Change the Mission Control Background Wallpaper Image in Mac OS X Lion
It’s 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 folder background pattern to your choice. Next up is Mission Control’s background image, say goodbye to Linen and hello to whatever wallpaper you want to see.
Pick a New Mission Control Background Image and Convert it to PNG
First up, you need to pick a PNG file you want to set as the new Mission Control background. I’m mildly obsessed with iClouds t-shirt background but for the purpose of this walkthrough I’ll use a more obvious change of some coral reef. The image file must be a PNG and it must be named “defaultdesktop.png”, Preview makes it easy to convert or export any image as a PNG:
- Select the File menu and navigate to “Export”
- Choose “PNG” as the filetype and save the image name as “defaultdesktop.png”
Note: you can choose a repeating pattern image or a large wallpaper, if you choose a large wallpaper make sure it at least matches your screen resolution or it can look awful.
Got your image saved? Great. Now we can proceed to customization.
How to Change Mission Controls Background Image
The gist of this tip is similar to changing Dashboard and Launchpad, and you’ll have to dig around in some system files. It’s not complicated, just follow the steps and be sure to make a backup of the file you will replace.
- Hit Command+Shift+G to bring up the “Go To Folder” window, and point at the following URL:
- Locate the existing “defaultdesktop.png” file and make a copy of it – this is important because it allows you to revert your changes. Either drag the existing file to the desktop, rename it to “defaultdesktop-backup.png” or whatever, just be sure you back it up
- Now locate your own previously saved customized “defaultdesktop.png” and drag that file into the opened Resources folder, you will need to authenticate with the admin password in order for the change to take effect
- Next up you have to kill the Dock to relaunch it, so open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/) and type the following:
- Give a three-fingered upward swipe and enjoy your new Mission Control background image
The image you pick is a matter of personal taste, but after using the somewhat chaotic coral image in the screenshot up top I quickly went to a more subtle pattern – the repeating iCloud beta pattern, of course.
Don’t miss our other OS X Lion tips while you’re at it.
mixmastermoog: it’s case sensitive. It has to be typed ‘killall Dock’
can anyone help me? Im obviously a nube to this type of stuff. My “killall dock” command did not work for me…
When I typed “killall dock” in terminal all I got was a message that read “No matching processes belonging to you were found”
[…] Change the Mission Control Wallpaper – Tired of linen? Change the background wallpaper to anything else just by replacing an image file, here’s how to do that. […]
What is the name of the background in this picture?
Can you send me this background?
Thanks for this information. I did not want to change the background in mission control but I did want to use that background on my desktop. You helped me find it and I am very grateful!
I used the Launchpad folder background
It looks awesome!
I’ve done this before, but recently had to reinstall OS X Lion and perform the mod again. However, this time the Mission Control background is shown as the default Lion galaxy desktop :( i.e., “DefaultDesktop.png” in Core Services. I’ve tried killing the dock, relaunching finder, relaunching the UI server…no dice. Any thoughts?
You must pay attention to the capitalization… DefaultDesktop.png is different from defaultdesktop.png
I think it’ll do the trick… Plz, let me know if it doesn’t.
[…] with the Mission Control and Dashboard wallpapers, the login screen wallpaper is actually a pattern that’s repeated […]
[…] the Dock, where Mission Control is a child process of, and this is also why when you want to change the Mission Control background image you kill the Dock. You can kill the Dock in two […]
I made a small utility to change Mission Control’s background, for those that are interested, please see:
When I go to my mission control the picture I selected shows up in tile format. What do?
You probably just need to use a larger image, try using one that is the size of your desktop resolution
Hey this is great I have set the iCloud background too.
One question though, when I open a full screen app like iTunes it briefly shows the old linen background before the app opens. Its also seen after I quit for a fraction of a second. Is there a way to replace that image file with my new texture too?
Thanks for the tip!
It’s probably another PNG file somewhere in that Resources folder, but we’ll take a look and let you know if we find anything worthwhile.
the file your looking for is located in
the file you want to change is
this will change the Login Background as well as the Fullscreen Background. Just make sure the image that you replace it with is the same size as your display otherwise it won’t look right.
Done. Thanks for the tip!
Thank You So Much! This is exactly what I came for
Thanks for the tip! I like these.
I liked that wallpaper on the first screenshot , any1 can help where can i find that wallpaper ???
Thanks in advance
The pink and blue volcano is one of the included images in Mac OS X Lion
The coral image is from the Solomon Islands but I found it Google Images
I actually like the linen, maybe I am weird.
There are a lot of sprites in that Resources folder, you could change just about everything by editing files in there it looks like. I like this one, and I like the iCloud pic, I will change it.