[Updated] iPhone wallpaper turns black or disappears for some even after iOS 16.1.1 update (workaround inside)

New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….

Original story (published on November 11, 2022) follows:

Since its release in mid-September, iOS 16 has been a superb enhancement to the iPhone operating system. Apple released iOS 16.1.1 with various minor bug fixes and security updates on November 9, 2022.

iPhone wallpaper turns black

However, currently, some iPhone users are reporting an issue where the wallpaper turns black or disappears for them (1,2,3,4).

iPhone wallpaper turns black
Source

Affected iPhone users say that when they switch to the lock or home screen, the wallpaper is automatically changed to a black backdrop.

After restarting the iPhone, the correct wallpaper is displayed, however, the next time the phone goes to sleep, it displays a black background.

Furthermore, this problem began with iOS 16.1 and continues even with the newer iOS 16.1.1, as reported by several users (1,2).

I have an iPhone 12 updated to iOS 16. The background and wallpaper constantly changes itself to Black, automatically. I have to power down my phone in order to recover my Lock Screen Photo as well as the home screen background (or wallpaper). Is this a setting I have set incorrectly or is there a fix to stop this?
Source

Im having a frustrating problem with my iPhone 13 Pro Max running 16.1. At random times, the wallpaper disappears leaving me with a black screen. I have to reboot to get the wallpaper back momentarily, but it disappears again. Will Apple be releasing a fix for this?
Source

Potential workaround

Among the reports, there are also possible workarounds that can mitigate the issue. Firstly, apply the wallpaper that you used in the past:

iPhone workaround
Source

Another user claims that the issue was caused by a faulty migration of the background settings between iOS versions. Granted, you can follow these steps to recover the original wallpaper image:

1. Using iTunes make a full backup of your iPhone
2. Download, install, and run iExplorer on a Sandbox instance
3. Copy the main plist and manifest files to a folder inside Sandbox
4. Tell iExplorer to open that folder as the iTunes backup location

5. Insite iExplorer look for Home > Springboard and then make note of the path for “LockBackground.cpbitmap” and OriginalLockBackground.cpbitmap, it can be “86” or “7c” or something else — I had these two files, perhaps you will have more or less files, but at least the one
6. Go back to your iTunes backup and copy just the two alphanumeric folders into the same folder inside Sandbox

7. Tell iExplorer to export the .cpbitmap files and copy those from the Sandbox back to your desktop
8. Open your browser on https://cpbitmap.github.io/ or https://www.dcode.fr/cpbitmap-format
9. Upload and convert to PNG, JPG, or TIFF
10. Using iTunes, Dropbox, or even emailing to yourself, send the photo back to your phone and set it as a background
Source

According to a user who contacted Apple Support, the wallpapers in iOS 16 are considered in ‘pairs’: Lock Screen and Home Screen.

So, in order to customize the Home Screen image, you first got to pair it with a Lock Screen image:

Apple iPhone workaround
Source (Click/tap to view)

Users can contact Apple Support about this issue by clicking here.

If the aforementioned workarounds helped fix the wallpaper turning black issue, do let us know in the comments down below.

Update 1 (November 18, 2022)

03:05 pm (IST): Here’s a possible explanation for why wallpaper turns black or disappears on iPhone.

iphone-wallpaper-turns-black-reason
(Source)

Update 2 (November 21, 2022)

03:33 pm (IST): We have come across a workaround for the issue where the iPhone wallpaper was turning black for some users. You can check it out below.

iPhone-wallpaper-turning-black
Source (Click/tap to view)

Update 3 (November 22, 2022)

06:35 pm (IST): There are some potential workarounds that could help you fix this issue. First, you can try to re-download the photo that you are trying to use for wallpaper.

Secondly, force restart your iPhone by following these steps:

1. Press and quickly release the volume up button.
2. Press and quickly release the volume down button.
3. Press and hold the side button.
4. When the Apple logo appears, release the side button.
Source

Lastly, delete the glitchy Lock Screen and add a new one using the same wallpaper.

