Every Default macOS Wallpaper – in Glorious 5K Resolution

Every major version of Mac OS X macOS has come with a new default wallpaper. As you can see, I have collected them all here.

While great in their day, the early wallpapers are now quite small in the world of 5K displays.

Major props to the world-class designer who does all the art of Relay FM, the mysterious @forgottentowel, for upscaling some of these for modern screens.

If you want to see detailed screenshots of every release of OS X, click here.


Sponsored by Hover

What are you passionate about? Launch your passion online with a domain name from Hover. With over 300 extensions to choose from and free whois privacy, we know you’ll find the domain you need to take that first step. Head to hover.com/512pixels now​ ​and get 10% off your first domain.


10.0 Cheetah & 10.1 Puma

The first two releases of Mac OS X shared the same wallpaper. The sweeping blue arcs and curves helped set the tone of the new Aqua interface.

Download 5K version.

10.2 Jaguar

Jaguar took the same Aqua-inspired theme but added some depth and motion to things. In my head, the trails streaking across the screen were from a set of comets.

Download 5K version.

10.3 Panther

While Panther inflicted Macs everywhere with Brushed Metal, its wallpaper stayed on brand, refreshing the original 10.0 image.

Download 5K version.

10.4 Tiger

Many consider Tiger to be the best “classic” version of Mac OS X. While that may or may not be true, it has my favorite Aqua-inspired wallpaper.

Download 5K version.

10.5 Leopard

Complete with a revised, unified user interface and shiny new Dock, 10.5 broke the Aqua mold. As such, Leopard was the first version of OS X to break from the Aqua-themed wallpaper. It ushered in the “space era” of OS X wallpapers, which was used heavily in the new Time Machine interface as well.

Download 5K version.

10.6 Snow Leopard

The “no new features” mantra for Snow Leopard didn’t ban a new wallpaper, thankfully. This starscape is still one of my favorites.

Download 5K version.

10.7 Lion

Lion kept up the space theme, this time showing off the Andromeda galaxy. The space nerd in me likes the idea, but the execution of this one leaves dead-last on my list of favorites.

Download 5K version.

10.8 Mountain Lion

Just like Snow Leopard before it, with Mountain Lion, Apple opted to clean up and revise the existing theme as opposed to changing directions for what would be a less-impactful release of OS X.

Download 5K version.

10.9 Mavericks

Mavericks marked the beginning of Apple’s “California location” naming scheme for Mac releases. The wave depicted looks as intimidating as the ones in the famous surfing location.

Download 5K version.

10.10 Yosemite

Yosemite brought another UI refresh to the Mac, making things flatter and more modern. The wallpaper ushered in a new era based on … well … mountains.

Download 5K version.

10.11 El Capitan

Named after a breathtaking spot in Yosemite National Park, El Capitan was a clean-up year after 10.10.

Download 5K version.

10.12 Sierra

More mountains.

Download 5K version.

10.13 High Sierra

Even more mountains.

Download 5K version.

10.14 Mojave

No more mountains! Mojave brought a new system-wide Dark Mode, and the OS shipped with two versions of its default wallpaper to match. Users could even have macOS slowly fade between the two background images over the course of the day.

Day

Download 5K version.

Night

Download 5K version.

Become a member of 512 Pixels. Support projects like these, receive exclusive content in the monthly newsletter and enjoy advanced screenings of my YouTube videos.