05/08/2013

How to extract default/current wallpaper from an Android Device; Root required

It can happen with anyone. You lust for a wallpaper that you just can't find anywhere else on the internet. Given that your phone is rooted, there isn't any file on your android phone that you can't access. So, obviously, you can get to that wallpaper you've always wanted too. To help you through the process, this guide will let you know the location of the wallpaper on an Android device.

Starting with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, limited availability of multiple user profiles was introduced. This caused a change in the location of the current wallpaper path. I am listing down the two locations, thus covering all Android versions (at the time of writing).

Getting to the root of your Device:

  • Get yourself a good file manager with root permissions. ES File Explorer is a good free one and can compete with any paid one. And yes, you heard it right. Root permissions are a must if you want to get down to that file.
  • Open the File Explorer app you are going to use.
  • If the current location isn't already / (i.e. the root of your phone), go there. On ES File Explorer, swipe to the left to access the Fast Access menu and tap on / Device.

Location of Current wallpaper:

  • For Android 4.0 and below:
    • Once in /, go to /data/data/com.android.settings/files.
  • For Android 4.1 and above:
    • Once in/, go to /data/system/users/0/.
  • Find a file named wallpaper in that folder and copy it to any location you want. Rename the copied file to anything.jpg or anything.png to open it as a normal image file.
Note: I tried manually putting a file named wallpaper in that folder. But doing so restored the original wallpaper on my mobile. Not sure how you can use this location to set your wallpaper manually, though I think trying to add a wallpaper this way is a simple waste of time. Still, if you somehow succeed to replace a wallpaper using this location, do let us know in the comments.

Location of Stock Wallpapers:

This is common for all versions of Android.
  • Go to /system/framework. Copy the framework-res.apk file from there.
  • Paste the framework-res.apk file anywhere and extract it.
  • In the extracted folder, go to /res and look for the wallpaper file in the  folders that start with drawable there. Depending on the resolution of your device, the file may be in any of the /drawable folders. An obvious tip would be to use the search option and search for the keyword "Wallpaper".
  • If you want to change the default wallpaper, you will have to decompile the apk (which you have already done) and then recompile it back and push it to your Android device. There is a tool named apktool to help you in the process.
This guide will help you get some system wallpapers you had been craving for ages. I used this to get all the wallpapers from my friend's Micromax Canvas HD. In that post, I had promised you that I'd share the method and look, I just did that.
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