How to set Mac backgrounds for the login screen

Brighten up the desktop on the Apple Mac with a new background image

Setting the Mac desktop background is easy enough, but how do you set the Mac wallpaper for the login screen? There is no obvious way to do this, but with the right tool it can be done quite easily.

Desktop wallpapers are great and it is one of the best and easiest ways to customise the Mac and make it your own. Apple provides some great desktop pictures for OS X, but you can just as easily use your own. Here is how to set the desktop picture.

Set the desktop wallpaper

1 The Apple menu

Go to the Apple menu in the top left corner and select System Preferences. That is where we set desktop images.

The Apple menu is used to select System Preferences

2 System Preferences

Near the top left corner is Desktop & Screen Saver. Click the icon to open it.

System Preferences on the Apple Mac

3 Choose a picture

Select the Desktop tab at the top and in the left panel, select the source of the image you want to use. Click Desktop Pictures to see the ones provided by Apple with OS X and click a photo to set it as the background. It instantly appears.

Set the desktop background picture in OS X on the Apple Mac

Set the login screen background

Whatever image you select for the desktop wallpaper, a blurred version of it is used on the login screen. This is automatic and you don’t need to do anything. The question is, how do you set a different background for the login screen?

There is no obvious way to do this in OS X, but a free utility called OnyX can do it. Download and install Onyx by dragging it to the Applications folder and then run it.

4 Login parameters

When OnyX starts, select Parameters in the toolbar and then select the Login tab below. You can then see a thumbnail image of the login screen background. Click the Select button.

Use OnyX to configure hidden settings in OS X on the Apple Mac

5 Set an image

A Finder window opens where you can select the background picture to use on the login screen. OnyX automatically opens the folder the wallpaper images are stored and here El Capitan 2.jpg has been selected 

Select an image to use as the background for the login screen on the Apple Mac

6 Restore everything

You now have a new desktop background and a new wallpaper picture for the login screen. You can see it by logging out and logging back in or restarting the Mac.

If you want to put the Mac back as it was with a blurred image of the current desktop wallpaper, just return to OnyX and click the Restore button.

Restore the original login screen background using OnyX on the Apple Mac

One bonus feature of using OnyX to set the login screen background is that the pin-sharp image is displayed. It is not blurred like it normally is with the default OS X settings. OnyX displays the proper image and it looks brilliant. Now you just need to find some great Mac OS X wallpaper to se on the login screen and desktop.



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