Todays post is going to show you how to replace, change and modify Dashboard background wallpaper in Mountain Lion. Although Apple may like the brushed metal effect it is a bit boring. Today’s post is going to show you how to change this image to something more interesting. This trick will also show you how to replace the little Mission Control wallpaper when you active it. This is a rather simple task of changing the image, however it does involve replacing a system file, so you will need to authenticate as a admin user. The longest part of the trick is finding an image to replace it with.
Replacing Dashboard’s Background Image
To replace dashboard background image we first need to find a suitable image to replace it with. Find a large image with plenty of resolution, although the image may repeat I recommend a single large image, as it will yield the best effects. I recommend you head over to Interface Lift, as they have plenty of excellent images. Download the large resolution image you want, if you have a fancy retina Mac find an image around 2880 x 1600 for best results.
When you have your image, ensure it is saved out as a .png image. You can use Preview and the Save As feature to save it as a png. This is an important step. Name the image
pirelli.png, duplicate the file and
email@example.com. This is the image name your Mac is looking for when it loads the background image. The @2x is for retina displays (I think) so a high quality image is needed. Saving the files as this name here is quicker.
Next, open up Finder and use the Go > Go To Folder option and enter the following path:
This will open up the Dock.app application and will take you to the folder with the required image. Inside this folder you will notice two files named pirelli and pirelli@2x. Duplicate these files for a background and enter a suitable name. Your Mac will ask you to authenticate as you are altering a system file.
Copy and paste the pirelli images we have just created into this folder. Authenticate again.
When you have copied the two images across we are ready to go. Open up Terminal located in your Applications > Utilities folder and type the following.
This will restart your Dock and, in turn, restart Dashboard. You will now notice that you have a fancy new background. If everything has worked correctly you should see your image. If you haven’t repeat the steps and ensure the images are spelled correctly.
Replacing Missions Control Thumbnail
Replacing the image used for Dashboard background is simple enough, it doesn’t take any longer to replace the small image used for Mission Control. Take the pirelli.png image as before. Open it in Preview and use the Tools > Adjust Size option to reduce the size of the image down to something around 300px x 300px. This is simply a performance issue. There is no need to have a massive image loading for such as tiny square on your screen.
Take this smaller image and name it
mini_pirelli.png, duplicate the image and name it
firstname.lastname@example.org. Similar to before.
Open the folder previously outlined. Duplicate mini_pirelli and mini_pirelli@2x files to be used as a back up. Copy the images into the folder and authenticate. Using Terminal use the
killall Dock command to restart the Dock.
When the restart has re-opened the dock you will notice in Mission Control, that the small background image has changed.
This hack is a little complicated, it takes a little bit of work. You have to back up the existing files, change the file names of the image you want to use and then copy the images in, authenticating each time. However, when the change is made your background image for Dashboard looks far more interesting and unique to you Mac.
I love the way my dashboard wallpaper looks, there is more colour and makes using Dashboard far more interesting to look at. If at any point you want to revert to the original, simply use the background files we created.