It’s not just you, Apple has indeed removed all the older stock wallpapers for iPhone in iOS 16. The new update also gets rid of older Dynamic Wallpapers and Live Wallpapers.
Customization lock screen comes to iPhone at the cost of some features
For dark and light mode wallpapers, however, you still have the option to set your own wallpaper and enable dark/light mode or use automatic switching, but this setting is hidden behind lock screen customization, instead of being visible in Settings > Wallpaper.
Why has Apple removed the older stock wallpapers? We are not sure. Just like other users, we are baffled by this decision, and unsure why users who got stock wallpapers with their iPhones, cannot access them anymore. Perhaps, it’s an oversight on Apple’s part but it has clearly bothered customers.
Fortunately, if you are a fan of previous stock iPhone wallpapers, you can still download online. However, this is not a workaround that users should have to rely on.
Apple has added lock screen customization, but this has come at the expense of some features that users loved. Along with the lost stock wallpapers, Apple has also removed dynamic and live wallpapers, that were part of previous iOS versions. While there are new dynamic wallpapers, the older ones have been removed, with the exception of one (available as a multi-colored option under the blue-colored wallpaper in collections). Live wallpapers allowed users to set a Live Photo as their lock screen, and long press it to see it animate. While the Live Photo did not automatically animate upon screen unlock (missed opportunity!), users were still able to interact with their memorable photos.
While it has been good to see Apple continue to further embrace customization in iOS 16, it is disappointing to see the removal of older beloved features.
Update: here is a video of how you can set dynamic wallpapers in iOS 16, which are not obvious as the thumbnail in collections shows a blue wallpaper.
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