Custom background image on Cisco IP Phone


This is a short article on how to create a custom background image on Cisco IP phone managed by Cisco Unified Communications Manager(CUCM). We will consider IP Phone Cisco 8851 and CUCM 11.5, but the provided instructions are applicable to any IP Phone managed by CUCM.

Background Image Format

The first thing we need to do is create PNG image files with proper parameters (resolution and color depth). We need two files, because one will be used as a background image itself another is its thumbnail which will be displayed on the image selection screen on the phone.

For Cisco 8851 the parameters are:

  • Full size image – 800 pixels (width) X 480 pixels (height). Color depth – 24bit
  • Thumbnail image – 139 pixels (width) X 109 pixels (height). Color depth – 24bit

Background Image Location

The IP Phone downloads background images from TFTP server, therefore we have to upload our image files to TFTP(in our case it is CUCM).

Before IP Phone can download the image files it has to download a special file List.xml which contains URLs of all available images for that particular phone model. The thing is that each phone model is looking for its List.xml file in its corresponding directory on TFTP. For example,  8800 series phones are looking for List.xml in directory Desktops/800x480x24, but 7975 IP Phone is requesting its List.xml file from Desktops/320x216x16.

Now that we learned a bit of theory let’s do it.

Step 1.

Go to Cisco Unified OS Administration.  Select Software Upgrades -> TFTP File Management. Upload your both image files to the directory Desktops/800x480x24. You can see on the screenshot that my image files (1.png, 1-tn.png etc.) are in a correct directory, besides that there is already a List.xml file.

Step 2.

Now let’s download the List.xml file from Desktops/800x480x24 and add URLs of our new images to it.

You can use TFTPD32  to download the file :

Once downloaded, add URLs of your image files. List.xml file should look similar to this:

List.xml file

The first URL for each ImageItem contains path to a thumbnail image and the second URL is for the full image.

After the content of the List.xml has been modified upload the List.xml file back to its directory Desktops/800x480x24.

Step 3.

The last step is to restart the TFTP service on CUCM.

Go to Cisco Unified Serviceability. Select Control Center – Feature Services and restart the TFTP service.

After you restart the TFTP service new images will be able to select new images on the phone:

Go to Settings -> Wallpaper on the phone and select a new image file.


If you need to add a custom background image for other phone models you can either Google for their proper image resolutions and directories or have a look at their Admin guides on

Thank you for reading:)


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