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How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

Using a Terminal command, you can turn any screensaver into your background wallpaper on the Mac. In the screenshot above I have the iTunes Album Art screensaver running as the Mac OS X desktop, but you can choose any screensaver you want. Here’s how to do this:

  • Launch System Preferences
  • Click on Desktop & Screen Saver and choose the screensaver you want to set as the background
  • Open Terminal (located in /Applications/Utilities/) and paste in the following command:

Hit the Return key to execute the command string, this will start the screen saver in the background immediately.

As long as this command is running, the screen saver will be active. If you close the Terminal window, the screen saver will end and your Macs wallpaper will return to whatever you had previously.

Having trouble with the above syntax working? Make sure your syntax is correct, and that you’re using the proper syntax for each MacOS version.

If you’re on MacOS High Sierra or later, the command syntax must be modified slightly as so to run the Mac screensaver as wallpaper, like so:

Also, recall that the above commands need to be on a single line in order to execute properly. If you’re having issues copying and pasting the above text, you can split it into two commands.

First change the directory:

Then execute the screensaver command:

If you split the command into two, there is a period before the second part, so don’t miss that.

Stopping the screensaver is just a matter of hitting Control+Z, or closing the active terminal window. Although if you want, you can set the process to run on it’s own by adding an ampersand (&) to the end of the last command too, but then to stop the process you’d need to target it with Activity Monitor or the kill command.

How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

The screensaver will take a few seconds and load as the desktop wallpaper. This ends up giving your Mac an effect similar to Android OS’s living wallpapers (you can get living wallpapers on iPhone too but you have to jailbreak).

Most screensavers won’t use too much CPU, in testing they generally run between 4-12% although Arabesque spiked as high as 40% at times. The amount of resources taken up depends on the screen saver itself, and the size of the displays where the screen saver is being rendered on, as well as the Mac itself. Regardless, running a screensaver in the background isn’t a good idea if you’re trying to preserve battery life or you need CPU power for something else.

This trick is a bit of an oldie but goodie, but I still use it from time to time for the eyecandy. It works in all versions of OS X from the earliest releases of Mac OS X to El Capitan. One of the more pleasantly subtle backgrounds to use this with are the image based screensavers like Beach or Forest, or you can create one with your own pictures, the effect is a moving background that pans and uses the “Ken Burns” effect over the images.

How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

Do you have a collection of images and photos that you’d like to become a screen saver on the Mac? This offers a simple and nice way to customize a screen saver to include only your own images and pictures, and it’s quite easy to accomplish in macOS and Mac OS X.

You can make a nice screensaver out of a collection of your own images within Mac OS X very easily, the only requirements are having a folder containing the photos you want to use as the screensaver, then configuring the screen saver. This is quite easy, here are the steps:

How to Make a Screen Saver with Any Pictures on Mac

  1. Create a new folder in the Finder, let’s call it ‘My ScreenSaver’
  2. Gather images from your photo albums and drop them into ‘My Screensaver’ folder
  3. Launch System Preferences from the  Apple menu
  4. Click on Desktop & Screensaver
  5. Click the Screensaver tab, then click on a type of image screen saver, for example Origami or Slideshow or “Ken Burns”
  6. Click the “Source” sub menu” (for older MacOS versions, select the + button near the bottom of the screensaver list)
  7. Select “Add Folder of Pictures”
  8. Navigate to the “My ScreenSaver” pictures folder you created earlier
  9. That’s it!

How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

You can now select various effects for the screensaver by clicking the tiled icons and Options, to determine how the images are displayed, if they’re faded in and out, cropped, etc.

Newer versions of Mac OS X have separated a wide variety of new options into completely different screen savers, choosing a source folder will stay consistent across choice as you test the slideshow effect.

In modern Mac OS versions, you have even more display options to choose from, as you can turn any of the built-in “Slideshow” screen savers into something featuring your own pictures just by clicking the “Source” menu and selecting a folder, as shown in this screenshot:

This process of making your own screensaver is even easier if you use the Photos app or iPhoto, because iPhoto and Photos app both automatically hooks up to the ScreenSaver preference pane, you simply select the photo album you want displayed and the rest is the same.

