Mac Tutorials

How to Change Lock and Login Screen on Mac

Does your Mac need a new look? Changing your lock and login screen is a great way to freshen things up if you’ve had enough of seeing the same wallpaper. In this guide, we’ll show you how to change your lock and login screen backgrounds, and how to make the lock screen and home screen different on Mac.

 

We’ll also look at some other lock and login customizations that you can do on macOS, such as adding a custom message, changing your avatar, and more.

 

Before we start

 

When you’re creating new images to use as your Mac’s login and lock screen pictures, you can easily end up making duplicates, too. These take up space unnecessarily on your Mac’s system drive. With MacKeeper’s Duplicates Finder, you can search for and remove duplicate images quickly and easily.

 

Here’s how to use MacKeeper to delete duplicate files:

  1. Download the app.
  2. In MacKeeper, select Duplicates Finder.
  3. Click Start Scan.
  4. Select the duplicates, similar photos, and screenshots you want to delete, then click Remove Selected.

What are lock and login screens on Mac?

Your Mac’s lock and login screens are the first thing you see when you start using your Mac. The lock screen is what greets you when you turn your Mac on or wake it from sleep in macOS 14 Sonoma. Like the lock screen on your iPhone and iPad, it shows the time and date and lets you select a user account.

 

The lock screen is new to Mac, first being introduced in macOS 14 Sonoma. Prior to that, the first thing users saw when powering on their machine was the login screen. The login screen still exists, and it’s what you see next—after selecting the account you want to log into—in macOS.

 

The login screen is very similar to the lock screen, but it allows you to enter your password or use Touch ID to unlock your device. It also displays the options to shut down and restart your Mac, or send it back to sleep. Both screens have their own wallpapers, and you can customize them to your liking.

Ways to change MacBook lock screen

There are four ways to change the lock screen on Mac in modern versions of macOS, including:

  1. Change the desktop background image
  2. Replace “lockscreen.png”
  3. Add a custom message
  4. Add your avatar

1. Change the desktop background image

When you change your desktop background image on macOS, the lock screen wallpaper automatically updates to the same image. Here’s how to quickly change both in just a few steps:

  1. Open System Settings on your Mac, then select Wallpaper in the sidebar.
  2. Select one of the images that are available to immediately set it as your background image.
  3. If you want to set your own image, click the Add Photo button, then click Choose. Find and select the image you want, then click Choose again.
The Wallpaper menu inside System Settings on Mac. To change the desktop background image, simply select one of the wallpapers.
Step 1. In the Wallpaper menu, select a new background
System Settings on Mac showing the Wallpaper menu. To add your own photo as a background image, click Add Photo, then click Choose.
Step 2. To choose your own image, click Add Photo > Choose

Note from our team: 

 

If your Mac was issued by your employer and your screen is being observed through a remote desktop for support, your desktop background should automatically turn black so that the technician connected to your computer can’t see it. However, if you use your Mac in public, anyone can see your wallpaper.

2. Replace “lockscreen.png”

For Mac users who want to have a different lock screen and wallpaper on Mac, there’s a trick you can use to change it manually without affecting your desktop background. All you have to do is swap the “lockscreen.png” with your own image. Here’s how:

  1. Find a suitable image for your lock screen background. Ideally, it should be the same resolution as your Mac’s display, and it needs to be in the .PNG format. You also need to name it lockscreen.png.
  2. Open Finder on your Mac, then select Go > Go to Folder in the menu bar.
  3. Enter /Library/Caches, then hit the enter key.
  4. Open the Desktop Pictures folder, then open the folder that’s inside it, which is named with your user account’s UUID.
  5. Here, you’ll find your existing lockscreen.png. Move this image to another folder in case you want it later, then drag your own lockscreen.png in to replace it.
The Go menu inside Finder on Mac. To replace the lockscreen.png, first select Go to Folder, then navigate to the Desktop Pictures folder inside /Library/Caches.
Step 1. In Finder, click Go > Go to Folder
Finder on Mac showing the Go to Folder function. Enter /Library/Caches to find the Desktop Pictures folder, where you can change the lockscreen.png.
Step 2. Type /Library/Caches then press enter
The Desktop Pictures folder inside Finder on Mac. Open it to find and change the lockscreen.png image.
Step 3. Open the Desktop Pictures folder
Finder on Mac showing the UUID folder inside Desktop Pictures. Open it to find and change the lockscreen.png image.
Step 4. Open the UUID folder
The lockscreen.png image inside Finder on Mac. Replace this image with your own lockscreen.png file to change your Mac's lock screen wallpaper.
Step 5. Swap the lockscreen.png image with your own

