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52 thoughts on “macOS Catalina: How To Change The Login Screen Background”

  1. Having chosen to display, at random, one of my own photos from a folder as a desktop picture, OSX has arrogantly chosen to use the first in alphabetical order as the logon photo. So the procedure listed above is simply not relevant. I need to experiment further. Pretty poor of Apple not to do make this is simple process.

  2. How To Change The Lock Screen
    1) Select or create an image and name it: Catalina.heic
    2) Go to: Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
    a) Select Macintosh HD
    b) Click on Info
    c) Read BSD device node (mine says disk1s1)
    3) Shutdown computer
    4) Restart computer – holding down the [command] + [R] keys until it boots
    5) Select admin account and enter in the password
    6) Click on utilities and open Terminal
    7) Enter: csrutil disable and press return – you have now disabled the integrity
    8) Restart computer
    9) Go to: Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal
    10) Enter: sudo mount -t apfs -wu /dev/[system ID]/Volumes
    11) Enter: sudo mount -wu /; killall Finder
    12) Go to: Finder > Go > Go to Folder
    13) Enter: /System/Library/Desktop Pictures
    14) Select image: Catalina.heic and rename it: old.Catalina.heic
    15) Drag-and-drop the image you named: Catalina.heic into the open folder
    16) Go to: Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal
    17) Enter: diskutil apfs updatePreboot /[system ID] and wait for it to finish
    18) Close all open windows
    19) Shutdown computer
    20) Restart computer – holding down the [command] + [R] keys until it boots
    21) Select admin account and enter in the password
    22) Click on utilities and open Terminal
    23) Enter: csrutil enable and press return – you have now enabled the integrity
    24) Restart computer

      • That’s the image used for the lock screen once a user has logged in, it’s not the startup screen which initial screen seen when starting before any user has been chosen. For MacOS 11.2 aka Big Sur (what’s with the nonsensical OS names?) the image is: /System/Library/Desktop Pictures/Big Sur Graphic.heic

        The above process will likely work fine to replace this image with whatever you want. There are also images for Day and Night, but they are just aliases pointing to the Graphic image.

  3. Worked like a charm. But is ist correct that the desktop picture has changed to the same one I just for the login screen? I had wished for two separate ones.

    And one more question, doing all that my login password doesn’t show any signs any more. I can type them but they remain “blind” like as you are typing the password in terminal

  4. This worked great, but within a few days, my system became unstable and my computer began to crash weekly. I can’t be sure this was the problem, of course, but after a couple of months I had to reinstall the OS. Just sayin’.

    • I have been loving the HEIC images. And, I notice a direct correlation to my system being *weird*, and then crashing (startup disc becomes corrupted, yikes flashing folder with a qusetion mark), and I have to reinstall OS. I haven’t done this bit, but just using custom HEIC images for whismy and fun.

  5. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on my mid 2012 Macbook Pro. As soon as I turn on the FileVault encryption, the login background goes into plan grey and no way to turn it back to Catalina’s wallpaper. While the SSD is not encrypted, the background is fine. I tried your steps to check if the files are there and not corrupted or something.. but everything looks fine. So I have no idea why it is happening.

  6. Dear John- Switch to Boot camp and Windows 10? Are you kidding? Get off this Mac conversation and go back to your clunky operating system of choice.

  7. I appreciate the detailed instructions; however, this did not work for me. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. My guess is the name of the disc is the problem? The hard drive is disc0, there is a ‘container disc1’ that has ‘Macintosh HD’ identified as ‘disc1s2’. first I tried sudo “mount -t apfs -wu /dev/disk1s2/Volumes” and then “sudo mount -t apfs -wu /dev/disk0/Volumes”.

    Suggestions are most appreciated 🙂


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