How to Change Wallpaper on Mac

Are you tired of looking at the same old wallpaper on your Mac? Well, it’s time to give your desktop a fresh new look! Changing the wallpaper on your Mac is a simple and fun way to personalize your computer and add a touch of your own style. Whether you want to use a stunning nature photograph or a motivational quote as your background, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of changing the wallpaper on your Mac, so let’s dive in!

Ready for a visual makeover for your Mac? The wallpaper is the perfect place to start. Your desktop background is like a blank canvas waiting to be filled with something that inspires you or brings a smile to your face. With a few clicks, you can transform your Mac’s appearance and make it truly yours. So, without further ado, let’s explore the exciting world of wallpaper customization on your Mac!

1. Finding the Perfect Wallpaper

Before diving into the process of changing your wallpaper, you need to find an image that you want to use as your new background. There are several websites where you can find a wide variety of wallpapers to suit your taste. Some popular options include Unsplash, Pexels, and WallpaperHub. You can browse through their collections, use the search bar to find specific themes or styles, and download the image that catches your eye.

1.1 High-Resolution Images

When selecting a wallpaper, it’s essential to choose a high-resolution image to ensure it looks sharp and vibrant on your Mac’s screen. High-resolution wallpapers have a higher pixel density, which means they have more detail and clarity. Look for images with a resolution of at least 2560 x 1600 pixels for Retina displays or 1920 x 1080 pixels for standard displays.

1.2 Categorize and Organize

As you explore various wallpapers, it’s helpful to categorize them based on themes, colors, or moods. Create folders on your Mac to store different collections of wallpapers. This way, you can easily switch between wallpapers based on your mood or preferences. For example, you can have separate folders for nature wallpapers, abstract art, or minimalistic designs.

1.3 Customizing Wallpaper

If you have some basic image editing skills, you can also customize wallpapers to make them truly unique. Software like Adobe Photoshop or free online editors like Pixlr allow you to crop, resize, or add filters to images. You can also overlay text, create collages, or apply other artistic effects to give your wallpaper a personal touch.

1.4 Wallpaper Apps

If you prefer a more automated approach, you can use wallpaper apps available in the Mac App Store. These apps provide a vast collection of wallpapers and offer features like automatic wallpaper rotation, daily wallpaper updates, and even dynamic wallpapers that change based on the time of day or weather conditions.

2. Changing the Wallpaper on Mac

Now that you have found the perfect wallpaper or collection of wallpapers, it’s time to apply them to your Mac. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change your wallpaper:

2.1 Open System Preferences

Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences” from the dropdown menu.

2.2 Choose Desktop & Screen Saver

In the System Preferences window, you’ll find various settings options. Look for the “Desktop & Screen Saver” icon and click on it to open the preferences for customizing your desktop appearance.

2.3 Select Wallpaper

Once the “Desktop & Screen Saver” window is open, you’ll see a wide range of wallpaper options on the left side of the window. Browse through the available categories or click on the “+” button to add your own collection. Select the wallpaper you want to use by clicking on it.

2.4 Adjust Wallpaper Settings

After selecting the wallpaper, you can adjust its appearance settings. You can choose to fill the screen, fit the image to the screen, or stretch it to fit. You can also opt for a different wallpaper for each monitor if you are using multiple displays.

2.5 Set the Wallpaper

Once you are satisfied with your wallpaper selection and settings, close the preferences window. Your new wallpaper will now be applied to your desktop. Enjoy your refreshed Mac experience!

3. Changing Wallpaper Shortcut

If you want to change your wallpaper more frequently or prefer a quick shortcut, here’s a handy tip:

3.1 Right-Click on Desktop

Simply right-click on your desktop and select “Change Desktop Background” from the context menu that appears. It will directly open the “Desktop & Screen Saver” preferences, allowing you to choose a new wallpaper without going through System Preferences.

3.2 Use Hotkey Combination

Another shortcut is to use the hotkey combination “Control + Command + F” on your keyboard. This instantly opens the “Desktop & Screen Saver” preferences, making it convenient to change wallpapers on the fly.

3.3 Dynamic Desktop

If you’re running macOS Mojave or later, you have the option to use Dynamic Desktop, which changes the wallpaper based on the time of day. To enable Dynamic Desktop, go to “System Preferences,” select “Desktop & Screen Saver,” and choose one of the available Dynamic Desktop options.

