How to Customize Lock Screens on iPhone XS Max

With the release of iOS 16, Apple introduced a major update to the iPhone lock screen, allowing users to personalize it like never before with unique wallpapers, widgets, fonts, and colors. As an iPhone user and tech enthusiast, I’ve been exploring all the new customization options on my iPhone XS Max. In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to create stunning custom lock screens on your iPhone XS Max.

Accessing the Lock Screen Gallery

To start customizing your lock screen:

  1. Wake your iPhone XS Max to view the current lock screen
  2. Touch and hold on the lock screen until the wallpaper gallery appears[1]
  3. The lock screen gallery will show your current wallpaper along with other pre-made options from Apple
  4. Swipe left and right to browse the available wallpapers
  5. Tap the blue “+” button to create a new custom lock screen[18]

Choosing a Wallpaper

The first step in customizing your lock screen is selecting a background wallpaper:

  • Tap “Add New Wallpaper” and choose from the default iOS 16 collections, or select a photo from your library[2]
  • iOS categorizes wallpapers into Collections (stock Apple designs), Photos, People, Photo Shuffle (dynamic sets), Emoji, and Colors[18]
  • For photos, you can select from suggested images in your People, Pets, Nature, and Cities albums[10]
  • Photo Shuffle lets you pick multiple photos to rotate on your lock screen throughout the day[2]
  • You can also select solid color and gradient wallpapers

Once you’ve chosen a base wallpaper:

  • Swipe left or right to try out different built-in color filters and font pairings that intelligently adapt to your image[18]
  • For photos, tap the crop button to reposition and zoom in or out
  • Some images support depth effects that create a layered look[5]

Adding Widgets

One of the biggest new lock screen features in iOS 16 is the ability to place widgets on your lock screen to view helpful information at a glance. To add widgets:

  1. While customizing a lock screen, tap the boxes above or below the time to open the widget gallery[6]
  2. Select a widget, choose from three sizes, then tap “Add Widget”[3]
  3. Widgets can be added in two areas:
  • Above the time in a single inline row
  • Below the time in a larger box that supports up to four widgets[15]
  1. Tap and drag widgets to rearrange them
  2. Popular widget options include:[12]
  • Calendar and Reminders to see upcoming events and to-dos
  • Weather to check the current temperature and conditions
  • Fitness to view your activity rings progress
  • Batteries to monitor charge levels of connected devices
  • Clock to check the time in another time zone
  1. Third-party apps can also offer lock screen widgets – look for “Add Widgets” in the widget gallery to find options from your installed apps[15]

Customizing Fonts and Colors

In addition to wallpaper and widgets, iOS 16 lets you personalize the look of the time and date text on your lock screen:

  • Tap the time on your lock screen to view different font and color options[5]
  • iOS intelligently generates a curated selection of font and color pairings that complement your chosen wallpaper[18]
  • Swipe side-to-side to preview the different style options
  • For some wallpapers, you can also select a custom color from the grid[9]

Linking a Lock Screen to a Focus

If you use Focus modes to filter out distractions during activities like work or sleep, you can now tie a custom lock screen to each Focus:

  1. While customizing a lock screen, tap the “Focus” button below the wallpaper[5]
  2. Select a Focus mode to link the lock screen to
  3. Whenever you switch to that lock screen, it will automatically enable the connected Focus[5]
  4. This lets you have different lock screens for different contexts, each with relevant widgets, styles, and Focus settings

Creating Multiple Lock Screens

With iOS 16 you’re no longer limited to a single lock screen – you can create multiple custom designs and easily switch between them:

  • Touch and hold the lock screen to enter the wallpaper gallery
  • Swipe to the left and tap the “Add New Wallpaper” button to create another lock screen[5]
  • Repeat the customization steps to set a unique wallpaper, add widgets, and change the font and color
  • From the gallery view, simply tap a lock screen to make it active[5]
  • To delete a saved lock screen, swipe up on it in the gallery and tap the trash icon[5]

Applying Your Lock Screen

Once you’ve finished customizing a new lock screen, tap “Add” in the top right corner to save it to your collection. You’ll have the option to:

  • “Set as Wallpaper Pair” to use the same wallpaper on both your lock and home screens[5]
  • “Customize Home Screen” to set a different wallpaper or blur effect for your home screen icons[5]

After tapping “Done,” your new lock screen will be activated. You can access it and switch to other saved lock screens at any time by touching and holding the lock screen to reopen the gallery.


The ability to create multiple custom lock screens is a welcome addition in iOS 16 that lets you personalize your iPhone XS Max like never before. With the ability to set dynamic wallpapers, view helpful widgets, match your style with fonts and colors, and link it all to your Focus modes, you can make your lock screen look and work the way you want.

As you can see, the process is quite intuitive once you know where the customization options are. Feel free to experiment with different designs to find lock screens that fit your style and meet your needs. With a little creativity, you can build a collection of functional and attractive lock screens to enjoy on your iPhone XS Max.

I hope this guide has helped you learn how to take advantage of the powerful new lock screen customization tools in iOS 16. Have fun personalizing your iPhone XS Max experience!