Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
October 5, 2021
minutes to read

In this article, we will explain how to change the wallpaper on Mac. You may ask why we write about such elementary things. Ok, we know that everything is clear on Mac. However, you may learn some useful tips about quick access to this feature and save precious time in the future. Moreover, this article will be useful for those who like to change the background on Mac regularly. Just read to the end to learn more about background pictures and screen savers on Mac. changing background on a mac


1. How to change the wallpaper on Mac
2. How to change the screen saver on Mac
3. How to change login background on Mac

How to change the wallpaper on Mac – Option #1

You can change the wallpaper on Mac right from your browser, for example, when you are surfing images in Safari. For this, do the following:

  1. Make a right click on the picture you want to set as a background.
  2. Select “Use image as Desktop Picture” in the context menu.

How to set a wallpaper on Mac – Option #2

Any image located on your Mac can be set as a desktop picture. For this, follow the steps below:

  1. Find the picture you want to set as the background for your Mac desktop.
  2. Open a right-click menu.
  3. Select Services → Set Desktop Picture.

context menu - set desktop picture option

How to change the desktop background on Mac – Option #3

If you want to set a desktop picture on Mac to a standard one, do the following:

  1. Make a right-click with your mouse on a free window area or double-click on the Macbook touchpad.
  2. In the context menu select Change Desktop Background.
  3. context menu - change desktop background

  4. The window with Desktop Preferences will appear.
  5. Just click the picture you like and the background will be changed.

mac desktop pictures

One more way to find the Desktop & Screen Saver window is to get there right from System Preferences.

system preferences with desktop and screensavers highlighted

It is also possible to set the background with your own pictures, located in the folder Pictures or in Photos. If you want to add a folder of images, click on the “+” sign and add the appropriate folder.

system preferences - desktop pictures with plus button highlighted

Note that if you had earlier selected a folder located on an external hard drive or USB flash drive, disable it from the Mac, and the image on the desktop will be returned automatically to the standard one.
If you want the Mac backgrounds to be changed automatically, tick the checkbox “Change picture” and specify the day. On this day the picture will be changed.

How to change the screen saver on Mac

You can also change your screen saver, or the image, video or text displayed when the computer is not in use. Most Mac users like to choose their own screen savers and do not limit themselves to the default collection. Do the following to change your Mac screen saver:

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Click Desktop & Screen Saver.
  3. Switch to the Screen Saver tab.
  4. Select the screen saver from the collection.
# Tip

If you are a screen saver fan and have a big collection of them, don’t forget that they may eat up sizable memory on your disk. It is recommended that you remove unneeded screen savers to free up disk space and optimize your Mac’s performance. For this purpose, you can use a free application App Cleaner & Uninstaller Pro, designed to completely uninstall apps on a Mac. It also has some more features, among which is the possibility of managing extensions and clearing screen savers.

How to change the login background on Mac

Changing the login background on your Mac requires some completely different steps. The procedure depends on which macOS version you use, and it is not as easy as just changing the desktop image. Now we will show you how to change the login background on macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave.
login background screenshot

How to change the login background on macOS Catalina

If you use macOS Catalina, you will need to disable System Integrity Protection to be able to change the image that appears when you start your Mac. Here is a step-by-step guide for this:

  1. First, select the image you want to use for the Mac login background. Both JPEG and PNG formats can be used.
  2. Make sure that the image fits the resolution requirements for your screen. You can see your display size by going to the Apple MenuAbout this MacDisplay tab. In this case, the image should have the size 2560×1600.
  3. about this mac panel - display tab

  4. Rename your image file as Catalina.heic.
  5. Reboot your Mac in recovery mode. To do this, hold the Command+R shortcut on startup.
  6. Open Terminal from Menu BarUtilities.
  7. menu bar in mac recovery mode showing utilities options

  8. Enter the following command into the Terminal window:
    csrutil disable
  9. terminal window with command to disable sip

  10. Restart your Mac and login as an administrator.
  11. Open Terminal and enter these commands:
    sudo mount -t apfs -wu /dev/disk1s5/Volumes
    and then
    sudo mount -wu /; killall Finder
    It may ask to enter your administrator password.
  12. Open Finder and go to Macintosh HD/System/Library/Desktop Pictures.
  13. In this folder find Catalina.heic file and rename it, for example, oldCatalina.heic.
  14. Move the image you prepared into the Desktop Pictures folder.
  15. Open the Terminal app again and enter the following command:
    diskutil apfs updatePreboot /
    When you restart your Mac, you will see the new login screen wallpaper.
  16. Finally, don’t forget to enable System Integrity Protection again. For this, reboot your Mac in recovery mode using the Command+R shortcut → open Terminal → enter the following command:
    csrutil enable

How to change the login background on macOS Mojave

Changing the login background image on macOS Mojave is easier than on Catalina since you do not need to disable System Integrity Protection for this. Just follow these steps to update the Mac login screen image:

  1. Select the image you want to use for the Mac login background. Make sure that the image fits the resolution requirements for your screen. To see your display size, go to the Apple Menu About this MacDisplay tab.
  2. Rename your image file as Mojave.heic.
  3. finder window showing mojave heic file

  4. Open Finder → press Command-Shift-G → navigate /Library/Desktop Pictures/.
  5. Go to folder search files showing desktop pictures location

  6. Find the Mojave.heic file and rename it, for example, Mojave_old.heic.
  7. Move the image you prepared for login wallpaper to the Desktop Pictures folder. The system will ask you to enter the administrator password for this
  8. Restart your Mac and enjoy a new login screen background.


Every computer user wants to customize his machine in order to create a pleasant work environment. We showed you how to change the desktop wallpaper, screen saver and even the login screen background on Mac. Use this tutorial to make your Mac even more enjoyable. If you have tons of screen savers, don’t forget to clean up unneeded ones using a free tool App Cleaner & Uninstaller.

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