3.4 Automate Wallpaper Changes

If you like variety and want your wallpaper to change automatically at regular intervals, you can use third-party apps like “Wallpaper Wizard” or “Mojave Dynamic Wallpaper.” These apps allow you to set up automatic wallpaper rotation from a collection of images or dynamic wallpapers.

4. Troubleshooting Wallpaper Issues

If you encounter any issues while changing your wallpaper on Mac, here are a few troubleshooting tips:

4.1 Check Image Format

Ensure that your wallpaper image is in a compatible format. macOS supports popular image formats like JPEG, PNG, and TIFF. If your image is in an unsupported format, convert it using an image editing tool or an online converter.

4.2 Image Size and Resolution

Make sure your wallpaper image meets the recommended size and resolution requirements for your specific Mac model. Using an image that is too small or low resolution might result in pixelation or blurry appearance.

4.3 File Location

If you’ve downloaded a wallpaper image from the internet or moved it to a different location on your Mac, ensure that the file is accessible and not deleted or moved to the trash. Select the image file again in the “Desktop & Screen Saver” preferences to ensure it’s in the correct location.

4.4 Restart or Logout

If you’re experiencing any issues with your wallpaper not updating or appearing correctly, try restarting your Mac or logging out and back in. This can help refresh the system and resolve any temporary glitches.

4.5 Disable Third-Party Wallpaper Apps

If you have any third-party wallpaper apps installed, they might conflict with the default wallpaper settings. Try disabling or uninstalling these apps and use the built-in macOS wallpaper settings to see if the issue is resolved.

5. Wallpaper Preferences

Customizing your wallpaper preferences allows you to control various aspects of how your wallpapers are displayed on your Mac. Here are four key preferences you can explore:

5.1 Wallpaper Position

Choose how your wallpaper is positioned on the screen. You can opt for options like “Fill Screen,” “Fit to Screen,” “Stretch to Fill Screen,” or “Tile.” Experiment with different positions to find the one that best suits your wallpaper and screen resolution.

5.2 Wallpaper Slideshow

Instead of sticking to a single wallpaper, you can set up a slideshow that rotates through a collection of wallpapers. Customize the duration between each slide and select specific folders or albums to pull images from. This feature is perfect for those who like to see a variety of wallpapers on their Mac.

5.3 Screen Saver Integration

Integrate your wallpaper settings with your screen saver preferences. Choose whether you want your wallpaper to be the same as your screen saver or have different settings for each. This allows for a seamless transition between your desktop and screen saver visuals.

5.4 Hot Corners

Configure hot corners on your Mac to quickly activate certain wallpaper-related actions. For example, you can set a hot corner to instantly change your wallpaper or activate the screen saver. This provides convenient shortcuts to enhance your wallpaper customization experience.

6. Managing Wallpaper Collections

As you accumulate a vast collection of wallpapers, it’s important to stay organized. Here are four tips for managing your wallpaper collections effectively:

6.1 Folder Structure

Create a folder structure on your Mac to store and categorize your wallpapers. You can have main folders for different themes (e.g., nature, art, quotes) and subfolders within each theme for further organization. This makes it easier to find specific wallpapers when you want to switch things up.

6.2 Renaming Files

To avoid confusion and ensure clarity, consider renaming your wallpaper files with descriptive names. Use keywords related to the image, such as location, subject, or artist. Renaming files can make it easier to search for specific wallpapers in your collection.

6.3 Backup and Sync

Regularly backup your wallpaper collection to prevent any accidental loss of files. You can use cloud storage services like iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive to securely store your wallpapers and ensure they are accessible across multiple devices.

6.4 Removing Unused Wallpapers

Periodically review your wallpaper collection and remove any images that you no longer use or resonate with. This helps keep your collection fresh and prevents clutter. Consider donating or sharing wallpapers that you no longer need with others who might appreciate them.

7. Using Dynamic Wallpapers

Dynamic wallpapers provide an interactive and ever-changing desktop experience. Here are four aspects to consider when using dynamic wallpapers on your Mac:

7.1 Built-in Dynamic Wallpapers

macOS offers a range of built-in dynamic wallpapers that change throughout the day or based on your location. Explore the available options in the “Desktop & Screen Saver” preferences and choose the one that appeals to you. These wallpapers can add a lively and dynamic element to your desktop.