3. Add a custom message to the lock screen

Using System Settings, you can set a message that appears on both your login screen and lock screen. You could, for example, add your contact details, which would be useful if you lost your MacBook. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to System Settings, then select Lock Screen in the sidebar.
  2. Click the toggle next to Show message when locked to enable it.
  3. Enter your Mac’s password to confirm.
  4. Click the Set button, then enter the message you want to display on your lock screen.
  5. Select OK to set it.
The Lock Screen menu in System Settings on Mac. To add a custom message to the lock screen, enable Show message when locked, then click Set.
Step 1. In System Settings, select Lock Screen
The Lock Screen menu in System Settings on Mac. To add a custom message to the lock screen, enable Show message when locked, then click Set.
Step 2. Enable Show message when locked, then click Set
The lock screen message option in System Settings on Mac. Enter your message, then click OK o add a custom message to the lock screen.
Step 3. Enter your message, then click OK

4. Add your avatar to the lock screen on your Mac

Every user on your Mac will have a different icon or avatar, and macOS comes with a good selection to choose from. But you can also add your own, such as a photo of yourself. Here’s how to change it:

  1. Open System Settings, then click Users & Groups.
  2. Click the i icon next to your user account.
  3. Hover your mouse cursor over your account avatar to reveal the edit button, then click it.
  4. Select your new user account image, then click Save. To add a custom image, select the Photos folder, then choose a file from your gallery. Alternatively, select Camera to take a photo of yourself with your Mac’s webcam.
The Users & Groups menu in System Settings on Mac displaying a list of all users. Click the i next to a user account to add your avatar to the lock screen.
Step 1. In Users & Groups, click the i next to your name
System Settings on Mac showing the options for a user account. Click the edit button beneath your avatar to change it.
Step 2. Click edit under your avatar
The avatar picker in Users & Groups settings on Mac. To add your avatar to the lock screen, first select it, then click Save.
Step 3. Select your new avatar, then click Save

How to change the login screen on Mac

Once you’ve set the lock screen on Mac to your liking, you may want to customize your login screen. You can do this using the tips we’ve outlined above to add a custom message, change your avatar, or set a different background. But first, you may need to prepare a custom image.

 

Follow these instructions to change your login image:

  1. Prepare your Mac login image
  2. Set up your Mac’s login screen image

1. Prepare your Mac login image

Before you can change your Mac’s login background, you need to make sure it’s the right format and size. You can do that with most photo editing software, but the macOS Preview app will do it just fine, as you’ll see:

  1. Confirm the resolution of your Mac’s display by opening System Settings, and then clicking Displays in the sidebar.
  2. Take note of your Mac’s screen resolution.
  3. Open the picture you want to resize using the Preview app.
  4. Click Tools in the menu bar and select Adjust Size.
  5. Change the resolution of your photo to match your Mac’s screen size, then click OK. Note that if your image doesn’t already have the same aspect ratio as your Mac’s screen, it may look stretched, so be sure to pick the right image.
  6. Click File in the menu bar and select Save.
  7. If your image isn’t in PNG, you’ll need to save a new version. Select File > Export.
  8. Select PNG as the format, rename the file to lockscreen.png, and click Save.
The Displays menu in System Settings on Mac. To prepare an image for your Mac's login screen, first take note of your display resolution.
Step 1. In Displays, take note of your display resolution
An image displayed in Preview on Mac. To prepare the image for a login screen background, first select Tools and Adjust Size in the menu bar to resize it.
Step 2. Open your chosen image in Preview
The Tools menu in Preview on Mac. Select Adjust Size to resize your image and prepare it as a login screen background.
Step 3. Select Tools > Adjust Size in the menu bar
Preview on Mac showing the Adjust Size tool. Enter your Mac's display resolution then click OK to prepare your login screen image.
Step 4. Enter your display resolution, then click OK
The File menu inside Preview on Mac. To save the changes to your login screen image, click Save.
Step 5. Click File > Save
Preview on Mac showing the File menu. To save your login screen background as a PNG file, first click Export.
Step 6. Select File > Export to save your image as a PNG
The Save menu in Preview on Mac. Select the PNG format, then click save to convert your login image to a PNG file.
Step 7. Select the PNG format, then click Save

