How to Change Wallpaper on MacOS Sonoma & Ventura

Feb 2, 2023 - 20 Comments

How to change the wallpaper in MacOS Ventura

Setting your desktop background picture to an image of your choice is an easy and fun way to customize your desktop Mac experience. With MacOS Sonoma and Ventura, how you change the Mac desktop wallpaper has changed a bit, which has led to some confusion for some longtime Mac users. Long gone is the familiar “Desktop & Screen Saver” control panel preferences, instead that preference panel has been split up and renamed to “Wallpaper”, and it’s not immediately visible when opening the text list of System Settings.

Let’s walk through how you can find the appropriate settings panel, and how to change the wallpaper image on the desktop of a Mac running MacOS Ventura 13 or later.

How to Change Desktop Picture Wallpaper on MacOS Sonoma & Ventura

Changing your desktop background picture wallpaper is still easy in MacOS Ventura and later, but it’s a little different from before:

  1. Go to the  Apple menu and choose “System Settings”
  2. Scroll down in the left side list, and yes this is a scrollable list despite there being no obvious indicator it is, and click on “Wallpaper”
  3. How to change the desktop wallpaper in MacOS Ventura

  4. Choose from one of the desktop pictures provided by Apple, or add your own by dragging and dropping the image onto the display
  5. How to change the desktop wallpaper in MacOS Ventura

  6. Optionally, scroll all the way down in the Wallpaper settings to add a new folder of images, choose auto-rotate options, and more
  7. Close out of System Settings when satisifed

That’s how you change the wallpaper background picture in MacOS Sonoma and Ventura, and presumably moving forward as well.

If you use multiple monitors, or a Mac laptop open with an external display, you can set wallpaper separately for each display, by clicking on the display you wish to customize at the top of the Wallpaper settings, or by dragging and dropping an image onto the display you wish to change.

The prior way to change desktop backgrounds on the Mac in Monterey and earlier has evolved in MacOS Ventura with the newly redesigned System Settings with a renamed and redesigned control panel, and like many things revolving around the revamped system preferences, it has led to a lot of confusion for longtime Mac users.

If you’re looking for more wallpaper options to use, check out our wallpaper posts, where there are plenty of interesting images you can use.


Related articles:

Posted by: Jamie Cuevas in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. John says:

    Yes, but how do you get rid of them?? And where are they coming from – docs, screenshots, etc just ending up in wallpaper folder for no reason that I can figure – aagh!!

  2. Brian Hubbard says:

    In spite of all the interest and help above still have a blank screen, apart from Desktop files and folders, when trying to install wallpaper after updating to Sonoma, not Beta version. That includes right clicking Blank screen, bypasses steps i1 & 2 but still fails to install any wallpaper

  3. Harvey Kabaker says:

    “Dynamic Desktop” and “Light & Dark Desktop” do not appear here in OS Ventura 13.4.1. I have an external display, where I can set wallpaper to rotate through one of the categories, but the the main screen wallpaper is static. I can drag a new picture to the thumbnail, but there’s no popup menu and therefore no options.

  4. patrice says:

    Same for me, it worked at the beginning and stopped arrg!

  5. B says:

    The ‘newly’ redesigned panel is horrendous.. change for the sake of change. It is not improved by any means. Typical apple. ios and os, iphone and IMAC, laptops, ipads are different beasts and the user should have the option. I am a longtime apple user and this has gotten old for me.

  6. roger says:

    However, as grateful as I am to all this information, no matter what options I choose, the wallpaper goes back to default. Any ideas please?

    • patrice says:

      Same for me, it worked at the beginning and stopped arrg

    • Walter Kailey says:

      Same here. With each minor update, I keep trying to set the wallpaper to use one of my photo albums and shuffle it. It accepts and remembers the setting, but the wallpaper displayed is always Apple’s vinyard wallpaper. I tried the supposed “trick” of creating a new desktop in mission control and deleting the old one. This “trick” does nothing. It still says it is set to display my album as wallpaper, but it nevertheless display’s Apple’s Vinyard picture as wallpaper. Selecting “All spaces” does nothing to change this.

  7. John says:

    What I have been searching for is how to make a custom color the default for all new desktops. I haven’t found a way to do this. It works for the predefined solid colors, but not user defined colors (as far as I can figure out).

  8. jim says:

    Where can you find the used wallpapers?

  9. Ernie Lee Shown says:

    My Wallpaper setting shows a blank…..nothing there at all. All of the other settings seem to work fine, but Wallpaper is missing in action.

    • Jeremy says:

      I have the same issue as Ernie. Wallpaper setting is in the panel (settings) – but I click on it and it’s completely black.
      No wallpapers to choose from
      No options for stills or dynamic, literally nothing!
      I’m on beta 13.4 to see if I could find it, but no dice, and I’ve been back n forth between beta and public releases to no fix.

      Any ideas about this?

      I haven’t deleted any system files, I don’t believe. I don’t want to fully reinstall the system but this is ridiculous! Every other setting option = like Ernie, works a treat. Wallpaper may as well not be there, as it’s dead black.


  10. Andrew K says:

    In Step 2 above, you state:
    “Scroll down in the left side list, and yes this is a scrollable list despite there being no obvious indicator it is, and click on “Wallpaper” ”
    As soon as I click on System Preferences, er, System Settings 🙄 I see the list you’re talking about – with a scroll bar on the right side of the first (left) section.

    I think that the only way that you might not see that it’s a scrollable list is if you have Show scroll bar behaviour set to ‘when scrolling’.

    But I don’t know that for sure, because I don’t have mine set like that and nor do I see the purpose of it. But that’s my personal choice. So please don’t shoot me for my personal choice.

  11. Scott McIntosh says:

    Alternatively, you can bypass steps 1 and 2 by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting Change Wallpaper from the pop-up menu.

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