Set Desktop Wallpaper from Command Line on Mac

By  on  

Whenever I need to accomplish a basic task that typically calls for interacting with a UI, I challenge myself to complete the task from command line. After all, most UIs are simply a mask over basic commands, especially when it comes to the operating system. Suddenly I feel like an automation or systems engineer!

One task I can imagine an IT administrator would need to automate is setting the desktop wallpaper via a script, remotely, or simply by providing the command to do so:

osascript -e 'tell application "Finder" to set desktop picture to POSIX file "/Users/davidwalsh/Downloads/pubg-background.jpg"'

It's important to note that you must provide the absolute path to the image, and not a path that begins with a user path (i.e. ~/Downloads/my-image.jpg)

Beyond the general nerdiness of knowing how to change desktop wallpaper via command line, it could be useful to change your background based on a service being down or other event.

I challenge you to think more like a remote IT administrator or automator when you need to accomplish your next simple task!

Recent Features

  • By
    Serving Fonts from CDN

    For maximum performance, we all know we must put our assets on CDN (another domain).  Along with those assets are custom web fonts.  Unfortunately custom web fonts via CDN (or any cross-domain font request) don't work in Firefox or Internet Explorer (correctly so, by spec) though...

  • By
    6 Things You Didn’t Know About Firefox OS

    Firefox OS is all over the tech news and for good reason:  Mozilla's finally given web developers the platform that they need to create apps the way they've been creating them for years -- with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.  Firefox OS has been rapidly improving...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Retrieve Google Analytics Visits and PageViews with PHP

    Google Analytics is an outstanding website analytics tool that gives you way more information about your website than you probably need. Better to get more than you want than not enough, right? Anyways I check my website statistics more often than I should and...

  • By
    Fixing sIFR Printing with CSS and MooTools

    While I'm not a huge sIFR advocate I can understand its allure. A customer recently asked us to implement sIFR on their website but I ran into a problem: the sIFR headings wouldn't print because they were Flash objects. Here's how to fix...

Discussion

    Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!