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Illustration for article titled How to Recreate iOS 13s Dynamic Wallpaper on Your Mac
Image: alicerunsonfedora (Github)

The iOS 13 beta has provided us with a preview of the new dynamic backgrounds that iPhone users will be sporting when iOS 13 rolls out to the public this fall. The new backgrounds on iOS 13 shift colors based on whether you’re using the light or dark theme. Static images don’t do this on their own, but since macOS started supporting dynamic desktop backgrounds in Mojave, it’s possible to recreate iOS 13’s wallpaper effects on your Mac with minimal effort and just a few extra files.

To do this, we’ll be using the open source macOS program Wallpapper, which allows you to create dynamic wallpapers out of image folders. Creating a dynamic wallpaper file from scratch takes a bit of coding, but thanks to Github developer alicerunsonfedora, the wallpaper images have already been compiled into directories that we can use in Wallpapper.

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Here’s the whole process, step by step:

  • First, make sure Xcode and Swift 5 are installed on your Mac.
  • Open up Terminal and install the amazing Homebrew package manager (if you haven’t already)
  • Use Homebrew to install Wallpapper using the following commands:brew tap mczachurski/wallpapper and brew install wallpapper
  • Next, run wallpapper -h in Terminal to verify that you installed Wallpapper successfully. If so, you should see a response that starts like this:

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wallpapper: [command_option] -i inputFile

  • Next, download alicerunsonfedora’s ZephyrMac directory from Github. This contains properly organized and compiled image directories for each Zephyr background color: black, red, green, and blue.
  • Within terminal, use the “cd” command to navigate over to wherever you unzipped the ZephyrMac master. For most people, that’ll involve two commands: cd downloads and cd zephyrmac-master
  • After that, type in cd color , replacing colorwith whatever folder name represents the wallpaper you want. After that, enter the following command:wallpapper -i wallpapper.json -o wallpapper.heic 
  • This will create a new file called wallpaper.heic, which we can now apply as the desktop background by going to Apple System Preferences Desktop Screen Saver. Under the Desktop tab, find and select the wallpapper.heic file to apply the background.

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