For those who are on older Mac versions, adding the image folder to the screen saver is done through the bottom of the screen saver list. This is different from the newer versions of Mac software where the screen saver source is chosen in the image screen saver itself.

How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

If you know of a different or better way to use a collection of your own pictures as a screen saver on the Mac, share with us in the comments below!

How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

Using a Terminal command, you can turn any screensaver into your background wallpaper on the Mac. In the screenshot above I have the iTunes Album Art screensaver running as the Mac OS X desktop, but you can choose any screensaver you want. Here’s how to do this:

  • Launch System Preferences
  • Click on Desktop & Screen Saver and choose the screensaver you want to set as the background
  • Open Terminal (located in /Applications/Utilities/) and paste in the following command:

Hit the Return key to execute the command string, this will start the screen saver in the background immediately.

As long as this command is running, the screen saver will be active. If you close the Terminal window, the screen saver will end and your Macs wallpaper will return to whatever you had previously.

Having trouble with the above syntax working? Make sure your syntax is correct, and that you’re using the proper syntax for each MacOS version.

If you’re on MacOS High Sierra or later, the command syntax must be modified slightly as so to run the Mac screensaver as wallpaper, like so:

Also, recall that the above commands need to be on a single line in order to execute properly. If you’re having issues copying and pasting the above text, you can split it into two commands.

First change the directory:

Then execute the screensaver command:

If you split the command into two, there is a period before the second part, so don’t miss that.

Stopping the screensaver is just a matter of hitting Control+Z, or closing the active terminal window. Although if you want, you can set the process to run on it’s own by adding an ampersand (&) to the end of the last command too, but then to stop the process you’d need to target it with Activity Monitor or the kill command.

How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

The screensaver will take a few seconds and load as the desktop wallpaper. This ends up giving your Mac an effect similar to Android OS’s living wallpapers (you can get living wallpapers on iPhone too but you have to jailbreak).

Most screensavers won’t use too much CPU, in testing they generally run between 4-12% although Arabesque spiked as high as 40% at times. The amount of resources taken up depends on the screen saver itself, and the size of the displays where the screen saver is being rendered on, as well as the Mac itself. Regardless, running a screensaver in the background isn’t a good idea if you’re trying to preserve battery life or you need CPU power for something else.

This trick is a bit of an oldie but goodie, but I still use it from time to time for the eyecandy. It works in all versions of OS X from the earliest releases of Mac OS X to El Capitan. One of the more pleasantly subtle backgrounds to use this with are the image based screensavers like Beach or Forest, or you can create one with your own pictures, the effect is a moving background that pans and uses the “Ken Burns” effect over the images.

How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

If you have ever wanted to play a movie, video, or multiple videos as a screen saver on a Mac, then SaveHollywood is the screensaver for you. The free download allows for playing just about any locally stored video file format as the Mac OS X screen saver, with many options for customization.

This is great whether you want to play some of the videos captured on your iPhone as your Macs screen saver, or if you want your favorite movie to play when the Mac is inactive.

How to Play Any Movie as a Screen Saver in Mac OS X

  1. Get SaveHollywood from the developer, it’s a free download, unzip the file and double-click the SaveHollywood.saver file to install the screen saver*
  2. Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu and go to “Desktop & Screensaver” if you haven’t already done so through the installation process, then go to “Screensaver” and locate “SaveHollywood” from the left side

How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

  • Adjust the SaveHollywood preferences as appropriate for your video(s) playing needs
  • Drag & drop a movie or video file(s) into the settings to add the video, or click the [+] plus button to add a video manually to the screensaver

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

  • Click on “Preview” or start the screen saver as usual to test the movie playing out
  • How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    In the example here, I am using one of the Aerial Apple TV screensavers of Hawaii downloaded locally as a video file (sample file is here as a 150MB .mov) rather than streaming it from Apple servers, but you can add or play any movie you want that’s on the Mac.

