using an EVO 3D btw.

JEvoUser says:

Good live wallpapers only draw battery when in the launcher and screen is turned on so if you are having performance issues it's probably a poorly written app. Use System Panel to monitor app usage to see when it's actually using CPU and if it's constantly active it's probably junk get rid of it.

Mooem says:

The only one I would seriously use is Phase Beam and that's because its one of the few that doesn't affect performance of my phone when scrolling around.

Otherwise, I voted no since I prefer cycling lots of wallpapers using an app.:-) They are a nice novelty but not perfect for day to day use.

happasaiyan says:

yep, i run phase beam. no performance hit, and no perceivable battery hit either. plus, its pretty.

I've recently been hooked on my plain black background. It helps with battery life on AMOLED screens and really makes the icons stand out beautifully!

npco543 says:

I've done exactly this for a while now. I've also stopped obsessively flashing roms. I've taken a more utilitarian approach to my phone. It's a phone, and I pass on the things that don't make it perform appreciably better in any measurable way.

scaots says:

Agree. I keep plain black.

Murph5150 says:

I use still wallpaper. Live wallpaper tends to be a battery killer.

They're fun for about 5 minutes.

Premium1 says:

I did at times but they also caused lag so not anymore. Hopefully the s4 in the sgs3 can handle them without lag

vawwyakr says:

I always do, its one of the reasons I love Android. Maybe I'm just used to it but I never notice lag or poor performance with them but then I guess I usually have one running so I wouldn't know otherwise.

inyrules says:

Whenever a blog sight posts about a new live wallpaper, I download it, marvel at it for a couple of minutes, then put back my static wallpaper. I also use live wallpapers to show off my phone. I'd love to use them more often, but the strain on the battery is too great.

Elrohir says:

I use the Galaxy Pack for livewallpapers, bysides, Lightning launchers fucks up all the normal wallpapers xD

Orion78 says:

I'll rock a LW on my way and during work. I have a extra wall charger.

evobb100 says:

Never on my EVO 4g (battery killer)

Gweezel says:

I use the live wallpaper that comes with Beautiful Widgets because it gives me the current weather at a glance. (And I have a Razr MAXX, so battery life isn't an object.)

mrbanks says:

i use WP CLock 2. no Battery problems

deviantartjr says:

still using black wallpaper on my S-Advance

CeluGeek says:

Live wallpapers are cool for a day or two but then the loss of performance and battery life becomes too noticeable. I'd rather use pictures I've taken for wallpapers so I don't get stuck with stock.

sdreelin says:

I've tried them, but since my phone sucks for memory management I went back to straight up wall paper.

robjonson#AC says:

a good live wallpaper should not drain your battery. it should only be in the foreground when you are looking at your home screen. in that case it would only drain your battery if you're staring at it for hours at a time. I always run beautiful widgets weather live wallpaper and it doesn't keep the phone from sleeping or affect the battery whatsoever.

TenshiNo says:

I think, early on, live wallpapers suffered from a combination of badly programmed LWP's and less-then-perfect implementation that *did* result in diminished battery life. Now, they've got such a bad stigma that everyone avoids them. I run live wallpapers on both my cells and my tablet and I've never noticed a battery drain.

I'm guessing some people with the low and mid-range phones are also seeing issues due to the extra processing requirements, which is adding to the stigma. And I'm sure there are still some badly written live wallpapers out there, but they're not nearly as bad as people think.

wilfreb says:

slows down the phone and drains the battery so NO

n25philly says:

I use multipicture live wallpaper. A different wallpaper on every home screen, most of which are cropped from pictures I've taken myself. At the moment I have 2437 wallpapers, so it's great for variety. Doesn't seem to have an effect on speed or battery life, so I'm happy.

n25philly says:

I use multipicture live wallpaper. A different wallpaper on every home screen, most of which are cropped from pictures I've taken myself. At the moment I have 2437 wallpapers, so it's great for variety. Doesn't seem to have an effect on speed or battery life, so I'm happy.

Ronnie2 says:

Only when showing off my phone to some noobs lol

mck says:

Using the Live Weather wallpaper for the One X, very nice, only animates for a bit but is a quick way to glance at the weather without effort

mikeymop says:

I sometimes use the Phase Beam live wallpaper, and I apply either that or the Nexus LWP when I'm showing off Android. Otherwise I just cycle static walls.
ICS proved to me a LWP can live up to the hype, phase beam doesn't drain or slow the phone. I hope more LWP meet that quality, or that there is a quality control on LWP's soon.
On a side note, I love that wallpaper Jerry! Care to share?

EDIT: I scrolled up and saw the comments.

kil187 says:

Yes, all the time. I have a Razr Maxx and I have a LW running all the time and still get 24 hours out if my phone.

