How to Tile Desktop Background Wallpaper in Mac OS X
Want to tile a wallpaper on the Mac? A tiling wallpaper will repeat all over the desktop background, just like a tile is repeated in flooring or a wall. Well, you’re in luck because modern Mac OS X versions can do tile a wallpaper image, just like you could do way back in ancient Mac OS releases and all other versions too.
But how you tile a desktop image depends slightly on versions of system software, and on the size of the image itself.
In short, if the image is fit to or larger than your Macs screen resolution, it won’t tile. Likewise, the default Mac OS X Lion wallpapers don’t have the option to tile or change how they are orientated on your display. That change was made in Lion and has persisted forward. But, you can still tile a picture, you just have to choose a smaller image.
The easiest solution to this is simple: you have to use a background image that will tile, meaning it is smaller than your screens resolution.
How to Tile Images as Desktop Backgrounds in Mac OS X
- Have the wallpaper tile somewhere easy to find, like the Mac OS X desktop
- Open “System Preferences” from the Apple menu
- Click on “Desktop & Screen Saver”
- Drag the wallpaper image you want to tile into the picture window
- When the pull-down menu becomes visible, select “Tile” from the list
For the purpose of this walkthrough, we’ll use the linen wallpaper tile from Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5, you can copy the linen tile here:
If you don’t select “Tile” manually, the default will usually be “Stretch” which looks terrible for most images that are meant to be tiled.
Why was this behavior changed in Mac OS X Lion? Who knows, but we’ve received several questions about this and a few emails which indicates there’s a fair amount of confusion on how this background pictures are handled in 10.7.
And yes, you can still tile images as wallpapers in modern Mac OS releases too, so if you’re chugging away on MAC OS X El Capitan, macOS Sierra, Yosemite, macOS High Sierra, or macOS 10.14 or whatever other magical release you’re running on your Mac, you’re good to tile. For now anyway.
Anyway, enjoy your tiling wallpapers!