    It appears that just about every major movie file format is supported, so as long as the video opens in QuickTime Player it will almost certainly open and play in SaveHollywood as a screen saver as well. If you’re encountering a video file that won’t play use one of the free Mac video conversion apps discussed here to bring the file to a compatible format.

    2020 Update: This is a 32bit app, which means it will only work in versions of macOS prior to High Sierra (10.13). With that said, the app still works and it’s fun if you have an old Mac.

    If you’re looking for something fun for your Mac, check out how to play Nintendo games as a screensaver for macOS (and Windows).

    I recently stumbled across a terrific little program called Wallsaver, which lets you change your desktop wallpaper into any of your installed screensavers. Keep reading for details and screenshots…

    1. The installation is very straight forward – just drag Wallsaver.app to your Applications folder. Launch it as you would any other program.
    2. You’ll be presented with its painfully easy to use interface. Click Activate to start it.

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    Your desktop background/wallpaper will change to whatever screensaver you have enabled at the time.

    At this point you can quit Wallsaver and your screensaver will remain as your background. If at any point you wish to return to your normal background, simple re-launch Wallsaver and click the Restore button.

    Though enabling Wallsaver will use some CPU, it’s actually quite minimal. Try as I might, I couldn’t get it to use more than 7% using the Flurry screensaver (2GHz 1st gen MacBook Pro).

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    If this article helped you, I’d be grateful if you could share it on your preferred social network – it helps me a lot. If you’re feeling particularly generous, you could buy me a coffee and I’d be super grateful 🙂

    Можно выбрать картинку, отображаемую на рабочем столе. В компьютере Mac есть несколько десятков картинок. Вы также можете использовать свои собственные изображения или просто сплошную заливку.

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    Совет. Можно перетянуть изображение с рабочего стола или из папки на миниатюру вверху этой панели, чтобы использовать это изображение в качестве картинки рабочего стола.

    На Mac выберите меню Apple

    > «Системные настройки», нажмите «Рабочий стол и заставка», затем нажмите «Рабочий стол».

    Найдите картинку или цвет слева.

    Картинки и цвета, входящие в комплект поставки Mac: нажмите стрелку рядом с пунктом «Apple», затем выберите папку, например «Заставки» или «Цвета», для просмотра миниатюр доступных картинок или цветов.

    Динамические фоны рабочего стола могут автоматически изменяться в течение суток на основе Вашей текущей геопозиции. Если в настройках конфиденциальности отключены Службы геолокации, картинка изменяется на основе часового пояса, заданного в настройках даты и времени.

    Некоторые динамические фоны рабочего стола могут также содержать неподвижные изображения, чтобы картинка на рабочем столе не отвлекала от светлого или темного оформления. Например, если при настройке macOS выбрано темное оформление, в качестве картинки рабочего стола устанавливается темное неподвижное изображение. Чтобы использовать или не использовать неподвижное изображение (если оно доступно), нажмите всплывающее меню и выберите один из вариантов.

    Ваши изображения: нажмите стрелку рядом с пунктом «Фото» (или «iPhoto» при наличии такого пункта). Если Ваши изображения находятся в папке «Изображения» или другой папке, нажмите стрелку рядом с пунктом «Папки», затем выберите папку.

    Чтобы добавить папку, нажмите кнопку «Добавить» , перейдите к папке и выберите ее, затем нажмите «Выбрать».

    Если при выборе папки с изображениями ничего не отображается, возможно, изображения имеют другой формат (не JPEG, PICT, TIFF, PNG или HEIC). Чтобы изменить формат изображения, откройте его в приложении «Просмотр», затем сохраните в новом формате. Если картинки выглядят «смазанными», попробуйте использовать изображения большего размера (например, 1024 x 768 пикселей).

    Справа нажмите изображение, которое хотите использовать.

    Рабочий стол изменяется сразу же, так что Вы можете оценить внешний вид картинки. При использовании собственного изображения Вы можете выбрать его расположение: во весь экран, по центру или другой вариант. Вы можете легко переходить по разделам и пробовать различные изображения и варианты расположения, пока не найдете наилучший вариант.