G2 owner says:

Ya I do but with my ICS rom it doesn't slow it down or eat my battery life.

jlo8720 says:

no on phone (Evo LTE)
sometimes on Tablet (xoom wifi), which is usually on moto dock.

JeffDenver says:

I run it sometimes if I am bored.

I am using ICS on the Rezound, and this is the first time I have had a phone that could handle live wallpapers with no slowdown in performance. It is just as smooth and fast as with static wallpapers. It is pretty awesome. So I might use them more now.

romma says:

Every now and again I'll throw one on for a few minutes... Of course I am bored and tinker with custom roms, themes and folder organizations a lot also.

seymor42 says:

I absolutely love My Beach HD. I try other live wallpapers, but I keep on coming back to this one. My Galaxy Nexus never seems to have issues with live wallpapers and there isn't a noticeable drain for me.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dualboot.apps.beach

All hail our Android overlords!

Erckul says:

not on my phone, but I alway have one on my tablet

tubamaneric says:

Same for me.

IceDree says:

Yep
I do run alot of Live Wallpapers
I usually go between Forest (came with The Atrix) , spectrum (also came with my atrix) , Photo FX Live , Digital hive & Silhouette

It doesn't effect the performance of my Atrix & with my Atrix's 1930 Mah, the battery it consumes doesn't effect me that much

Wahmuk says:

Not only do I not use Live Wallpaper, I removed the .apk and all LWP that came on the phone. It saves space and improves performance and battery life.

strudel#AC says:

With my Epic 4G I would carefully choose live wallpapers because the performance hit could be quite noticeable. I never noticed a serious hit to battery life so I wasn't particularly concerned in that regard. There are countless more effective ways to improve battery life.

With my Evo 4G LTE I consider it a challenge to try to find something to slow the phone down and I just keep failing in that regard. I run whatever wallpaper I want and the phone runs like a champ. The battery life on this phone is excellent so the effect a live wallpaper may have on battery life has never crossed my mind.

PeterPhan says:

Only on special occasions

Thunderstorm Live for rainy/stormy days
a Christmas one around holidays and a snowy one for snow days

NeuroMan42 says:

Drains the battery and overall a screensaver on a computer OR phone is stupid. Having an animated screensaver for when NO ONE is looking at the phone/computer makes no sense. LOL.

movielover76 says:

I'm on the home screen for fractions or maybe 1 or 2 seconds at a time, I don't need another battery drainer. I already have a verizon lte phone, that I never put on wifi lol.

Honestly even if it didn't drain the battery, most live wall papers are only interesting for a few minutes, I'll install one occasionally and when I get board with it, a few minutes later at most a day later, I uninstall it.

rengek says:

Absolutely. Most of my iphone friends look at my phone and go awww I can't do that. The ones who says nothing are the ones really cheesed off with envy. haha

All seriousness, I like lwp and if you choose decent ones you won't have much of a battery issue if at all.

Moirae#AC says:

I almost have no battery drain with any live wallpaper. And they're much more interesting to look at, try magic butt ;)

Brian_d says:

I've allways used live wallpaper on my incredible - because I can! Never really noticed a performance hit & usually change it up every few months. Though Lately I've been stuck on "my photos live" wallpaper which changes the background every so often with all my (great) pictures I've taken.

moonnite says:

I not only use live wallpapers, I even use the one shown here (circuitry).

People need to chill on the power usage of live wallpapers, lowering your screen brightness will gain you more than small amount you lose from live wallpapers. They're few exceptions to this, 1 - poor programing and 2 - it uses alot of systems.. like a map wallpaper turning on GPS.

I have a Razr Maxx, so I run it if I want to (and currently am) and just don't worry about battery life (as so many commenters have mentioned).

I chose the phone that was practical for me and the way I use it, so no worries on battery life here.

ilordvader says:

We would if we had 20hrs+ of TALK TIME

YES+ - IF YOU AGREE ;)

Yes, ALL THE TIME... good LWPs (correctly written) do not impact battery or phone speed -- it's the ones that are shittily written that kill your battery and slow your phone down.

KittehFace dev puts out great LWPs (free and paid) -- they look great and run fine with no detrimental side effects.

I run Blue Skies on my Rezound... looks amazing on that screen and doesn't do jack to performance.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4__PBVc6Zg&feature=results_main&playnext...

Incognitum says:

I run the logcat live wallpaper. I've not noticed any additional drain on my battery, probably because the logcat is already running on the phone the whole time... Might as well be able to see it. Plus, has occasionally come in handy for diagnostic purposes.

Dan29466 says:

Power Puddle. Most awesome live wallpaper ever.