Update 4 (November 24, 2022)

03:22 pm (IST): According to a user, simple steps like re-applying the same image as the wallpaper can act as a temporary workaround.

PSA for iPhone users: if your wallpaper turns black at unexpected times, you need to change or reload your wallpaper image. I was ready to exchange my iPhone in frustration but found online others had exper’d this also.
Source

Update 5 (November 25, 2022)

06:04 pm (IST): We have come across a report on the community forum that possibly explains the reason behind the issue where the iPhone wallpaper is turning black.

It seems that it has something to do with the interaction between AOD, focus, and wallpapers.

iPhone-wallpaper-turning-black
Source (Click/tap to view)

Update 6 (November 29, 2022)

05:00 pm (IST): A user reported that disabling the ‘Focus Status’ option fixed the issue. You can find that option through the path ‘Settings/Focus’.

Update 7 (December 2, 2022)

04:50 pm (IST): Apple just released iOS 16.1.2 stable update for everyone, so users affected by this bug (and others) can try updating and see if it has been resolved.

Hi there. We can help. If you’re seeing an issue with the wallpaper on your iPhone, start by updating to iOS 16.1.2 to see if that resolves the issue: https://s.apple.com/dE4w1r7M9c
Source

Update 8 (December 5, 2022)

05:30 pm (IST): According to one of those affected, the issue where the wallpaper disappears or turns black has been resolved after updating to iOS 16.1.2 (at least for them).

iOS 16.1.2 is now out and worth a try. I recovered my old wallpaper following instructions others have posted here and am now running 16.1.2 with no issues. (Source)

Update 9 (December 7, 2022)

05:31 pm (IST): Although some users reported that 16.1.2 update fixed the issue, there are others who are still dealing with it.

That said, another user suggested that iOS 16.2 update will bring the fix to the issue. This update is expected to arrive in the next few days (December 12) for everyone, although ‘public beta’ testers already have access to it.

Update 10 (December 8, 2022)

05:48 pm (IST): A user recommends checking and customizing every segment in the ‘Focus’ settings as the wallpaper in these is black by default.

Check settings for Focus.

Look in each subject (do not disturb, driving, personal, sleep, work) and look for the “customize screens” option.

If you have focus enabled, the default will be a dark Lock Screen. But you can change each subject individually to show your favourite wallpaper.
Source

After customizing the wallpapers for each of these modes, users won’t have to disable the function in order to fix the wallpaper issue.

Update 11 (December 9, 2022)

03:24 pm (IST): According to a user, even iOS 16.2 does not seem to fix this problem. This is because the focus settings may be causing the issue rather than it being a bug.

Update 12 (December 12, 2022)

04:39 pm (IST): One of those affected has shared how they were able to fix the problem where the wallpaper turns black. You can check it out below.

iphone-wallpaper-turns-black-issue
(Source)

Update 13 (December 14, 2022)

09:55 am (IST): The new iOS 16.2 update is out. Hence, users can now install it and see if the issue where the wallpaper turns black has been resolved.

Update 14 (December 15, 2022)

04:16 pm (IST): One of those affected has suggested that re-adding the photo might not be an ideal solution if you are running iOS 16.1.2 as it resolves the problem only for a short time.

Re adding the photo only solves the issue for a short while then the black screen returns. I have done this many times now same results. This is only since the last update of 16.1.2 (Source)

Update 15 (December 19, 2022)

06:29 pm (IST): The latest iOS 16.2 update has reportedly (1, 2) fixed the issue where iPhone wallpaper turns black or disappears.

Update 16 (December 20, 2022)

05:04 pm (IST): Although in the previous update some users claimed that iOS 16.2 fixed the bug for them, others have not been so lucky (1, 2, 3, 4).

In some cases, the issue simply persists, while in others it even started after installing iOS 16.2 (1, 2, 3, 4).