    Чтобы использовать все изображения в папке, установите флажок «Менять изображение» и выберите периодичность смены картинки — например, каждый час. Изображения выводятся в том порядке, в котором они отображаются в папке. Можно также выводить их в случайном порядке.

    Чтобы быстро использовать изображение из приложения «Фото», выберите изображение, нажмите кнопку «Поделиться» в панели инструментов «Фото», затем выберите «Установить картинку Рабочего стола».

    В качестве картинки рабочего стола можно использовать изображение в веб-сайта. Нажмите изображение в окне браузера, удерживая клавишу Control, а затем выберите «Использовать изображение как картинку Рабочего стола».

    Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile. Read more.

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    If your Mac’s screen saver freezes and doesn’t want to go away, don’t worry. Many other users have come across this problem, but there are a few ways to fix it.

    What Happens Exactly?

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    If your Mac’s screensaver freezes, moving your mouse cursor around or hitting keys on the keyboard won’t make it go away. The mouse cursor will appear on the screen and you can freely move it around, but the screensaver will still show.

    The keyboard and mouse will still work, meaning that if you click your mouse or type on your keyboard while your screensaver is frozen, your Mac will still register it. Furthermore, your Mac may also never go to into sleep mode because of this and will remain on until you can fix the problem and get back to the desktop.

    We’re not exactly sure why it occurs, but it’s a known reoccurring issue. I’ve personally seen it happen on my MacBook every few months or so, but there are a couple of fixes that you can try out.

    Reset the NVRAM

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    The only quick, permanent solution that I’ve seen fix this problem is resetting the NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory). It stores various OS X data like speaker volume, mouse and trackpad settings, and screen resolution.

    Sometimes the NVRAM can become corrupted, which could cause an issue like this. Thankfully, you can easily reset it. Keep in mind, though, that this will reset things like speaker volume, mouse settings, date and time, and other small things like that.

    To reset the NVRAM, start by completely shutting down your Mac. Next, press the power button to turn on your Mac, and immediately press Cmd+Opt+P+R on your keyboard. Keep holding those keys down until you here the startup chime for the second time. From there, let go and let your Mac boot up as normal.

    Of course, you won’t know if this has actually fixed the screensaver problem until it happens again. If it doesn’t happen again, then it’s likely that resetting the NVRAM helped.

    Put It to Sleep Manually and Wake It Back Up

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    If you happened to be working on something important when the screensaver problem occurred (maybe you went to get a quick drink and came back to it), you don’t necessarily want to force-shutdown your Mac in the middle of important work, so there’s a temporary fix that will unfreeze your Mac’s screensaver.

    All you have to do is press down on the power button for about a second (a quick tap won’t do it). This will manually put your Mac to sleep. From there, you can press on the power button again to wake it up and you should be back at your desktop.

    Again, this is a temporary fix and it’s likely that you’ll come across this issue again at some point in the future if you don’t take further steps, but it will at least prevent you from having to shut down your Mac and possibly lose any important work that you were in the middle of.

    Feb 21, 2013
    Comment

    The iPad lets you see a slideshow of your camera roll or Photo Stream images on your lock screen. It’s a nice feature that gives you something better than the default wallpaper to look at when you pick up your iPad. If you’ve got iPhoto or Aperture installed and iCloud set up on your Mac, you can use the images in your Photo stream as a screensaver on your Mac as well. You will not even need any additional app for the purpose other than the ones just mentioned, and it’s likely that iPhoto came pre-installed with your Mac already if it’s a recent purchase. You will be able to set your entire Photo Stream or just one of the recent streams as your screensaver.

    First of all, you’ll need to enable Photo Stream on your iOS device from Settings > Photos & Camera, if you haven’t done so already. You will need to have iCloud set up and enabled on your iOS device for Photo Stream to work; you can read the step-by-step instructions for this here.

    Next, enable iCloud on your Mac, if it isn’t already enabled. You will need to sign in with your Apple ID. Once iCloud is set up, launch iPhoto. In the column on the left, you will see a ‘Photo Stream’ option. Select it and click the ‘Turn on Photo Stream’ button. It might take a little while for all your photos to appear, but you don’t have to wait for them all to sync unless you intend to be selective about the photos that show up in the screensaver.

