The standard experience for changing your Chromebook’s wallpaper has been unchanged for many years. We’ve been watching a new update to the Wallpapers app for quite some time now, and not until recently did it mature enough to discuss. Instead of being a built-in application, the new experience is a system web app (SWA) which means that it’s a progressive web app or a website that runs offline! By enabling the #wallpaper-webui flag on Chrome OS Canary, you can experience this for yourself right now.
Enable new wallpaper experience
Enables the wallpaper picker in Chrome OS Settings – Chrome OS#wallpaper-webui
The Wallpaper SWA rids you of the left-aligned sidebar for wallpaper categories, and in its place, gives you a clean tiled layout in the center of the page, which is good because the default wallpapers have grown significantly in recent times. Each category has rounded corners, and at the top, the active wallpaper is displayed. Only today did the option to fill the entire screen or center the image appear here, and prior to this past week, the entire app was barren of any styling whatsoever.
As with before, simply clicking on a wallpaper once you enter one of the categories will apply it, so while there’s not much functionality here, there really doesn’t need to be. You’ll still be able to see the artist of the current design, as you previously could, but one notable exclusion is the daily refresh option which would change your wallpaper within the category to a new design every 24 hours.
Being that the new app doesn’t seem complete yet, there’s still time for Google to add this back in for those that would be sad without it, but there’s also the chance that it will just fall by the wayside. I’m not entirely sure how often anyone used it, so we’ll see what comes of it in the weeks ahead. Kent Duke over at Android Police mocked up what the app would look like if Material You were applied post-launch, and it honestly looks incredible, so check it out!