How to Change the Wallpaper on Any Mac – Android Authority | Hot Mobile Press

This tutorial should be pretty easy. Wallpaper is a form of expression; People change them all the time for various reasons. Personally, finding really good wallpapers is harder than actually setting them. Still, macOS has a few different methods to change the wallpaper. Here you are.

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To change your wallpaper on Mac, locate the image you want to use as wallpaper in Finder. Then, command+click on the image to display and select the context menu Set desktop picture. The image becomes your background.


How to change the wallpaper on any Mac

There are actually several different ways to do this. We will quickly go through each method to change the wallpaper on any Mac.

About desktop and screen saver

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  • press the Apple symbol in the top left corner and select system settings.
  • Tap the Desktop and screen saver Possibility.
  • A new window will open with some information. In the middle you will see a drop-down menu that says fill screen. You can use this drop down menu to change it full screen, Stretch to fill the screen, centeror tile. We recommend leaving it on fill screen
  • From here you have a few options. On the left you see Apple, photosand Binder.
  • Apple – Contains standard macOS wallpapers.
  • photos — This contains your photos.
  • Binder — Where to find images you’ve downloaded or saved elsewhere.
  • Select the option you want on the left, then browse the main panel on the right. Clicking on an option will change your wallpaper immediately.
  • note — With default macOS wallpapers, not all may be present on the computer by default. You may need an internet connection to download them.

This is sort of a macOS hub for switching wallpapers, and the one we recommend if you’re looking for maximum customization.

Change background images using the context menu

Set desktop picture on Mac 1

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This is a much easier method, but it only works with a single image file at a time. Many people use this to apply downloaded wallpapers.

  • Open finder and navigate to the folder where your desired image is located.
  • blow Command+click (or double trackpad click on Macbooks) on the image to bring up the context menu.
  • It should be underneath Set desktop picture Possibility. click it
  • That’s it. Your image will become your background with the fill screen method by default.

This is my preferred method. I usually download images to use as wallpapers and I can set them up pretty quickly that way without too much hassle.

How to set screensavers, rotating wallpapers, live wallpapers and more

Macs have a few different ways to customize your background experience. We will briefly go through the methods of setting various background customizations.

Set a screen saver

Screen saver on Mac

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  • Tap the apple icon in the upper left corner and then click system settings. Open Desktop and screen saver from there.
  • Tap at the top of the window screensaver.
  • There is a checkbox above the preview window that turns on the screensaver after so long. Check this box and click the drop down menu to select your time.
  • On the left edge you will see different screen savers. On the right side you can see settings and a preview for each screensaver. Select the one you want, customize it, and that’s it. The screensaver should appear after the selected time.

Set wallpapers to rotate on a schedule

Change image on rotation macOS

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

  • Open Desktop and screen saver as described above.
  • Select a folder with multiple images in it. You can’t rotate wallpapers until you complete this step.
  • Once the folder on the left edge is selected, activate that change picture and select the dropdown menu to select a time interval.
  • You can check the optional Random order Box to randomly shuffle your wallpapers.
  • That’s it. Once you select the folder, check the box, and set a time interval, your Mac will switch wallpapers on its own.

Use dynamic wallpapers

Dynamic wallpapers UI on macOS

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Dynamic wallpapers change on their own throughout the day. The most common ones you’ll find are standard macOS wallpapers of cityscapes or landscapes that change color depending on what time it is where you are. It’s actually really cool, and it’s not as distracting as a live wallpaper while still giving you that effect. Here’s how to use them.

  • Open the again Desktop and screen saver as described above.
  • In the left margin, click the right arrow where it says Apple and select Desktop Pictures.
  • You will see a section called Dynamic wallpapers. These wallpapers have a special property. They change color depending on the time of day. My Macbook Air comes with eight by default, and I had to download seven of them. Select the one you want and it will change your background to it. The color changes happen automatically without user input.
  • You can find more dynamic wallpapers on sites like Dynamic Wallpaper Club or with apps like 24 H Wallpaper (Mac Store link).
  • You can also create your own using apps like Dynapaper (link to Mac App Store).