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    Now that you have Photo Stream set up, head over to System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver. Select a style for the images and move to the Source dropdown. Select a Photo Stream from it and you’re all done. All new photos that are uploaded to the selected Photo Stream will appear in the screensaver as well.

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    When the screensaver starts, images from your Photo Stream should start showing up. You can use the left and right arrow keys to move between the photos.

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    You can choose to use your entire Photo Stream in your screensaver, or just select one of the recent ones to limit the images that appear in it. You get a lot of different slideshow layout options to choose from in the Desktop & Screen Saver preference, and some of them add a great look to your photos. Just make sure you’re careful about which Photo Stream you use as a screensaver if you decide to set this up on a Mac at work and have a lot of personal photos in your Photo Streams.

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    MacOS Catalina includes a gorgeous set of new wallpapers as the default desktop background, appropriately of Catalina Island in California.

    But you don’t need to install macOS Catalina 10.15 beta or wait for the public release to enjoy the lovely wallpaper, you can grab the image right now for your desktop enjoyment.

    Click the thumbnail images below to open the full size picture into a new tab or browser window, then save that image. The wallpapers are roughly 5120 x 3600 each.

    If you’re unfamiliar with setting wallpaper on a Mac or iOS device, you can learn how to change the desktop wallpaper background on a Mac or set an image as wallpaper on iPhone or iPad.

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    How to use a screensaver as your background on os x

    You’ll notice there are two versions of the wallpaper image of Catalina Island, one lighter and one darker, each to match the Light mode and Dark Mode on Mac.

    You can also get the full 6K resolution wallpaper and Dynamic Desktop .heic files from this zip file here via iClarified, note that the full resolution 6K images at 6016 x 6016 are around a whopping 36 MB each!

    If you enjoyed these wallpaper images, you might also like to check out and grab the iOS 13 default wallpapers too.

    Related

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    Related articles:

    • Get the macOS Big Sur Default Wallpapers
    • Troubleshooting MacOS Catalina Problems
    • Get the iOS 14.7 Default Wallpapers
    • How to Install MacOS Catalina Public Beta

    11 Comments

    Catalina HEIC is fully dynamic but online in 10.15. in 10.14, you only get light and dark mode.

    Thanks Dan that is a cool collection of wallpapers

    Also I found the macOS Catalina stock wallpaper available on Apple website here is the link:

    Yeah that’s the image file used for the background on the macOS Catalina preview page. However, I believe the ones linked above are higher resolution. Plus, the l8nks above include the night version and the HEIC File for the dynamic version (though it only contains two images for now).

    You can get all the wallpapers ever from Mac here in a Google album

    Thanks for the heads up on that album. That’s some fine collection of Apple wallpaper. Some are really nice to look at.

    Great memories and wallpapers:Thanks dan!

    So, how do I set the .heic as a dynamic wallpaper? I get the default dark version when selecting the HEIC file, and there are no Dynamic/Light/Dark option in the preference pane.

    You have to be running macOS Mojave or later to use dynamic wallpapers.

    That being said, save the HEIC file to the in \library\desktop pictures on your mac and then open preferences>desktop & screen saver and select it from the ‘dynamic desktop’ wallpapers section. If you don’t see the ‘dynamic desktop’ section but only ‘desktop pictures’ then chances are you are running a macOS version prior to Mojave.

    Also note that the HEIC file included in the first beta of macOS Catalina, posted on several websites and presumably the same file linked here, only includes two images: one for light mode and one for dark mode. It is not yet a fully dynamic wallpaper (those have 16 images), so we’ll probably get the rest of it in a later beta.

    I forgot to mention, you also have to make sure it’s set to ‘dynamic’ in the menu to the right of the wallpaper preview near the top of the desktop & screen saver preferences window. Again, if you don’t see this or the dynamic wallpaper section in the desktop preferences you may be running an older version of macOS. Dynamic wallpapers require macOS Mojave or later.

    Louie is correct you have to put the Dynamic file into your system folder and then use Dynamic Desktops feature, it work in mac Mojave