Update 17 (December 22, 2022)

15:37 pm (IST): A user has offered a potential workaround that could help to mitigate the issue:

  • If you haven’t already made a 2nd wallpaper, do so.
  • Switch your wallpaper to the one you made.
  • Reboot your phone.
  • Switch the wallpaper back to the default with your original wallpaper.
  • Source

    Update 18 (December 26, 2022)

    05:51 pm (IST): Some users (1,2,3) continue to report issues where the iPhone wallpaper keeps turning black, but Apple hasn’t yet acknowledged it.

    Support is rather requesting affected people to get in touch with Apple for more help.

    Thanks for reaching out chrisdon51,
    It sounds like your wallpaper disappears and you’re just seeing a black background instead. We can help.
    For this issue your best bet would be to Contact Apple for support and service and report the behavior.
    Hope that helps.
    Take care.
    Source

    Update 19 (December 28, 2022)

    05:31 pm (IST): One of those affected reported that they have managed to fix this issue by changing their region to the US.

    Please check your listed “Region” in Settings. Mine reset itself to “Angola” instead of the United States. Upon correcting this (which was a mere chance that I came across it), my “black” (Source)

    Update 20 (January 09, 2023)

    01:09 pm (IST): Apple has released iOS 16.3 beta for iPhone users. Hence, you can install it and see if this issue persists.

    Update 21 (January 11, 2023)

    01:24 pm (IST): iOS 16.3 beta 2 is now available. So, if installing the previous beta didn’t help, users can go for the newest beta to see if this problem has been fixed.

    Update 22 (January 13, 2023)

    06:21 pm (IST): One of those affected has confirmed that they were able to fix the issue by turning off the dark mode and restarting the iPhone. Hence, you can also try this workaround and see if it works.

    UPDATE: Turning off dark mode and restarting seems to solve the problem. But I like dark mode better 🙂 (Source)

    Update 23 (January 16, 2023)

    02:49 pm (IST): Some users on iOS 16.2 are now reporting that their wallpaper is getting pixelated a while after they set it.

    Fortunately, there’s a workaround that seems to have helped users fix this glitch. You can check it out below.

    I tried with different photos, they become pixelated on both Lock Screen and Home Screen. With blur turned off, all seems fine. At some point the wallpaper disappeared completely, but turning phone off and on again did the trick. (Source)

    Update 24 (January 18, 2023)

    01:19 pm (IST): There is another potential workaround that could help you fix the issue:

    Go to Settings/Wallpaper and create new wallpapers (don’t try to use ones set up with a previous version). Also delete any black wallpapers.
    Source

    Update 25 (January 20, 2023)

    06:39 pm (IST): Several users (1,2) have also reported that the wallpapers take a long time to load while they are being set. Moreover, users (1,2) consider that the new wallpaper settings are buggy, confusing, and unintuitive.

    Update 26 (January 23, 2023)

    04:50 pm (IST): According to a user, setting a single background image prevents the ‘black wallpaper’ bug from appearing.

    The only way I was able to stop this from happening was by switching to only a single background. I originally had one background photo for my locked screen and a separate background photo for my regular wallpaper…

    When I changed these to the same photo, the blackouts stopped’
    Source

    Update 27 (January 24, 2023)

    03:06 pm (IST): iOS 16.3 is now live for eligible devices. Those users affected by the ‘black wallpaper’ bug can install it and see if it is resolved.

    Update 28 (January 30, 2023)

    01:15 pm (IST): According to recent reports, unfortunately, the issue persists with the iOS 16.3 update.

    Since I ve updated my Iphone 14 pro to the new iOS 16.3 my wallpapers turn now and then black.
    Source

    My iPhone 14 lock screen will no longer display the picture I had on there. The picture was blurred out and now just a black screen.
    Source

    Update 29 (February 02, 2023)

    03:00 pm (IST): There is a potential workaround that involves going into the photos app and slightly croping the photo that you want to use as a wallpaper.

    I had to go into the photos app and slightly crop the Live Photo and it never had an issue again.
    Source

    Note: You can check out our dedicated Apple section to know more about other bugs and issues.

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    Karanjot Sidhu

    A computer science engineer who loves tech and won't stop talking about it. Apart from being a nerd, i love gaming and watching movies in my free time.