2. Set up your Mac’s login screen image

To set your Mac’s login screen image manually, you can follow the steps we outlined above. If you’re happy for your login screen and desktop backgrounds to be the same, it’s easy to change your wallpaper through the System Settings app.

 

Hint from our experts: 

 

Bear in mind that your Mac’s login screen will only appear if automatic login is disabled. If you want to skip the login screen altogether, you’ll need to turn off the login password on Mac, which requires the File Vault feature to be inactive.

What to do if you can’t find a folder in desktop pictures

When you follow the steps above to change your login screen on Mac manually, you should see a folder with your user account’s UUID inside the Desktop Pictures folder. If it’s not there, you’ll have to create it yourself, like this:

  1. Go to System Settings > Users & Groups.
  2. Right-click on your username, and choose Advanced Options.
  3. Enter your Mac’s password if prompted, then click Unlock.
  4. Next, highlight and copy the UUID of your User ID.
  5. Go to the /Library/Caches/Desktop Pictures folder, and create a new folder with your UUID as its name. Enter your username and password if asked.
  6. You can now copy your lockscreen.png into this folder to change your login wallpaper.
System Settings on Mac showing the Users & Groups menu. Right-click your user account, then select Advanced Options to find your UUID. You can use this to create a folder in Desktop Pictures if you can't find one.
Step 1. Right-click your user > click Advanced Options
The Users & Groups menu in System Settings on Mac, which shows the user UUID. Highlight and copy this so you can create your UUID folder in Desktop Pictures.
Step 2. Copy your UUID
The Desktop Pictures folder in /Library/Caches on Mac, shown in Finder. Here, create a new folder, then use your UUID as its name.
Step 3. Create a new folder with your UUID name
Finder on Mac showing the UUID folder in Desktop Pictures. Save your lockscreen.png file here to change your Mac's lock screen image.
Step 4. Save your lockscreen.png in the UUID folder

How to make your login screen the same as your desktop background

When you change your Mac’s desktop background in System Preferences, as we showed you above, it’ll also change your lock screen and login background. So, if you’ve set a custom login screen picture, this will be overwritten.

 

For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep a copy of your custom login wallpaper, so you can restore it to the Desktop Pictures folder if it gets overwritten.

Hint from our experts: 

 

Remember that by making lots of login screens, you can end up cluttering your disk space with redundant duplicate images. To fix this problem quickly and efficiently, use MacKeeper’s Duplicates Finder:

  1. Open the MacKeeper app.
  2. Select Duplicates Finder on the left side of your screen.
  3. Tick Check All to look for duplicates among various categories of visual files.
  4. After they’re found, choose Remove Selected.
To quickly and safely delete duplicate files on your MacBook, use the MacKeeper app. In it, go to the Duplicates Finder section and open the relevant window to start the searching process.
Step 1. MacKeeper > Cleaning > Duplicates Finder
To continue with the duplicates removal on your Mac, in your Duplicates Finder window, select the option Check All and then process with Remove Selected at the bottom of the screen.
Step 2. Check All for a scan > Remove Selected

Conclusion

When your Mac starts to feel a little stale, customizing its lock and login screens and changing your wallpaper is a quick and easy way to enjoy a new look. Apple provides a bunch of great wallpapers with macOS that you can select with just a couple of clicks, or you can use your own images instead.

 

While you’re creating or looking for new wallpapers on Mac, you’ll often find that lots of duplicate photos and screenshots have built up on your machine. To quickly find and remove all of these to free up space, you can use the brilliant Duplicates Finder feature built into MacKeeper.

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