How to Use macOS Mojave's New Dynamic Desktop Feature

Apple in macOS Mojave introduced Dynamic Desktops, which are wallpapers that shift with the time of day, changing the lighting and look of the wallpaper with the progress of the sun across the sky.

For example, in the afternoon, the lighting in the wallpaper is at its peak brightness and the image of the Mojave desert is depicted as it would be if you visited it in the daytime with well-lit sand dunes and a bright blue sky.

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At night, the sky in the wallpaper shifts to darker blue to reflect that it's now evening. The shift between daytime and nighttime happens gradually over the course of the day, so you'll see subtle changes each time you look at your Mac's display.


Dynamic Desktop is simple to enable. Here's how:


  1. Open up System Preferences.

  2. Choose Desktop & Screensaver.

  3. Select one of the options from the "Dynamic Desktop" section under "Desktop."

  4. Using the dropdown menu underneath the wallpaper's name, make sure "Dynamic" is enabled.

There are two Dynamic Desktop options in macOS Mojave, which work with both Light and Dark Mode.

You can choose between the wallpaper that depicts the Mojave desert and a Solar Gradients wallpaper that shifts from a lighter sky blue in the daytime to a darker twilight blue. Apple is likely to add additional Dynamic Desktop options in the future.

Apple's Dynamic Desktop feature relies on your location to be able to match the lighting of the wallpaper with the lighting outside, so to use it, you will need to have Location Services enabled.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave


Top Rated Comments

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11 weeks ago
Hopefully since this is the Mac someone will hack something together to make us able to add our own dynamic wallpapers. I do professional photography and would totally spend all day making a good photo for this.

This would be a neat feature to add to iOS as well. I've always been disappointed that Apple hasn't done more with motion wallpapers beyond the floating dots. The 3D Touch wallpapers have never seemed very useful to me because I never press on them—it would be better if they would just activate an animation when you lift your phone up. I don't need a bunch of cheesy effects but feel like some subtle ones like rain hitting on a window with drops slowly rolling down would be cool.
Rating: 13 Votes
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11 weeks ago

About as useful as all the emojis :rolleyes:

You just used an emoji
Rating: 10 Votes
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11 weeks ago
Damn, now I gotta photograph my daughter in the exact same pose in the morning, at high noon and asleep for this to work properly!
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago
About as useful as all the emojis :rolleyes:
Rating: 6 Votes
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11 weeks ago
Great to see Apple wasting resources on this junk instead of fixing age-old defects. Gee, I sure hope there’s some kind of “touch bar” support for this. That’ll be as useful as rubbing two turds together.

Where’s the big ground-up rewrite of Finder we were promised years ago?
Rating: 5 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

Oh please. Lately their QC has been trash, instead of fixing what needs fixing this is what they come up with? Oh boy can't wait to crack my piggy bank open. I used to be a mac user but in my opinion the last few years the value add for what you spend on a Mac just isn't there anymore. The machines and software are not what they used to be. No one seems to want to admit that, instead everyone ooohs and ahhs over features like this that pose no real benefit to the user. Seems the new Apple mantra is form over function. Rather than try to be witty and insult me, change my mind... I dare you.


No matter how true this is, how is it remotely relevant? Are you going to complain in every single macOS-related post about how Apple could have set their priorities differently? Do you believe the team who developed dynamic desktop pictures would be a good team to instead improve QC?
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

Uh...yea, because of course they should work on quality control. It used to be the one thing you didn't have to worry about with Apple.


Nobody is denying that quality control is important. It just isn't even remotely on-topic.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
4 weeks ago

About as useful as all the emojis :rolleyes:


Apple doesn't make them, they simply adhere to the Unicode standard, otherwise you'd have black x's anytime someone from another OS sent you something with an emoji in it.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

Damn, now I gotta photograph my daughter in the exact same pose in the morning, at high noon and asleep for this to work properly!

I'm confused. This won't work with custom wallpapers, right? If I understand correctly, we literally only have two options: the dune (pictured) and a color gradient.

I would LOVE for this feature to expand and provide us with more options, but as these are our only two choices, I use something else.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

Not much to hack. Someone reverse-engineered the format.
[doublepost=1533164526][/doublepost]

…or this comment.

Oh please. Lately their QC has been trash, instead of fixing what needs fixing this is what they come up with? Oh boy can't wait to crack my piggy bank open. I used to be a mac user but in my opinion the last few years the value add for what you spend on a Mac just isn't there anymore. The machines and software are not what they used to be. No one seems to want to admit that, instead everyone ooohs and ahhs over features like this that pose no real benefit to the user. Seems the new Apple mantra is form over function. Rather than try to be witty and insult me, change my mind... I dare you.
Rating: 3 Votes
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