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!

  • http://enoda.co.uk/ Jack Griffiths

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

  • Flo

    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!

  • http://about.me/xmeerzx Meerz

    My DeviantArt Wallpaper Gallery:

    Hope u enjoy it!

    • http://emrah.omuris.com Emrah Omuris

      Some great wallpapers on your gallery. Well done!

  • WT

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


    for lots of free desktop wallpapers.

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  • http://andrew-gw.deviantart.com/ Andrew Goodrick-Werner

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


  • ChrisM

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

  • Kyle

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

    • http://davidappleyard.net David Appleyard

      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 :-)

    • Blair

      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!

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  • Anand

    Simply Superb! Was waiting for such wallpapers :)

  • http://www.nformasdesign.com nFormas design

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

  • http://BrandThunder.com Marius

    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/

  • http://www.sshcommands.co.uk SSH Commands

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

    • http://andrewgoodrickwerner.ca Andrew Goodrick-Werner

      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. :)

  • vivi

    I like this wallpapers.

  • http://fkev.in Kev

    Superbe selection!

  • Khalid

    My drawings-wallpapers ^^:

  • http://www.clikyz.com Craig Lackie

    Sexy papers!

  • http://www.hammyhavoc.com Hammy Havoc

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

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  • http://slightlyinsightful.com/ Ammon

    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.

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  • http://www.deathless-art.com/ William Fahey

    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.

  • http://pixert.com Kate Mag

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

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  • fedya

    Posts about desktops are my favourites!

  • http://www.martinvaresio.com.ar Martin

    I pieced it together from the 1080pX!!

  • Mitchell

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

  • http://twitter.com/Macxim Maxime

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

  • http://www.scooped.in Ayush Agrawal

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

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  • Paul Dunahoo

    That middle wallpaper isn’t a Lion wallpaper.

  • http://spigotdesign.com/ Bryan Hoffman

    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/.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhI_KRUcoWc Placentia Boot Camp

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

  • http://emcee.over-blog.com/ melvin

    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.

  • http://www.frivmini.com friv

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

  • http://liamwise.wordpress.com Liam Wise

    Great selection here, downloaded a few. Thanks :)

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  • http://www.frivcom.biz Friv.com

    I like this wallpapers, thanks for sharing

  • http://www.jugarfriv.org/ friv

    Nice wallpapers. I like it. thank you