When your Mac isn’t being used, you can turn its screen into a
digital picture frame by using a screensaver that shows photos.
If you store photos in Apple’s Photos app, setting up the photo
screensaver is very straightforward.
Here’s how to set your Mac to use your Photos Library as a
1. Open System Preferences and click Desktop & Screen
2. Select any of the photo-based screen savers in the scroll
list at left. The ones that let you select images all show a
3. Click the Source drop-down menu and choose
Photo Library. (If you don’t have any images in
Photos, the Photo Library option will not appear.)
4. It may take a moment if you have a lot of images, but the
media list at left will populate with all your Moments,
Collections, Albums, and more. (You’ll also see an entry for
iPhoto if that’s still installed.)
5. Select any item or category.
6. Click Choose.
You can click Preview to see how the screensaver will
work when activated, too.
MacOS also has a screensaver that appears when the login screen
is idle. However, there’s no graphical user interface to update
it unless your Mac is in a workgroup. Apple has
instructions on a support page it no longer maintains that
explains the Terminal commands necessary to set a screensaver.
You can’t use photo-based ones, however, because without being
logged in, the Photos library and other photo sources are
unavailable. You can pick among several screensavers located in
/System/Library/Screen Savers, such as Arabesque
and Flurry by following the instructions in that support
This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted
by Macworld reader Shannon.
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