It’s not hard to find websites that offer Mac wallpaper for download but it is quite hard to find decent, non-junky ones. In fact, by and large I hate Mac wallpaper websites: the ads, the selection, the design… it’s all unpleasant. For years I stuck with the default MacOS background images because I didn’t feel like wading through all that garbage. But in more recent times I’ve found some much better Mac wallpaper sources which I’m very happy to share with you.
I should mention that I made this video and article at the request of several fans after I made some similar recommendations for the best iPhone wallpaper sources (so check that out if you haven’t already).
But before I delve into the actual apps, let me reflect on what I feel makes for the best Mac wallpaper source in the first place. Above all I want breathtaking photos and/or creative illustrations. So the quality of the wallpaper selection matters. In other words, there’s Mac wallpaper and then there’s Mac wallpaper. It’s not all created equal. A curated selection doesn’t hurt anything.
Next I’m looking for a clean interface. I don’t care if it’s a website or an app or some sort of combo as long as it’s uncluttered and easy to get around. Just show me the goods and get out of the way!
Finally — and this last bit is my own personal preference — I like some shade or combination of the following attributes: modern, colorful, Apple-related, nature scenes (especially high-quality space images), architecture, abstract designs and images that make me feel happy in one way or another. Hipster is fine as long as it’s not melancholy. Above all else, though, I desire a creative image for my Mac background: I love to be surrounded by creativity in my workspace (that’s why I’ve got 2 digital art frames flanking my computer).
Splashify, if you can’t tell from it’s name, pulls photos from Unsplash, the popular free stock photo site. This is a dead-simple Mac wallpaper app. There’s nothing fancy going on here: it just does what it is supposed to do and gets out of the way (perfect).
A couple things I can point out about it, though, are that there’s a curated feed (so it’s just a selection of the most exciting Unsplash images) and you can sort the feed by popular or latest. It’s nice to have a few different ways to slice the available selection. You can also search for something specific you might have in mind.
Kuvva, on the other hand, is a super full-featured Mac wallpaper app that’s full of digital art (as opposed to only photos like you’ll find in Splashify). Part of what makes Kuvva interesting is that it can automatically rotate your Mac’s wallpaper on a schedule you can set (let’s see a wallpaper website try to do that!). Or, if you want, you can manually advance through a pre-selected list of wallpapers using the dropdown menu’s next or back buttons. Personally I don’t like my wallpaper changing on it’s own — I like to pick it as the mood strikes. So for me I prefer to go to Kuvva’s website and browse through the available wallpapers there and set them as my wallpaper directly from the site (for some reason you can’t browse the selection within the app — but it’s only a minor inconvenience).
Wallpaper by Behance
I’ll end this list with Wallpaper by Behance because it’s the sleekest, most robust option here (in terms of features — there’s actually less wallpaper to choose from within the app, but what’s available is amazing). This app pulls digital artworks from Behance (obviously) but if you’re not familiar with the site it’s a treasure trove of creativity (owned by Adobe).
What I really like about this app is that you can get previews from right within the app and it’s also great that you can choose from categories like photography, illustration, typography and architecture (among others).
Wallpaper by Behance can also auto-rotate images for you. In this case: hourly, daily, weekly or monthly.
I also like that you can save your favorites for later — that’s a nice touch.