Create Custom Screen Savers from a Flickr Image Feed on Mac

Feb 17, 2012 - 12 Comments

Flickr Images RSS Screen Saver

Flickr has an endless supply of beautiful photos that make for fantastic automatically updating image screen savers in Mac OS X.

All you need is a good Flickr stream and you can easily create a new screen saver from it for your Mac.

How to Make a Flickr Screen Saver for Mac

Here’s how this great trick works to turn Flickr feeds into Mac screen savers via RSS and a flickr feed:

  1. Find a Flickr photo stream you want to use and scroll to the bottom of the Flickr page, looking for the “Subscribe to” RSS link
  2. Subscribe Flickr RSS

  3. Right-click on “Latest” and copy the URL (starts with into the clipboard
  4. Launch “System Preferences” and open “Screen Savers”
  5. Click the “+” icon in the lower left corner, select “Add RSS Feed”
  6. Add RSS Feed screen saver

  7. Paste in the Flickr RSS feed URL you copied earlier

You can use your own Flickr stream or just pick one from the “Explore” or “Interesting” lists. General themed image lists can be had by choosing tags, groups, or pools, but not everything on Flickr has the RSS feed option.

For best results, choose a Flickr user that uploads high resolution images, and select the Ken Burns Display Style within the screen savers options.

Fix Grainy Screen Saver Images with a New RSS Feed

If you notice that the resulting images are not full resolution, you can run the Flickr feed URL through a third party service to create a new RSS feed that will use only the high res images:

  • Go to and paste the Flickr RSS feed into the URL entry
  • Copy the output URL ( to the clipboard
  • BigFlickrFeed RSS url

  • Use that URL to add as the RSS feed screensaver in Mac OS X

If you want some absolutely stunning high resolution landscape photos from around the globe, this Flickr user stream is hard to beat:

You can also gather collections of images manually, place them into a folder, and create a custom screen saver that way.


Related articles:

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


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. buckzor says:

    How do you get this working with Mountain Lion!?!?!? Why am I punished for having the latest OS??

    • buckzor says:

      Found my own answer, you have to use iPhoto, its still not perfect but you can subscribe to the stream through iPhoto and then choose photos in the screensaver preferences. Sucks. Apple give us back RSS Feeds in Screensaver preferences, don’t suck so much.

  2. PlayelltepBup says:

    Who and where to edit this summer on holiday, slice your information.

  3. […] you’re not an Instagram fan you can also use Flickr feeds as screen savers, or go the oldschool route and build your own with a folder of pictures directly in Mac OS X. […]

  4. […] Create Beautiful Custom Screen Savers from a Flickr Image Feed // […]

  5. jj15951 says:

    very cool! Is there a way to make an RSS feed your desktop background (i.e. have the desktop background rotate every x minutes based on an RSS feed of images)?

  6. raul silva says:

    Well, looks like Apple removed this on Mountain Lion :-(

  7. Ron says:

    Doesn’t work for me… Don’t have a clue what I’m missing here….

  8. David says:

    Great tip, I got sick of my screen savers a while ago but I like this a lot.

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