While consoles don’t allow for as much customization as a gaming PC, you can still enjoy small touches to tailor your system to your tastes. On an Xbox Series X or Series S, one of the easiest ways to do this is to set a new background for your home screen.
But you don’t have to stick to boring static wallpapers; your Xbox includes several dynamic backgrounds that add life to your menu experience. Let’s look at the best.
How to Access Live Backgrounds on Xbox Series X|S
To access options related to your background on an Xbox Series X or S, go to Settings > General > Personalization > My Background. Here, select the Dynamic backgrounds option to cycle through the available options.
We will stick to the list of best dynamic Xbox themes here. Since there are only 17 at the time of writing, it’s worth going through them all. They are divided into three categories.
If you need more help navigating the menus, check out our guide to setting a dynamic theme on Xbox Series X|S.
These backgrounds are playful and don’t stick to a specific art style.
Waves is a simple background with twisted stripes moving slowly across your screen. It’s an attractive animation that doesn’t distract from the content of the menus.
This background is affected by the color you choose for your system, allowing you to customize it further. Check out our guide to other ways to personalize your Xbox to learn how to set your favorite color to change this live wallpaper (and many more).
2. Waves: faded
This background is the same as Waves, except the colors are washed out. If you find Waves making it too hard to see what’s going on in the menu, try this for a muted approach.
Like Waves, this background is affected by your system color.
3. Projector: Ultraviolet
Choosing this background gives you an abstract blob of purple, pink, and blue coloring. It’s like looking at something through a microscope. The slow and simple background is ideal for minimalists and is unaffected by your system color.
4. Spotlight: Midnight
Midnight is the same style as Ultraviolet but uses blue, green, and yellow colors. If you prefer cooler color shades, try this one.
5. Spotlight: Already Goo
The final Spotlight dynamic theme resembles its siblings. Its color scheme is orange and blue, giving it a more contrasting look. It brings back memories of an autumn day by the water.
Stripes displays several stripes, all of which are black except one. The individual band is green by default or will change to your chosen Xbox system color. And since it’s dynamic, the bands move slightly.
Like a rock dropped into a pool of water, the Ripple background shows rings emerging from a central point. It’s a calming slow motion. Try changing your system color to blue for even more water effect.
This background will make you feel like you are looking into a field of fireflies, or maybe a starry sky. It features a smoky background with floating lights in the front, making it a good choice for night fans.
Try another color to make it even darker.
9. The original
Are you nostalgic for the first Xbox console? This dynamic background brings back the boot animation and home menu background from Microsoft’s first console. For some reason it’s not under the Xbox title.
If you’ve owned an Xbox for decades, this one will bring back fond memories. And you’re not limited to a cool visual; you can also play many old Xbox games on your Series X|S.
The dynamic Xbox background called Mercury looks like a moving pool of the namesake element. It brings a lava lamp-like experience to your Xbox and is the last theme on the list that changes to reflect your chosen Xbox color.
These backgrounds celebrate the Xbox brand and its history.
11. Game pass
Xbox Game Pass is one of the best gaming deals out there, and you can celebrate it with this live wallpaper. It depicts a set of buildings with game icons like a lightning bolt, an arcade machine and a heart.
The dynamic elements, such as the floating heart and the shining lights, are subtle. But its unique art style makes it stand out among the options.
If you’re not yet a member, check out our introduction to Xbox Game Pass to learn how it works.
12. Xbox 20th Anniversary
Xbox celebrated its 20th anniversary in November 2001, and this special background was part of the celebration. It features “20” with an Xbox logo inside the zero, as well as dots moving around the elements on the edges.
This background is unique in that you must have the Xbox 20th Anniversary Controller plugged into your console for it to show up in the list. As of this writing, this controller is sold out on Microsoft’s store, so you’ll have to look to another retailer or third-party options if you’re interested.
13. Xbox 360
If you want to celebrate Xbox history but can’t get the anniversary controller, try this background. It features the classic Xbox 360 logo and green rings, which move slightly to give it a dynamic element.
Finally, there are a few dynamic backgrounds that represent Xbox titles.
14. Infinite Halo
Celebrate the latest release in the Halo franchise with this live wallpaper. It features the game’s box art with a few small active elements, like ship movement and flares going up in the background.
15. Halo Infinite: Courage
Here is another dynamic Halo Infinite background that shows an action scene. Moving elements include planes that cross the screen and dust kicking up in the background.
16. Wasteland 3: Cult of the Holy Detonation
This background promotes DLC for Wasteland 3 by allowing you to use a scene from the game as a background. The dynamic elements are subtle, which means it’s likely that only fans of this game will enjoy this background.
And since the DLC received largely negative reviews on Steam, it’s safe to call this the worst Xbox Series X|S dynamic background. It’s not even an Xbox released title, so that’s an odd inclusion.
17. Backyard Sunset
Grounded is a survival game published by Xbox Game Studios that shrinks you to the size of an ant. As a result, this dynamic scene has a perspective from the ground. You’ll see the water and light change as you appreciate the scenery through the eyes of an insect.
Enhance your Xbox with Dynamic Themes
With over a dozen options to choose from, there’s something for everyone in the Xbox Series X|S list of dynamic backgrounds. Microsoft has been slowly adding to the list over time, so we should see even more backgrounds throughout the life of these consoles.
Beyond backgrounds, there are plenty of ways to get the most out of your Xbox Series X or S.