With the world going online, there’s a lot more interest lately in tweaking our digital backgrounds. Whether it’s your PC desktop, your phone’s home screen, your online meeting virtual background, or even your TV’s dashboard, we’re suddenly very aware of the images at which we’re staring for hours each day.
Of course, there’s no shortage of services you can use to slake your thirst for digital delectables. While a lot of those sites can be pretty sketchy, one of the better options out there is Unsplash, an online collaborative of content creators, featuring beautiful, free, high-resolution images that can be used to decorate your digital spaces.
My pal and fellow MVP alum, Michael Gillett, has even made a spectacular destination website called WallpaperHub that boasts a hand-curated collection of some of the best Microsoft-related images around. He even builds device-optimized versions for most of them. Seriously, if you need a stunning background, you should go check out his site right now. I’ll wait.
You back? Alright, let’s continue.
Another convenient way to keep your digital game looking fresh is Bing. That’s right, Bing. You may know it features an “image of the day,” which of course, you can manually download and apply to pretty much any device you use. But if you’re like me, that’s a lot of effort to keep multiple devices updated. That’s where the Bing Wallpaper app comes in.
Bing Wallpaper is an official Microsoft app that dynamically updates your desktop PC background to a beautiful Bing image daily. You can also browse Bing’s extensive collection of images, and of course, access the Bing search page. And don’t worry, if you find one you really love, you can easily toggle off the daily refresh and keep it as long as you want.
Installing Bing Wallpaper is fast and easy. It runs on Windows 7 or newer and doesn’t require administrative permissions. During the installation, you’ll be prompted to install a browser add-on/extension that allows Bing to become your home page, default search engine, and share some usage stats, but none of these settings are required to use the wallpaper service. That’s it…within seconds, your desktop is transformed.
Once installed, the Bing Wallpaper app tucks itself neatly into the system tray on your PC and just serves up an new, beautiful image every day.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. Bing also has mobile apps for iOS and Android, which offer similar daily wallpaper and search features. Just install the app from your device’s app store and set the option to refresh your home screen and/or lock screen wallpaper each day.
One other unlikely platform that’s recently received a new Bing app experience is Microsoft’s own Xbox. You can install the Bing app there, too, and use it to manually update your home screen background.
There’s no daily refresh (yet, but I’d wager that’s coming soon). Still, it’s the fastest and easiest way I’ve found by far to get your favorite image behind your Xbox games, apps, and other home screen widgets. No more awkwardly shuttling images on a USB thumb drive, digging through the system settings, and traversing file trees to find and select images. Just launch the Xbox app and press X to view the image of the day.
Select Show Details to learn more about the image, select …, and then select Set as wallpaper.
While not every image can be set as the console’s wallpaper (probably due to copyright restrictions), you can also browse previous day’s images or search for images until you find one you love, like this field of lupines in Middle Earth, erm…New Zealand:
I really like the added value that Bing is bringing to my desktop. Looking ahead, I’d really like to see a similar Bing integration for Microsoft Teams. Imagine being able to easily search for background images for your next meeting.