Show the Location Path of Current Wallpaper in Mac OS X

Nov 20, 2011 - 8 Comments

Show current wallpaper location on the Mac OS X desktop

Ever set a desktop background picture and have no idea where the original wallpaper image is stored? Or maybe you’ve wondered where that default background image is stored so you can share it with your iOS device? Me too, and using a defaults write debug command, you can display the full path to the currently active desktop image, directly on the wallpaper itself.

  • Launch Terminal in /Applications/Utilities/
  • Type the following defaults write command:

defaults write desktop-picture-show-debug-text -bool TRUE;killall Dock

  • Go to the desktop to see the path

After you’ve retrieved the desktop picture (use Command+Shift+G to bring up the Go To Folder window), you can hide the path text by using the following command:
defaults delete desktop-picture-show-debug-text;killall Dock

Both of these commands automatically kill/refresh the Dock as well. If you’re not fond of the command line, you can find the path information in a hidden debug mode for Desktop System Preferences too.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Mira says:

    So you find one and you find them all, /Library/Desktop Pictures/

    • Brent says:

      Could be in Documents folder or somewhere else on the hard drive, that is the whole point. If it was always in the same place, why would you need to look anywhere else?

  2. noneno says:

    so this looks good… but i have a question… can this command be used to write something else (any text y want) in the desktop?
    thanks for the help…

  3. JR says:

    The path appears, but when you do the kill command, it doesn’t work. Even when you shut down… path is still there.

    • JQ says:

      I copied and pasted the kill command he listed above and it apparently worked:
      defaults delete desktop-picture-show-debug-text;killall Dock

  4. Bob says:

    thank you SO much! When I migrated my files from my old macbook to my new macbook air, this somehow got turned on by default and I had NO idea how to get rid of it!!

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