Access Debug Options in Desktop System Preferences of Mac OS X

May 16, 2011 - 10 Comments

Hidden Debug and Test options in Desktop preference panel of Mac OS X

You can access two unusual debugging options in the Mac OS X System Preferences for Desktops and Screen Savers panel by using a keystroke while accessing the panel.

To gain access to “TEST” and “DEBUG” in the Desktop preferences of OS X, start by by holding down the Command+Option keys while clicking on the “Desktops & Screen Savers” preference pane. The first button “TEST” doesn’t seem to do anything, but the “DEBUG WINDOW” opens an inspector window that gives you information about the desktop background you choose and settings pertaining to it.

Mac OS X Desktop Background Debugger Window

We actually got this tip in reference to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, but I tried it out in OS X 10.11, 10.10, 10.9, 10.8, and 10.6.7 and it works the same.

Mac OS X Desktop Debug Options

Is there any use of these options? Probably not for most of us, but it’s kind of fun to see leftovers from development still hanging around in the OS.


Related articles:

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


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Roy says:

    Help! I entered the recommended command line and got the text on top of my desktop – I even got two lines of text superimposed on each other – but the line to get rid of it didn’t work and now I’m stuck with the undesired text being displayed. Can someone tell me how to get rid of it? This is Ventura 13.3.1 on an M2 MacBook Air. Thanks.

    • Paul says:

      What command line text did you enter and for what? This article discusses using the Option+Command key, not the command line?

  2. Ronald Fischer says:

    Simply does not work. Pressing that key does not seem to have any effect.

  3. John Whalley says:

    I tried the debug option and it worked fine the first time but have not been able to replicate it since – the Test and Debug buttons just not shown. Even tried restarting. No go

  4. John RAPER says:

    It was great advice, except that the pathname is and when I tried to follow it, it definitely is a fiction. So I am none the wiser and I still cannot be confident that I can go back to my beautiful DT photo taken by my son. I just cannot afford to update it. Sad :-(
    But good advice otherwise, especially for a Windows person.

  5. […] 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.

    • Colin Smith says:

      Please expand and explain in detail. Not sure what that line means and ifI should type it in somewhere. Thanks

  6. stone age says:

    You can see where desktop pictures are stored, easy to find the hidden Apple ones this way

  7. Trench says:

    If anything, I can use it to make my non Mac-savvy friends think I’m performing some critical operation, when in reality, I just don’t want to let them use my laptop.

Leave a Reply


Shop on and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks


iPhone / iPad



Shop on Amazon to help support this site