How to automatically change your Mac’s wallpaper at regular intervals

Recently, we published a tutorial on how to automatically change your iPhone wallpaper every day, and readers loved it. Getting motivated by that article, we decided to do a similar one for Mac! And as it turns out, doing so on a Mac is extremely easy.

In this tutorial, we show you how to change your Mac’s desktop wallpaper automatically at regular intervals. You can customize it to have a new wallpaper every day, every hour, every minute, and more.

Plus, we also tell you how to create a custom dynamic wallpaper file that will automatically beautify your Mac’s desktop with a different wallpaper based on the time of the day you set.

Automatically change Mac wallpaper

How to change the wallpaper automatically on Mac

There are three easy ways to do so. But first, make sure you have the desired wallpaper files in a folder on your Mac. If you don’t, please check out iDB’s vibrant wallpapers section and download some from there. Besides that, you can get copyright-free images from sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels.

1. Use System Preferences

Follow these steps to change your Mac’s desktop picture automatically:

1) Click  and choose System Preferences.

2) Click Desktop & Screen Saver.

3) Click the plus button (+) from the bottom left.

Click plus button in Mac System Preferences to add wallpaper folder

4) Select your folder that has the wallpapers and click Choose. This folder will now appear in the left sidebar of your currently open System Preferences screen.

Choose wallpaper folder to add to System Preferences

5) Click the newly added wallpaper folder to see all its images. Click any picture, and it will instantly become your desktop background.

Set a wallpaper from added folder

6) Now, check the box for Change picture. After that, click the dropdown menu and choose the interval or instance when your wallpaper should automatically change. Your options are:

  • When logging in: It will show a new wallpaper every time you log in.
  • When waking from sleep: It will show a new wallpaper every time you wake your Mac from sleep.
  • Every 5 seconds
  • Every minute
  • Every 5 minutes
  • Every 15 minutes
  • Every 30 minutes
  • Every hour
  • Every day
Change wallpaper automatically on Mac using System Preferences

That’s it! From now on, your Mac will automatically change the desktop wallpaper as per the specified condition in step 6 above. It will use the images of the added folder in order. However, you can tick the Random order box to shuffle the pictures.

2. Use built-in Dynamic Desktop

Thanks to Dynamic wallpaper, your Mac running macOS Mojave (released in 2018) and later can automatically change the desktop wallpaper throughout the day from sunrise to sunset. For example, the wallpaper will be light and bright in the morning. As the day passes, it will change its appearance, and by late evening, the wallpaper will become dark.

Here’s how to use built-in dynamic wallpapers on Mac:

1) Open System Preferences and click Desktop & Screen Saver.

2) Under Apple, click Desktop Pictures.

3) Pick a wallpaper from the Dynamic Desktop section, and it will instantly become your new wallpaper. While you’re here, make sure it says Dynamic next to the tiny wallpaper preview.

Set Dynamic wallpaper on Mac from System Preferences

3. Create a dynamic wallpaper that changes at the set time(s) of the day

The first method switches the wallpaper automatically at intervals like 5 seconds, 15 minutes, one hour, every day, etc. In the second method, the same wallpaper transforms its looks from morning to night. Now let’s consider a different scenario where you wish to automatically change your Mac’s wallpaper at precise times, like 7 AM, 2 PM, 6 PM, and so on.

For example, at 7 AM, your kid leaves for school and isn’t around you. So, you can set your Mac to show your child’s image as the desktop wallpaper at 7 AM. Your kid returns home at 2 PM, and now you can have your Mac automatically switch to a new wallpaper (say a family picture). At night, you might want to have a dark picture on the desktop so it’s comfortable for your eyes. Thus, you can set your Mac to automatically switch to a dark image as the wallpaper at 6:30 PM.

Another example can be from your office. You can set your Mac to show a powerful, uplifting quote as the wallpaper at 9 AM. At 12 noon, you can have it automatically switch to a calm image. And for 4 PM, you can configure it to show another wallpaper with your family’s image or a relevant quote that motivates you to finish the day’s work and leave on time for home.

To achieve this level of personalization, you’ll have to create a dynamic wallpaper file that precisely fits your needs. Let’s show you how.

Follow these steps to automatically change Mac’s wallpaper at set times of the day:

1) Download Dynaper for free from the Mac App Store and open it.

2) Click the small plus button, and it will open a Finder window.

Click plus button in Dynaper to add images

3) Go to the folder where you have the desired wallpapers. Hold the Command key and select multiple images. When done, click Open.

Choose and add multiple images to Dynaper

3) You’ll see all your selected images in the left sidebar of the Dynaper app. And next to each wallpaper, you’ll see the time (12:00 AM). Change the time for each wallpaper as per your choice. For example, the first wallpaper can have the time of 7 AM, the next 2 PM, after that 6:30 PM, one at 10 PM, and so on.

4) When done, click Export HEIC.

Set wallpaper change times and click Export

5) Give this dynamic wallpaper file a name, and pick a location. Next, check the box for Set Image as Wallpaper and click Export. This new dynamic wallpaper you just created is now your desktop background.

Plus, the dynamic wallpaper file is saved in the chosen folder. It will have .heic extension. Anyday, you can go to that folder, control-click/right-click on the wallpaper file and choose Set Desktop Picture.

Set auto-changing dynamic image as your Mac wallpaper

All done! When the clock strikes the times set in step 3, your Mac’s wallpaper will automatically change to the relevant picture. It will happen for every image you picked to create your dynamic wallpaper file.

Mac’s wallpaper changing automatically!

I hope by now you know how to spice up your Mac’s desktop with auto-changing wallpapers. Remember that if you use several desktop Spaces, you’ll have to set the wallpaper individually for each. Just go to that Space and follow any method to set the wallpaper.

What are your thoughts on this? Is it something you want to use on your Mac?

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