Changing Lock Screens or Wallpapers on a Lock Screen with Shortcuts

Like many, I love the new lock screens in iOS 16. I like the widgets and I like the idea of tying lock screens to focus modes. I use both. However, I have a use case that I haven’t figured out how to automate.

When I am not in a focus mode, or when I’m in my personal focus mode, I’d like to change the wallpaper based on the date and calendars. For simplicity, I’ll describe it this way: I have a wallpaper for my favorite NFL team and a wallpaper for my favorite college football team that I want to show based on the day of the week or an upcoming game on my calendar. I still want to use lock screen widgets with it. I’d like to use a shortcuts automation that runs each day to do this, but here is what I’ve learned so far.

  • I can’t switch lock screens from Shortcuts or I would just set up several lock screens and switch between them with my automation. This is the ideal solution.
  • If I change my wallpaper via a Shortcuts action, I end up a totally new lock screen that has no widgets. It’s as if the iPhone switches to a “default”, non-customizable lock screen.

Anyone have any ideas or is this just something that can’t be done?

I haven’t experimented yet, but I imagine if you set up a dummy “Focus” mode that’s attached to the relevant lock screen etc, then you could trigger that based on time of day and/or a shortcut that runs on a schedule and checks your upcoming calendar.

The limitation that springs to mind is the number of focus modes you can have.

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Thanks! @Kaitlin! I had thought of that but I just didn’t want to create a number of fake focus modes just to have the desired lock screen at a given point in time.