7.2 Third-Party Dynamic Wallpaper Apps

Expand your dynamic wallpaper collection by exploring third-party apps dedicated to providing a wide range of dynamic wallpapers. Apps like “Living Wallpaper” or “Dynamic Wallpaper Club” offer an extensive selection of animated and interactive wallpapers. These wallpapers can include elements like moving patterns, weather effects, or changing landscapes to keep your desktop visually engaging.

7.3 Customizing Dynamic Wallpapers

Some dynamic wallpaper apps allow you to customize the behavior and appearance of the wallpapers. You can adjust settings such as animation speed, color schemes, or the frequency of changes. Experiment with different customizations to create a dynamic wallpaper experience that suits your preferences.

7.4 Creating Your Own Dynamic Wallpaper

If you have the skills and inclination, you can even create your own dynamic wallpapers. Software tools like Quartz Composer or specialized apps like “Dynaper” provide the means to design and develop unique dynamic wallpapers. Let your creativity shine by crafting personalized wallpapers that reflect your style and interests.

8. Syncing Wallpapers Across Devices

If you use multiple Apple devices, you may want to sync your wallpapers across all of them for a consistent experience. Here are four methods to achieve wallpaper synchronization:

8.1 iCloud Sync

iCloud offers seamless synchronization of various settings, including wallpapers. Ensure that you have iCloud enabled on all your devices and that the “Desktop & Screen Saver” preference is enabled in iCloud settings. This way, any changes you make to your wallpaper on one device will be reflected on all your other devices.

8.2 Third-Party Wallpaper Apps

Several third-party wallpaper apps, such as “WLPPR” or “Everpix,” provide cross-device synchronization features. These apps typically require you to create an account and sign in on each device. Once logged in, your wallpaper preferences and collections will be synced across all your devices automatically.

8.3 Manual File Transfer

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can manually transfer wallpaper files between your devices. This involves connecting your devices, either via USB or using file-sharing services like AirDrop or cloud storage solutions. Locate your wallpaper files on one device and transfer them to the appropriate location on the other devices.

8.4 Online Wallpaper Services

There are online wallpaper services, such as “Walli” or “Zedge,” that offer account-based wallpaper synchronization. By signing in with the same account on multiple devices, you can access your favorite wallpapers and collections across all your devices with ease.

9. Using Wallpaper Widgets

Enhance your desktop experience by utilizing wallpaper widgets. These are interactive elements that can be added to your wallpaper to provide useful information or quick access to certain features. Here are four types of wallpaper widgets you can explore:

9.1 Weather Widget

Add a weather widget to your wallpaper that displays real-time weather updates for your location. This can include temperature, forecast, and weather conditions. It’s a convenient way to stay informed about the weather without opening a separate app or website.

9.2 Calendar Widget

Keep track of your schedule by integrating a calendar widget into your wallpaper. This widget can show upcoming appointments, events, or reminders, ensuring that you stay organized and never miss an important task.

9.3 To-Do List Widget

If you’re a fan of to-do lists and productivity, consider adding a to-do list widget to your wallpaper. This widget allows you to create, manage, and check off tasks directly from your desktop, providing a visual reminder of your priorities and goals.

9.4 System Monitoring Widget

Monitor your system’s performance and resource usage by incorporating a system monitoring widget into your wallpaper. This widget can display information such as CPU usage, memory usage, and network activity, helping you keep an eye on your Mac’s performance at a glance.

10. Wallpaper Automation

Automate the process of changing wallpapers on your Mac to keep your desktop fresh and exciting. Here are four methods of automating wallpaper changes:

10.1 Scheduled Wallpaper Changes

Set up a schedule for wallpaper changes based on specific times or days. This allows you to have a new wallpaper every morning, at the start of each week, or during certain events or seasons. You can use built-in automation tools like Automator or third-party apps like “Backgrounds” to schedule wallpaper changes.

10.2 Randomized Wallpaper Selection

Create a collection of wallpapers and enable randomization. With this automation, your Mac will randomly select a wallpaper from your collection each time you log in or at specific intervals. This keeps your desktop surprising and prevents monotony.

