How to Customize the Mac OS X Login Screen in Snow Leopard, Tiger, etc
After several hundred times of logging into your Mac you may be tired of looking at the same old login screen. Maybe you’d like to have a customized login screen for your school or employer’s workstations.
Forget the $10 programs that automate the process, we’ll show you how to customize the login screen entirely on your own, for free. It’s not as difficult as you might think, and it’s a fun way to personalize your Mac a bit more. Be sure to check out the screenshot below for an example of the results.
This tutorial details how customize the login screen on Mac OS X Tiger 10.4, Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6, Mac OS X Leopard 10.5, and more.
Changing the Login Screen Apple Logo in 10.4 and before
Changing the default Apple logo is quite easy and you can put virtually any 90×90 tif image in it’s place, here’s how to do it through the GUI:
- Hit command-shift-G to bring up the “Go to Folder” dialog and paste in the following path exactly:
- In this directory you will find a file called applelogo.tif. Make a backup copy of the file ‘applelogo.tif’ by holding down the option key and dragging it to your desktop. this is very important if you want to revert to the default Apple logo
- Rename your custom tif logo file to ‘applelogo.tif’ and move it to this same Resources/ folder, you will be asked for the administrator password. Note: it must be 90×90 and a tif file (preferably transparent for best results)
- That’s it! Now when you login, your new logo will appear. To revert back to the default Apple logo, follow the same directions and replace the new logo with the original applelogo.tif file that you backed up
Change the Login Screen Apple Logo in 10.5 Leopard
Follow the exact same directions as above, but use this directory instead:
Everything else is the same!
Changing the Login Screen Background Image – 10.4 and before
This is even easier than changing the Apple logo, here’s how to do it:
- Hit command-shift-G to bring up the “Go to Folder” dialog and paste the following directory path in:
(You can also just navigate here on your own through the root of your hard drive)
- Find ‘Aqua Blue.jpg’ and rename it to ‘Aqua Blue2.jpg’
- Move the JPG file you’d like to be displayed as the login screen’s background image to the Desktop Pictures directory, and rename the file to ‘Aqua Blue.jpg’
- Close the folders and log out or reboot, your login screen will now display your new image as the background
This trick works easily because ‘Aqua Blue.jpg’ is the default for the background image, so by placing any JPG file as the same name in the Desktop Pictures directory, it will be displayed instead. Cool huh?
Change the Login Screen Wallpaper Image in Snow Leopard 10.6
Directions for Snow Leopard 10.6 are the same as Leopard 10.5 directly below…
Change the Login Screen Wallpaper Image in Leopard 10.5
Launch the terminal and issue the following commands:
- cd /System/Library/CoreServices
- sudo mv DefaultDesktop.jpg DefaultDesktop_org.jpg
- sudo cp /path/of/image.jpg DefaultDesktop.jpg
Of course, change /path/of/image.jpg to the path of the image file you want to use. Basically what you’re doing here is moving to a folder, backing up the old “DefaultDesktop.jpg” by renaming it, and then copying in the new image and naming it “DefaultDesktop.jpg” instead. This trick works the same as it did in 10.4, just with a different file name and location to work with.
The screenshow below demonstrates the final effects of these tricks:
If you happened to have misplaced, deleted, or forgot to backup the ‘applelogo.tif’ file, click here for a backup of it.