How to Fix iOS 16 Depth Effect Not Working: 7 Important Factors

In iOS 16, significant improvements were made to the lock screen. A whole new level of customization is available. One of the most coveted improvements to the iPhone lock screen is the depth effect wallpaper.

Depth Effect Wallpaper is a new feature for the iPhone that was introduced with iOS 16. It is similar to the Portrait Watch Face on the Apple Watch.

Here, the main subject in the wallpaper goes above the time fonts when the depth effect is enabled, making the wallpaper more impactful. It puts the main subject in the spotlight.

However, many users who have installed iOS 16 are unable to use the depth effect on the lock screen.

In this article, I will help you fix the depth effect not working on the iPhone lock screen wallpaper on your iPhone.

See Also: iOS 16 Depth Effect Greyed Out (Solved)

How to Fix iOS 16 Depth Effect Not Working

1.      First, Check Device Compatibility

Before panicking about the depth effect not working on your lock screen wallpaper, you should make sure that your iPhone is compatible with this feature. Well, there is no official device compatibility list from Apple, but our testing shows that it supports the iPhone XS and newer models.

Note: On old iPhones, you cannot use the depth effect on captured portrait photos on your iPhone when setting the lock screen. Nonetheless, you can do the same with the pre-installed lock screen wallpapers on iOS 16.

2.      The Depth Effect on iOS 16 Works Only on Portrait Photos

When applying depth effects on the lock screen, you have to make sure that the image you are setting as a lock screen is captured in portrait mode.

FYI, portrait mode is a camera mode where photos are taken with a depth of field effect. That being said, it clicks a photo with a sharp focus on the main subject in the frame and a spectacular blurred background.

3.      Remove Widgets from the Lock Screen

The iOS 16 lock screen depth effect doesn’t work with the widgets.

As previously stated, iOS users can now add widgets to the lock screen beneath the time bar. However, when you add widgets, the depth effect will not work.

Thus, before searching Google for “depth effect on working on lock screen wallpaper on iOS 16 with widget,” keep in mind that you need to remove all widgets.

4.      Depth Effects Are Not Working on Certain Objects on iOS 16

Another important thing I would like to remind you that while testing, I found the depth effect worked smoothly with a person in a portrait photo.

Though depth effect lock screen wallpaper supports animals and other objects, sometimes it may not work. Hence, it is better to use a photo of a person.

Plus, make sure that the person or the subject in the photo is clearly defined. If that’s not the case, the depth effect may not work perfectly.

5.      Learn How to Apply Enable Effect in Lock Screen Wallpaper

Before you jump to the conclusion that the depth effect is not working on your lock screen wallpaper, you need to check whether you are applying the effect correctly. Here’s how to enable the depth effect on the iPhone lock screen:

  1. Firstly, unlock your iPhone with Face ID or Touch ID and then tap and hold on the lock screen anywhere. (If your Face ID doesn’t work, unlock your iPhone with a passcode and swipe down the lock screen or notification screen from the left top corner of the display.)
  2. This will enable the lock screen setting menu. Tap on the “Customise” option located at the bottom.
  3. Now tap on the “Meatballs Menu” (the triple dot menu), at the bottom-right corner.
  4. Now select the “Depth Effect” and it will be activated.

5.      Restart Your iPhone

If this doesn’t work, restart your iPhone and check.

Instead of a regular restart, you should force restart or hard reset your iPhone. This is a common troubleshooting solution to most iPhone issues. Here’s how you can force restart your iOS device.

It is a step-by-step process.

  1. Press volume up key and release.
  2. Press volume down key and release.
  3. Now press and hold the power key/side button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

This will likely solve your issue.

6.      Update to the Latest iOS Version

The above solutions will surely work to solve the issue of the depth effect not working on your iPhone. But if the problem still persists, you should check for new updates.

Sometimes, not updating to the latest iOS 16 version may cause such problems. Here’s how to update your iPhone to the latest iOS.

Settings => General => Software Update

Now it will check if any new updates are available. If there is one, download and install it.


Why Is iOS 16 Depth Effect on the Lock Screen Not Working on My iPhone?

There are several reasons why the depth effect on the lock screen wallpaper is not working. Here are some reasons:

  • The iOS 16 lock screen depth effect doesn’t work on the iPhone X and older iPhone models.
  • If the subject of the wallpaper is not clearly defined.
  • If you haven’t enabled “Depth Effect” in the lock screen customization setting.
  • It won’t work if you have added widgets to the lock screen.
  • If you use the iPhone X or older models, this may not work on your iPhone, so make sure you have the iPhone XS or the later models.

How to Enable the Lock Screen Depth Effect on iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.

If you wish to set a portrait photo captured on your iPhone X as a lock screen wallpaper with a depth effect, it may not work. As stated, this feature doesn’t work on these iPhones.

However, you can select the preinstalled iOS 17 wallpapers, and if you don’t add widgets, the iOS 16 depth effect will work on the iPhone X and older models.

Can I Enable the Lock Screen Depth Effect on Any Photos?

Yes. Depth effects on the lock screen wallpaper work smoothly with the portrait photo, but you can enable them on other wallpapers downloaded from the internet as well.

For instance, you can set a photo of Mount Everest downloaded from the internet and the depth effect will work properly on the iPhone XS and new models.

Why the Lock Screen Depth Effect Doesn’t Work for Photo Library Pics?

The depth effect can work for photo library photos, but the photo must be in portrait mode or at least be a photo with depth. So, it is wrong to say that the lock screen depth effect doesn’t work with iPhone photos stored in the Photos app.

You only need to understand the things mentioned in the above sections.

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