The LG G5 gets 360-degree wallpapers — and they're gorgeous

There's a lot of stuff going on when it comes to our home screens. Apps. Folders. Widgets. And for years we've had the option for live wallpapers — animations that can interact with our touch, or just show cool things. (Fun fact: We did this Super Mario live wallpaper video nearly six years ago.)

Now we've got 360-degree live wallpapers on the LG G5.

This all comes as part of an update through the LG SmartWorld app store, which should already be loaded on your phone. (In fact, the "360 wallpaper" app had already loaded itself onto my phone through the LG Update Center.) Open SmartWorld and look for the "Enjoy 360 wallpaper" banner. Tap it and you'll go straight to that section. From there you'll see more on these wallpapers, and instructions on how to install them. Scroll all the way to the bottom and you'll find the wallpapers themselves. (Alternatively, you can just search SmartWorld for "360 wallpaper" and you'll be taken straight to the goods.)

Tap a wallpaper, download it to your phone, and you're good to go. (SmartWorld is still really slow for me for downloads, though.) You can apply one of LG's wallpapers directly from SmartWorld, which right now is the easiest way to do things. LG's own instructions for installing through the Gallery app don't work just yet.) Alternatively, you can to the following:

  1. Long press on the home screen.
  2. Choose "Home screen settings.
  3. Choose "Wallpaper."
  4. Choose "Live wallpapers."
  5. Choose "360 wallpaper."
  6. Choose "Edit"
  7. Now choose "Image"
  8. And now you can either choose something out of your gallery — which is where you can find the 360 wallpapers you downloaded — or anything LG had pre-installed.

And as you've guessed by now, you can use any sort of 360-degree picture for this sort of thing, including ones that you've taken yourself through Photosphere on the Google Camera app or LG's own 360-degree photo mode.

When you hit Step 4 above, you'll also notice three options. By default, the wallpapers are set to move as you move the phone. It'll also have some inertia, and keep moving after your stopped moving the phone. The third option lets you turn on gesture scrolling. (Which is what I used to make it easier to show the example above, which I took with the LG 360 CAM In New York City. And that's why you see the folders distort.)

One final little trick answers a question I've had for weeks. When you make the "zoom in" motion with your fingers on LG's home screen, you end up with a look at your wallpaper, with all of the apps and folders hidden. That didn't make much sense before. Now, it does. Giving a quick peek at a 360-degree wallpaper is much cooler than a static image. We still don't know what this is going to do to the battery on your phone, but it's a fun way to enjoy 360-degree photos and maybe show off to your friends a little.

Phil Nickinson