Create Beautiful Custom Screen Savers from a Flickr Image Feed

Feb 17, 2012 - 12 Comments

Flickr Images RSS Screen Saver

Flickr has an endless supply of beautiful photos that make for fantastic automatically updating image screen savers in Mac OS X. All you need is a good Flickr stream and you can easily create a new screen saver from it, here’s how:

  1. Find a Flickr photo stream you want to use and scroll to the bottom of the Flickr page, looking for the “Subscribe to” RSS link
  2. Subscribe Flickr RSS

  3. Right-click on “Latest” and copy the URL (starts with api.flickr.com) into the clipboard
  4. Launch “System Preferences” and open “Screen Savers”
  5. Click the “+” icon in the lower left corner, select “Add RSS Feed”
  6. Add RSS Feed screen saver

  7. Paste in the Flickr RSS feed URL you copied earlier

You can use your own Flickr stream or just pick one from the “Explore” or “Interesting” lists. General themed image lists can be had by choosing tags, groups, or pools, but not everything on Flickr has the RSS feed option.

For best results, choose a Flickr user that uploads high resolution images, and select the Ken Burns Display Style within the screen savers options.

Fix Grainy Screen Saver Images with a New RSS Feed
If you notice that the resulting images are not full resolution, you can run the Flickr feed URL through a third party service to create a new RSS feed that will use only the high res images:

  • Go to BigFlickrFeed.com and paste the Flickr RSS feed into the URL entry
  • Copy the output URL (www.bigflickrfeed.com/photos/username/) to the clipboard
  • BigFlickrFeed RSS url

  • Use that URL to add as the RSS feed screensaver in Mac OS X

If you want some absolutely stunning high resolution landscape photos from around the globe, this Flickr user stream is hard to beat: http://www.flickr.com/photos/coolbiere/

You can also gather collections of images manually, place them into a folder, and create a custom screen saver that way.

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

12 Comments

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  1. David says:

    Great tip, I got sick of my screen savers a while ago but I like this a lot.

  2. Ron says:

    Doesn’t work for me… Don’t have a clue what I’m missing here….

  3. raul silva says:

    Well, looks like Apple removed this on Mountain Lion :-(

  4. jj15951 says:

    very cool! Is there a way to make an RSS feed your desktop background (i.e. have the desktop background rotate every x minutes based on an RSS feed of images)?

  5. [...] Create Beautiful Custom Screen Savers from a Flickr Image Feed // [...]

  6. [...] you’re not an Instagram fan you can also use Flickr feeds as screen savers, or go the oldschool route and build your own with a folder of pictures directly in Mac OS X. [...]

  7. PlayelltepBup says:

    Who and where to edit this summer on holiday, slice your information.

  8. buckzor says:

    How do you get this working with Mountain Lion!?!?!? Why am I punished for having the latest OS??

    • buckzor says:

      Found my own answer, you have to use iPhoto, its still not perfect but you can subscribe to the stream through iPhoto and then choose photos in the screensaver preferences. Sucks. Apple give us back RSS Feeds in Screensaver preferences, don’t suck so much.

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