Change Dashboards Lego Background Wallpaper in Mac OS X Lion

Jul 27, 2011 - 88 Comments

Change Dashboards background wallpaper image in Mac OS X Lion

Mac OS X Lion brought a few changes to the Dashboard, one being that it’s contained within it’s own Space by default, and the other noticeable UI difference is the new Lego lookalike background wallpaper that looks a little, well, Lego-like. That background image is easy to change, so pick an image you’d rather see and let’s get started.

How to Change the Dashboard Background Wallpaper in Mac OS X Lion

  • Find the image you want as the new Dashboard wallpaper and convert it to PNG using Preview’s Export tool, name it “pirelli.png”
  • From the Finder, use the “Go To Folder” function (Command+Shift+G or from the Go menu) and type the following directory path:
  • /System/Library/CoreServices/

  • Locate the file named ‘pirelli.png’ and rename it to ‘pirelli-backup.png’ – this is so you can revert your changes, enter your Administrator password when asked
  • Drag your own version of pirelli.png into the Resources folder, Authenticate the change and enter your password again

Change Lions Dashboard Background Image

  • Relaunch the Dock by opening the Terminal and typing:
  • killall Dock

  • Look at Dashboard and enjoy your new custom wallpaper

Change Dashboard Wallpaper in OS X Lion

Make sure you use an image that either tiles or is at least the size of your Desktop resolution. You have to use PNG format, but you can convert any image to PNG easily. For the record, I love Legos, I just don’t want to see the brick texture as my Dashboard background image, plus I like to customize things.

Default Dashboard Wallpaper in Mac OS X Lion

What about Mission Controls thumbnail of Dashboard?
If you are OCD like me and want to change the little thumbnail of Dashboard that is seen only in Mission Control, just look for and replace ‘mini_pirelli.png’ in the same Resources folder. Just be sure to back that one up too. I’d recommend just duplicating and shrinking down your main image to do this.

If you’re still on a customization kick, remember that you can also change iCals Leather GUI , enable Full Screen in unsupported apps, and much more in our series of ongoing OS X Lion tips and information posts.


Related articles:

Posted by: William Pearson in Customize, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Frustrated says:

    I’m too fast. I don’t have a pirelli**

  2. Frustrated says:

    I don’t have a pirelly there… what do I do :( ahhhh

  3. Hey, I overwrote them accidentally. Could I get pirelli.png, mini-pirelli.png, defaultdesktop.png, and the @2x versions of those 3? Thanks

  4. Dennis says:

    I cant open Terminal on my MacBook Air..
    A little help? :)

  5. Steve says:

    i do not have the folder in that location at all.. any solutions?

  6. Addy Stout says:

    I am only 12 but i work with many computers. Technerd:) but an easier way is to…
    1. Take the picture you want and place on desktop.
    2. right click, set desktop background
    3. QUICKLY, slide over to thed dashboard
    4. wait a bit
    5. WALLAHHH!!
    P.S. you need to use the screen 1 right next to the dashboard screen for a quick slide:) and yes it will take a moment to load the picture! Thanks
    Technerd OUt!!!

  7. Benji says:

    But if you press F3 you don’t see the new image in the small window!!! there’s still the old one!! how do you change also that??!?

  8. Daniel says:

    I just got the 13 inch retina display and this doesn’t work… I love this modification however apple must of changed the file name. I challenge you for an update :)

  9. fsdfda says:

    I changed the background by confusing the computer. Heh, heh. ;P

  10. bob says:

    Relaunch the Dock by opening the Terminal and typing:
    killall dock

    where do i do that at and how exactly

  11. Aakash says:


    I used this method to change dashboard background and while doing that – deleted perili.png file – which brought my dashboard background to galaxy (apple default wallpaper), now i am adding perilli.png file to the stated path (dock – content – resources) it is not working.

    Please help!

  12. JD says:

    Is there a way to turn off or write a default to disable Tiling of backgrounds for Dashboard?