10.3 Dynamic Wallpaper Rotation

If you have dynamic wallpapers, set up an automatic rotation between different dynamic wallpaper options. This way, you can enjoy different dynamic wallpapers throughout the day, adding a dynamic and ever-changing element to your desktop experience.

10.4 Wallpaper Playlist

Create a playlist of wallpapers that automatically changes at set intervals. Similar to creating a slideshow, you can specify the duration for each wallpaper before it transitions to the next. This automation ensures that you have a continuous stream of fresh wallpapers without any manual intervention.

11. Wallpaper Customization Tools

Take your wallpaper customization to the next level by exploring various wallpaper customization tools. These tools provide advanced features for editing, designing, and creating unique wallpapers. Here are four popular wallpaper customization tools:

11.1 Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a powerful image editing software that allows you to manipulate and enhance your wallpaper images. With features like layers, filters, and effects, you can create stunning and personalized wallpapers that truly reflect your style and vision.

11.2 Canva

Canva is a user-friendly online design tool that offers a wide range of templates and design elements for creating beautiful wallpapers. It provides a drag-and-drop interface, allowing you to easily add text, graphics, and other elements to your wallpaper. Canva also offers pre-designed wallpaper templates, making it convenient for users with minimal design experience.

11.3 Fotor

Fotor is a versatile online photo editing tool that offers a range of features specifically tailored for wallpaper customization. It provides advanced editing options, filters, effects, and collage-making capabilities. With Fotor, you can easily transform your images into stunning wallpapers that suit your style.

11.4 Wallpaper Engine

Wallpaper Engine is a popular software application for Windows that allows you to create and use animated and interactive wallpapers. It provides a vast library of animated wallpapers created by the community, or you can import your own designs. Wallpaper Engine offers various customization options, including particle effects, audio synchronization, and interactive elements.

12. Wallpaper Inspirations

If you’re seeking inspiration for your wallpaper choices, here are four sources to spark your creativity:

12.1 Nature Photography

Explore breathtaking nature photography websites and galleries to find stunning landscapes, majestic mountains, serene beaches, or vibrant wildlife images. Nature wallpapers can bring a sense of tranquility and beauty to your desktop.

12.2 Art and Illustration

Discover the world of art and illustration to find unique and captivating wallpapers. From abstract artwork to intricate illustrations, there are countless options that can add a touch of creativity and inspiration to your Mac’s desktop.

12.3 Typography and Quotes

Typography-based wallpapers featuring motivational quotes, inspiring messages, or witty phrases can serve as a daily reminder or a source of motivation. Look for websites or social media accounts dedicated to typography and quotes for an extensive collection of uplifting wallpaper options.

12.4 Minimalist Designs

If you prefer a clean and minimalistic look, search for wallpapers with simple designs, geometric patterns, or monochromatic color schemes. Minimalist wallpapers can provide a sleek and uncluttered aesthetic, allowing your desktop icons and apps to stand out.

13. Wallpaper Resolution and Aspect Ratio

When selecting wallpapers, it’s important to consider the resolution and aspect ratio to ensure optimal display quality. Here’s a breakdown of resolution and aspect ratio considerations:

13.1 Resolution

Choose wallpapers with a resolution that matches or exceeds your Mac’s display resolution. Higher resolutions result in sharper and more detailed wallpapers. For Retina displays, aim for resolutions of 2560 x 1600 pixels or higher. For standard displays, 1920 x 1080 pixels or higher is recommended.

13.2 Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio refers to the proportional relationship between the width and height of an image. It’s crucial to select wallpapers with an aspect ratio that matches your screen to prevent stretching or cropping. Common aspect ratios include 16:10, 16:9, and 4:3. Find wallpapers specifically designed for your Mac’s aspect ratio to ensure a perfect fit.


Changing the wallpaper on your Mac allows you to personalize your computer and add a touch of your own style. By exploring various wallpapers, customizing settings, and utilizing dynamic wallpapers, you can transform your desktop into a visually captivating and inspiring environment. Additionally, managing your wallpaper collections, syncing wallpapers across devices, and troubleshooting any issues that may arise ensure a smooth and enjoyable wallpaper customization experience. So, get creative, find the perfect wallpaper, and make your Mac truly yours!

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