Google revealed few Android features at Google I/O 2023, but they included the ability to create and customize your own emoji wallpapers on Pixel phones. Android 14 Beta 3 feature rollout has now started and will appear as part of the wallpaper and style settings. The wallpapers are enabled by a new app slowly becoming available on the Play Store called Emoji Workshop Wallpaper.
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The rollout was spotted by Google News on Telegram, who also managed to get and share an APK of the new app. We do not recommend installing this APK as it is not from a verified source like APK Mirror. So if you’re curious, proceed at your own risk. On Android 14 Beta 3, you may need to restart your device and force stop the Wallpaper & Style app for the new emoji background area to appear. However, once the Emoji Workshop Wallpaper app is installed, it seems to be fairly consistently available for people running Beta 3.
If everything works as expected, a new Emoji Workshop section will appear in the background picker UI. Tapping it will bring up a preview of a predefined wallpaper, with the option to choose your own emojis, patterns, and colors. You can also click the “Randomize” button and customize your interface from there. You can choose from 20 pre-made colors and five predefined patterns: Mosaic, Lotus, Stack, Sprinkles and Prism. All offer a slider that you can use to adjust the size of each emoji. In our tests, we were able to use up to 14 emojis at once.
As shown during the I/O preview, tapping any part of your home screen, including the icons, creates a ripple effect. There’s a subtle animation on waking your screen, and another twist or flip animation on unlocking your phone, with the emoji essentially falling into place or spinning, depending on which pattern you choose. When you plug in your phone, there’s also an adorable easter egg where all the emoji briefly turn into the light-up emoji before reverting back to your selection. If you switch to dark mode, your background colors will be inverted.
Once you’ve set your wallpaper and return to the preview, you can turn off the live animations. There’s also a share button, but right now tapping it crashes the app. Some wallpapers are editable, some aren’t, which might be a beta issue – but at least all the wallpapers you create are collected and available for immediate use.
We were able to install the APK on Pixel phones running Android 13 and Android 13 QPR3 Beta, but the emoji wallpapers don’t show up in the background picker. It looks like the visibility of the new emoji wallpaper is toggled by a server-side flag. So it’s possible that Google will keep this feature disabled for Android 13 phones until the (apparently delayed) feature drop becomes stable in June. After all, the company announced that the emoji wallpapers would also come to Android 13.
At I/O, Google also announced that cinematic wallpapers will be available on Android 13 phones later this year. Also, with Android 14, you can look forward to AI-generated wallpapers that you can use to create anything you can put into words.