40+ Beautiful Wallpapers to Brighten Your Mac Desktop

This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on March 30th, 2011.

It’s time to ditch that ageing wallpaper on your desktop for something fresh and inspiring. There’s nothing better than a simple wallpaper that looks beautiful while not cluttering your display. Today we’re on a mission to find just this type of desktop background…

Whether you love simple graphic lines, typography, or photography, there’s something for you here. We’ve broken our collection of sexy wallpapers down into different categories to make it super-simple to find the right image for you, and even have a few exclusive OS X Lion wallpapers to share!

I hope you enjoy browsing through our collection of outstanding desktop wallpapers.

If you’d like to jump to the section that interests you the most, give one of these a try:

Lines and Graphics

These wallpapers are full of graphical goodness. Whether it’s cartoon-style simplicity, or something a little bit more in-depth, they’re simple enough to retain a minimalist desktop while adding that little touch of personality…


Who needs a crazy abstract wallpaper when you could settle for some beautifully rendered typography? All of these wallpapers use type in an elegant way – some with a simple result, and some with a little more complexity…


Using a photograph as a wallpaper can be a tricky thing to get right – even some of the images bundled with OS X are a little bit too “busy” for my taste. Here’s a collection that should fit the bill perfectly – many are taken from the outstanding Fifty Foot Shadows site, and I’d definitely recommend heading over there for plenty more outstanding photographs.

OS X Lion

If you’re on an older operating system, you might enjoy these three Lion only wallpapers.

Share Your Own!

If you’re using a beautiful wallpaper that we haven’t featured before, we’d love to hear about it. Just drop a link in the comments below so we can all take a look. Feel free to take a look at a few of the other wallpaper roundups we’ve posted as well!


Add Yours
  • I’m sporting the server Snow Leopard wallpaper. I also have it on my iPad and iPhone — it’s simply gorgeous! :-)

  • Aaaaaah … they are awesome!!!!! I waited for such a post such a long long time … but now I have no idea which one to take. Thank you so much, David!

  • My DeviantArt Wallpaper Gallery:

    Hope u enjoy it!

    • Some great wallpapers on your gallery. Well done!

  • There’s also Macdesktops (that’s more than one desktop):


    for lots of free desktop wallpapers.

  • I’m partial to the Lotus Flower, but then again — I may be biased. ;)


  • I enjoy DigitalBlasphemy.com for wonderful abstract wallpaper!
    Also, check out http://www.mikebonnell.com/ for surreals!

  • Really? Is this useless crap and blatant play at page views really all you guys have to offer the community?

    • Harsh words, Kyle! I think lots of people enjoy these – I know I love finding a bunch of beautiful wallpapers to add to my collection.

      You can always overlook the odd post that you’re not interested in – we do the occasional app review as well :-)

    • Agreed, a bit harsh Kyle. No one is forcing you to read this, nor are you being charged for this free service. If it’s not to your liking, say so. Calling it useless crap though isn’t showing any appreciation for the time and effort that’s gone into the post.

      Thanks for putting it together guys, even if I wasn’t too into most of the non-photography ones. Also, more than half of the photo ones are Fifty Foot Shadows (which I agree is wonderful, was just hoping for a little more variety).

      Thanks again!

  • Simply Superb! Was waiting for such wallpapers :)

  • Check this wallpapers that we made! http://nformasdesign.com/blog/?p=1456

  • these are absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing. This is definitely inspiration for designers around the world including ours that work on browser themes: http://brandthunder.com/gallery/

  • I love these wallpapers, they’re beautiful! How did you come about the OSX Lion ones?

    • The Mt. Fuji wallpaper is the default background from the Developer Preview of OS X Lion. The one beneath it is the background extracted from Versions in Lion, and the Lotus Flower is actually mine — I pieced it together from the 1080p “Back to the Mac” keynote. It isn’t in Lion yet, but you can find it here: http://andrew-gw.deviantart.com/#/d34qpfg. :)

  • I like this wallpapers.

  • Superbe selection!

  • My drawings-wallpapers ^^:

  • Sexy papers!

  • This is a truly wonderful collection of images! My dual Cinema Display setup looks tasty again!

  • I’ve got a few wallpapers I’ve created in a dedicated Flickr set.

    There are a few simple motivation/productivity wallpapers, some videogame/toy inspired wallpapers, and a few photos I’m proud of.

  • I think you might be interested in the free wallpapers that I’ve just made available for download. They’re of my fine art paintings – mythological and visionary – and are optimized for iPhones, iPods and iPads. Please take a look. Thanks.

  • Thanks, they are all beautiful. I like Typographic World Map particularly

  • Posts about desktops are my favourites!

  • I pieced it together from the 1080pX!!

  • check out my deviant art page @ http://fiend0395.deviantart.com/

  • You should check http://simpledesktops.com/ if you love minimalistic wallpapers.
    Thank you everyone for sharing yours!

  • That is an actually very cool collection and i am currently using one of the pics in my windows :P

  • That middle wallpaper isn’t a Lion wallpaper.

  • These are very nice, although I prefer my desktops a bit more minimalistic. I love what I find at http://simpledesktops.com.

    I also keep a few of my own here: http://spigotdesign.com/desktops/.

  • What is this site and article, I really don’t understand this, What are you talking about.

  • Modern graphical technology and its inventions have made this surprising and like a wonder for human beings.The wall papers are the best precedent of this.

  • nice. I am definitely bookmarking this page and sharing it with my friends. Thanks

  • Great selection here, downloaded a few. Thanks :)

  • I like this wallpapers, thanks for sharing

  • Nice wallpapers. I like it. thank you