How to find and set live wallpapers on Mac

iWallpaper screenshot on Macbook Air

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We might create a longer tutorial for this at some point, but here’s where to find live wallpapers on macOS and how to use them.

  • The vast majority of live wallpapers are available in apps. Some popular options are iWallpaper, Earth 3D Lite, and Live Wallpapers HD & Weather.
  • Install the apps above or the one you want. In general, the app should contain instructions on how to download and set a live wallpaper on your Mac. Just follow the instructions.
  • note — All the apps we tested require the app to be installed for the wallpapers to work. Usually, when you uninstall the app, the live wallpaper stops working.

Popular and right Mac wallpaper resolutions

Macbook Pro 2021 16 inch laptop open on table

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When setting a wallpaper, it’s important to have the right resolution and aspect ratio. Your background will look blurry if the image is too low a resolution, and it will look stretched and distorted if it’s not in the right aspect ratio.

To take the guesswork out, we’ve included a helpful list of Macs and MacBooks along with their native resolutions and aspect ratios. That should make it easier to find nice, sharp wallpapers that are the right size for your Mac.

The aspect ratio encompasses the entire area in which a background image can be seen. Some Macbook Pros have a notch. In these cases, the aspect ratio represents the screen below the notch and menu bar, where the wallpaper actually appears.

  • 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro — 3456 x 2234 with an aspect ratio of 16:10
  • 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro — 3024 x 1964 with an aspect ratio of 16:10
  • 2019 16 inch MacBook Pro — 3072 x 1920 with an aspect ratio of 16:10
  • 2012 15 inch MacBook Pro — 2880 x 1800 with an aspect ratio of 16:10
  • 2012 13 inch MacBook Pro — 2560 x 1600 with an aspect ratio of 16:10

MacBook Air models:

  • 2022 13.6-inch MacBook Air — 2560 x 1664 with an aspect ratio of 16:10
  • 2018 13.3-inch MacBook Air — 2560 x 1600 with an aspect ratio of 16:10

iMac models:

  • 2021 24-inch iMac — 4480 x 2520 with an aspect ratio of 16:9
  • 2015 21.5-inch iMac — 4090 x 2304 with an aspect ratio of 16:9
  • note — Some 2015 iMacs ship with different displays. However, they should both have the same native resolution and aspect ratio.
  • 2014 27-inch iMac — 5120 x 2880 with an aspect ratio of 16:9
  • All iMac Pro models — 5120 x 2880 with an aspect ratio of 16:9.

External displays from Apple:

  • Apple Pro Display XDR — 6016 x 3384 with an aspect ratio of 16:9.
  • Apple Studio display — 5120 x 2880 with an aspect ratio of 16:9.

If you have an external display that you bought yourself, you’ll need to check with the manufacturer for that display’s resolution and aspect ratio for properly sized wallpapers.

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Usually it’s because the image used has too low a resolution or the wrong aspect ratio. Low-resolution images can appear grainy or blurry on higher-resolution displays, while improperly formed wallpapers can appear stretched or distorted.

Any picture can be a wallpaper, so wherever there are nice pictures, you’ll find pretty wallpapers. We recommend searching for wallpaper apps in the Mac App Store or searching Google for high-resolution Mac wallpapers.

Subjectively, that’s entirely up to you since it’s a visual thing and people like different visual things. However, we can objectively say that the best wallpapers have a similar (or higher) resolution and the same aspect ratio as your Mac or MacBook screen. This delivers maximum sharpness and minimal warping or blurring.

Not natively, no. However, with apps like DynaPaper, you might be able to turn one into a live wallpaper if you really want to.

Apple does much of this work for you by automatically finding images when you’re in the desktop and screen saver windows. The best way is to just stash your wallpapers in a wallpaper folder and let the desktop and screensaver app do the rest.

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