    I tried something like this;

    defaults write background-expose-no-tile -bool TRUE; killall Dock

    but that didn’t seem to work, is there a way to write a default or something like that, that actually works?

  13. Corey_frost says:

    Hello there….this helped me a LOT…thx!

    On my MacbookPro (Res.: 1280×800) 135×81 worked for my mini_pirelli

    Maybe it’ll help some of you


  14. drifter says:

    great job

  15. TonyD says:

    Thank You! Worked great.

  16. Thomas says:

    One thing I noticed was that the space preview, when invoking Mission Control, will not reflect the change of wallpaper for the Dashboard exclusively, while other spaces do.

    Not sure if changes require a reboot to take affect, have done the Kill All cmd.

  17. loophole says:

    i found a much easier way to change your dashboard background. find the image you want to be your background and then right click on it and select “Set Desktop Background” and then quickly navigate to your Dashboard and it should change to the picture you right clicked on…

  18. Lynn says:

    How do you turn on terminator on mac? Thanks. :)

  19. thailand says:


    We are looking for the benefit of not-expensive GUI designers. Please advice.

    We develop apps for Android mobile devices.

    Pong RatanarakPong Kanjanapas

  20. Akshr says:

    Hey, thanks for the video…Was great help!
    But when i type in the ” killall DOCK” it says
    ” No matching processes belonging to you were found”

    can u help, ugly ass background aint going anywhere until then

  21. Tommz says:

    Thank you so much, finally got rid of this ugly thing ;)

  22. […] with the Mission Control and Dashboard wallpapers, the login screen wallpaper is actually a pattern that’s repeated from left to right, top to […]

  23. I 2nd what pete said… I used to use the currency convertor a lot and in order to do that I would position it in the corner of the dashboard and then be able to see my desktop in the background and then I could enter the currency i needed converting…

    this was also really useful for using the calculator… now they have made the background solid it hampers my workflow… I’m really displeased with this upgrade. They have added in some cool stuff but really changed things that worked well before. what was wrong with expose and spaces before?? nothing… if it ain’t broke don’t fix it imho.

  24. pete says:

    how do you make the background clear like it use to be? no background image at all so you can see through to the desktop?

  25. Andrew says:

    I followed your instructions to the letter (as far as I can tell) but after I have used command to relaunch the Dock in Terminal, it does not apply the new wallpaper. Instead, I get the “Andromeda Galaxy” image that comes with Lion.

    Any ideas what might be causing this?

    Its strange because I have been able to change the Launchpad Folder Background as well as in Mission Control and they worked perfectly.

    Any ideas please?

    • Andrew says:

      PLease ignore this posting. I have solved my dilemma! After staring at the screen for ages trying to work what was wrong, I noticed that i had missed of the letter’s’ from pirelli.png

      Once I realised my mistake it worked fine.

      Sorry :-)

  26. […] Reddit commenter thatdudeinchina posted a link with a tutorial for changing the wallpaper using a hack. For average users, this is not likely to happen so I still feel that this feature […]

  27. Rae says:

    I do not understand what this instruction means:

    Relaunch the Dock by opening the Terminal and typing:
    killall Dock

    What exactly is “the Terminal”?


  28. […] Change Dashboards Lego Background Wallpaper in Mac OS X Lion 5 s. z google Komputer: Macbook Pro Telefon: iPhone 4 Cytuj   […]

  29. […] like Dashboard much in Mac OS X Lion? If changing Dashboards background wallpaper wasn’t enough for you, you can always return it to the standard transparent hovering state […]

  30. […] time to customize the appearance of Mac OS X 10.7 again. We recently showed you how to change Dashboards wallpaper image from that Lego-like pattern to anything else, and then we showed you how to change Launchpads […]

  31. AhDu says:

    So I’ve succeed couple weeks ago, and now I’m trying to change it to something else.But I came this this issue hope someone can help me because when I enter this /System/Library/CoreServices/” it tells me that the folder can’t be found! Did I do anything wrong or maybe deleted that folder somehow? am I screwed?

