Automate your macOS wallpaper
Like most Apple users I absolutely love the retina displays most of the company’s products come equipped with. Something I also happen to love are wallpapers on these displays: out of the box, macOS already comes with some really beautiful ones, but after a while a bit more variety would be nice.
If you’re like me, you’ll probably like this little automation I’m using:
What you need
- reddit account (free registration needed)
- IFTTT account (free registration needed)
- Dropbox account (free registration needed), and installed Dropbox app on your Mac
- (optional, but way cooler if used) Hazel for macOS (available for purchase here)
- Go to reddit and search for wallpaper subreddits you like. The two subreddits I am using are: r/wallpapers and r/EarthPorn. (The sidebar of r/wallpapers features a list of other wallpaper subreddits)
- Connect both your reddit and Dropbox accounts with IFTTT.
- For each subreddit you want to use create an IFTTT applet with the following rule: If new top post in [name of subreddit], then add file from URL to [username]’s Dropbox.
- Open System Preferences on your Mac, go to Desktop & Screensaver and add the Dropbox folder that will be filled with your new wallpapers to the list on the left side.
- Activate both check boxes below the wallpaper list and select an appropriate interval to change wallpapers.
The simple setup works nicely, but unfortunately it also has its shortcomings:
- iPhone and iPad wallpapers shot in portrait mode, which look really bad on a Mac.
- Files with bad image quality.
- One day you’ll reach your Dropbox limit resulting in no new wallpapers.
This is where Hazel comes in by letting you define rules for specific folders on your hard drive:
- After installing Hazel, open it in your System Preferences.
- Add your wallpaper folder to the list on the left.
- Download my Hazel rules for this folder.
- Select your wallpaper folder in Hazel, click first on the gear icon below the list, and then on Import Rules… to add the downloaded rules.
- You should now see two rules for this folder: “Trash low resolution” and “Archive old wallpapers”. The first one may need some editing on your part, as it checks if the horizontal and vertical size of the wallpaper file match the resolution of your display; if it doesn’t, the file will be deleted. To further eliminate bad image quality, files with a size smaller than 1 MB will also be moved to the trash. “Archive old wallpapers” is used to make sure that a) your Dropbox limit won’t get reached, and b) you’ll always have new wallpapers to marvel at. In my case I simply move them to a folder called “Archive” that’s on my Mac, but you may also choose to have them deleted.
And that’s it. If you like this tutorial or have any ideas and recommendations, please add them to the comments!