How to Use macOS Mojave's New Dynamic Desktop Feature

by

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.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

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.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
28 months 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.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

About as useful as all the emojis :rolleyes:

You just used an emoji
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
About as useful as all the emojis :rolleyes:
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months 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!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months 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?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months 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?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

'iPhone 12 mini' Name Reappears in Leaked Apple iPhone 12 Case Stickers

Friday September 25, 2020 1:58 am PDT by
Earlier this week a proven leaker claimed that the iPhone 12 lineup would be named "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max," and today the same nomenclature has appeared again in a photo depicting alleged stickers from unreleased Silicone iPhone cases originating from Apple's international distribution center in Ireland. The photo shows three stickers with the...

New Images Leak of iPhone 12 Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable

Thursday September 24, 2020 2:37 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 models will ship with a new Lightning to USB-C cable that includes a braided fabric design. Images of the purported cables were leaked in July, and today leaker Mr White has shared new images that give us a closer look at what we might get included in the iPhone 12 box. The photos show a USB-C to Lightning cable with a clearly braided design rather...

New Version of Microsoft Office Coming Next Year That Won't Require a Subscription

Thursday September 24, 2020 1:53 am PDT by
Microsoft will next year offer a new perpetual release of Microsoft Office for Mac and Windows that doesn't require a subscription to use, according to the software giant (via Windows Central). "Microsoft Office will also see a new perpetual release for both Windows and Mac, in the second half of 2021," said Microsoft in a blog post announcing the next version of its Exchange server,...

Apple Releases iOS 14.0.1 With Fix for Bug That Resets Default Apps After Rebooting

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:12 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.0.1, the first update to the iOS 14 operating system that was released on September 16. Today's update is a bug fix update addressing issues that weren't able to be fixed in the initial iOS 14 launch. The iOS 14.0.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. ...

Apple's iPhone 12 Event Could Happen on October 13 Based on Rumors From Mobile Operators

Wednesday September 23, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone-centric event could perhaps be held on Tuesday, October 13, according to information shared with MacRumors by an employee at a UK cellular carrier. There's no way for us to confirm the dates at this point in time nor are we sure on the credibility of the source, but even without a rumor, Tuesday, October 13 is a good guess based on Apple's historic launch timelines, ...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.7 With Fixes for WiFi Bug, 27-Inch iMac Graphics Issues

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:32 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.7, the latest update to the macOS Catalina software. macOS Catalina 10.15.7 fixes several major bugs that Mac users have been experiencing, and it comes a month after the latest macOS Catalina release. The ‌‌‌macOS Catalina‌‌‌ 10.15.6 Supplemental Update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System...

Apple Designs Custom Face Mask for Corporate and Retail Employees [Updated with Unboxing]

Wednesday September 9, 2020 11:13 am PDT by
Apple's design team has created a new kind of protective mask that's being distributed to retail and corporate employees, reports Bloomberg. The mask is called the Apple Face Mask and it was developed in-house in Cupertino by the Engineering and Industrial Design teams at Apple. Last week, an Apple employee sent MacRumors an image of the mask design, which can be seen up above. The Apple ...

Video Offers Closer Look at Apple Face Mask

Friday September 25, 2020 5:25 am PDT by
YouTube channel Unbox Therapy has today shared a new video giving a closer look at Apple's reusable face masks for corporate and retail employees. Apple's own face mask was designed by the company's Engineering and Industrial Design teams amid the global health crisis for corporate and retail employees, and the boxes include Apple's famous "Designed by Apple in California" text. The...

Top Stories: iOS 14 Feature Tour, 'iPhone 12 mini' Rumors, Apple Watch Band Controversy

Saturday September 26, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Things started to calm down a bit this week following last week's rush of media event, Apple Watch and iPad launches, and the release of iOS 14 and other operating updates. But that doesn't mean there wasn't still a lot of news, from digging deeper into iOS 14 to more iPhone 12 rumors to the uproar over trying to exchange band sizes on the new Apple Watch. On top of all of that, we heard...

Interest in iOS 14 Home Screen Ideas Helps Pinterest Break Daily Download Record

Wednesday September 23, 2020 4:37 am PDT by
Apple's introduction of widgets on the Home Screen in iOS 14 has driven a surge in interest among users looking to customize their iPhone, and that has reportedly had a knock-on effect for Pinterest, whose iOS app has seen record downloads as users flock to its content seeking design inspiration. As reported by TechCrunch, App Store intelligence firm Apptopia was first to note the impact of ...