    • OSXDaily says:

      Make sure you are entering the path correctly, the ” on the end will mess up the proper path. This is what you want to use:


      • AhDu says:

        Thanx, but thats what I enter in the first place

        However, now it’s working again! That’s weird! Anyways, what’s the right format for a macbook air 11″. I can’t never get the right scale and the wallpaper is always cut off in half.

  32. Ermo says:

    Is it possible to replace the gray fabric texture background that appears at login or when using Mission Control?

  33. sheryl says:

    Setting dashboard to not show as a space removes the lego background and makes it transparent again. If you have a new machine with the new keyboard, you’d have to set a shortcut or hot corner to show it.

  34. […] You can easily change it to anything you want with this simple walkthrough. If you recall our post on changing the Dashboard wallpaper, you’ll find this trick is very similar. Obviously this is OS X Lion […]

  35. Sunny says:

    Not working for me. Any issues? Are others able to replace the lego’s wallpaper?

  36. Gefceasp says:

    на какой диете сидит одри тотудиета матери при лактазной недостаточностидиета от ирины безруковойален кар быстро похудетьпохудение быстро эффективнодиета красота здоровьегде изготавливают внутри желудочные баллоны для похудениядиета лавровый листкакие есть ффективные антицеллюлитные кремадиеты для похудения в области животадиета с разрешением алкоголякак настроить себя похудетьрецепт блюд диетамедицинский центр диетологдиета при дискенезии желчного пузырясалон где можно поставить серьгу для похудениясредство для похудения миаозивибро пояс для похудения продажа в узбекистанеистории про похудениедиета при хроническом холетистите

  37. Kaltos says:

    Tried it twice, but doesn’t work. Stuck with ‘Lego’ for now…

  38. Nate says:

    I went ahead and used the fullscreen space’s background. very simple and matches the folder backgrounds as well

  39. […] La Dashboard ora avrà un nuovo sfondo. Aprendo Mission Control noterete però che il vecchio sfondo rimane presente nella versione ridotta della Dashboard, in alto. Per modificare anche quello dovete ripetere la procedura con il file “mini_pirelli.png”, possibilmente utilizzando una versione miniaturizzata dell’immagine che avete scelto come sfondo. [via] […]

  40. Calligraphy says:

    It’s not “Legos”. That isn’t a word. LEGO is the company, not the toy. The toy is Lego blocks/bricks/pieces.

  41. Joseph says:

    Take a screenshot of someones widgets then save that as the background, then remove his/her widgets. Keeps friends busy!

  42. Zack says:

    That’s the photo I used. Similar, but not exact. I kind of like the Apple logo their in the middle.

  43. rCo says:

    So, what is the resolution of the png file that replaces mini_pirelli.png in Mission Control? Any one know?

  44. Greg says:

    Or you could just uncheck the checkbox in settings, in order to not make it a separate space any more. If you activate Dashboard now, it’ll just appear “on top” of any active window/space that you’re using. No need to use Terminal or to restart Dock or anything!

  45. stv says:

    Yeah, please share posted wood wallpaper. Should have realized people would want it over the legos. Please post, Thanks!

  46. Chas says:

    Great tip.

    I wanted a more stressed wood effect so I went with

    It looks really good.

  47. OMG says:

    OMG Thank you! I really hated the lego background. It’s so BUTT ugly!

  48. two4player says:

    Hey, could you say how to find the background you used in this tutorial (wooden floor one), or maybe share a link to it?

  49. Alex says:


  50. Zoli says:

    Or turn it off dashboards and the system will be faster:)
    To turn Dashboard off:
    defaults write mcx-disabled -boolean YES
    To turn Dashboard on:
    defaults write mcx-disabled -boolean NO
    You have to restart the Dock after making either change for it to take effect:
    killall Dock

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