iPhoto Makes Wallpapering Easy


Coming from a Windows environment, I was accustomed to the way it handled wallapers. I have roughly 600 individual wallpapers, all organized under categories such as Animals, Anime, Movies, and Video Games. I enjoy collecting all manner of wallpapers because I like to have backgrounds that express both my passions in life as well as my current mood.

In Windows, to get a wallpaper as your background, after getting into the appropriate options, you have to navigate to the individual wallpapers. Should you desire to change the wallpapers, then you have to navigate to the folder again and select another one. It’s a big cumbersome and time consuming.

Windows is also limited in the way it displays desktop images as well. For simplicities sake, let’s just say that I was required to find desktops that matched my resolution and monitor type. For the majority of my life, this was fine, as I typically worked in 1024×768 on a 4:3 CRT monitor. All of that changed the middle of last year, when I made a major upgrade to a 1440×900 16:9 (10?) monitor. All of my old desktops looked wonky with my new resolution. Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t have the finesse to display desktops properly when in a format ill suited for your current resolution, so I was stuck fixing nearly all of my wallpapers one at a time.

This was time consuming and a head ache and eventually I gave up.

I didn’t know what expect when I migrated to OSX. I’d never actually heard anyone talk about the way OSX handing wallpapering, though it was the look of the OS with a wallpapered background that initially peeked my interest.

After I migrated, I brought all of my wallpapers over and immediately set to work trying to get them functional. OSX works quite a bit differently than XP in this respect and after my first few failed attempts I was worried that I’d unveiled a serious flaw in the way OSX does things. If only I knew then what I know now.

After sending off a question to Neo-Gaf, Tobor answered my question:

“Just make an iPhoto album named “Wallpaper” and throw them in there, that’s all you really need to do. I also made an “iPhone Wallpaper” album which I set to sync to the phone.”

So I ran off to try it.



iPhoto is one of those programs that can be easily overlooked because of how innocuous it is. In the iLife Package, it doesn’t necessarily take center stage, yet it’s one of the primary applications you’ll use on OSX. I immediately created my Wallpapers album and dumped my entire folder inside. iPhoto imported all of my wallpapers with no mess or fuss.

After doing this, I went to System Preferences and the Desktop & Screen Saver section. Once there, I clicked on my iPhoto Albums and then my Wallpapers album. All of my wallpapers loaded immediately and were available for me to pick and choose.


The strength of OSX was evident the moment I loaded my wallpapers onto my desktop. I no longer have to worry about what resolution my wallpapers should be. OSX handles that for me, by fitting all of the wallpapers to the screen, filling the screen, stretching to fill (for those 4:3s you want in “fat-head mode”), tiling, and centering. Now I can download any wallpaper I want, file it away, and it looks great on my desktop.

It’s eye opening when something as simple as wallpapering your desktop becomes that much easier to do and manage. It’s little things like this that make using OSX that much better than Windows. The combination of iPhoto and the way OSX handles wallpapers have made my life a breeze. Now it’s even easier to express myself using my desktop. Just another way Apple has customization in mind.


~ by The Shepherd Sons on February 29, 2008.

4 Responses to “iPhoto Makes Wallpapering Easy”

  1. You also can change your wallpaper directly from iPhoto — select the wallpaper’s thumbnail in Library – Photos, go to the Share menu and select Set Desktop.

    Not sure if this method properly sets the resolution, though.

  2. And, for your purposes, you could select the thumbnails in your Wallpapers “Photo Album” in iPhoto, then > Share > Set Desktop.

  3. I took the approach in 2 above. But now, I have the selected photos as screen saver and wallpaper and I don’t seem to be able to return to the original desktop wallpaper while keeping the screen saver. I change the desktop to solid aqua blue, but the screen saver selection seems always reappears on the desktop ??

  4. Hi, I have a question considering iPhoto and wallpapering.

    Like the way you do it, how do you proceed adding wallpapers from the Internet Browser?
    You need to drag the image onto the iPhoto icon and move it to the album, right? When I do that, there’s always an event named “TemporaryItems” created automatically, which doesn’t appeal that nice to me.

    I would acutally prefer to save my wallpapers in a folder as yet and iPhoto to access this folder as an event or an album.. but I guess that’s not possible.

    Do you have any suggestions?


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