The best ever Mac default desktop background (aka Mac wallpaper) was the blue Aqua picture that came with OS X 10.4 Tiger. It’s classy, restful and classic without feeling dated. It has enough depth to make it interesting, but is simple enough not to distract. Other Aqua-themed Mac OS X wallpapers followed, but that one remains the best. And if you want it, you can download it in beautiful 5K resolution.
But that’s not all. Over at 512 Pixels, you can download every default macOS wallpaper ever, also in 5K.
Almost two decades of Mac wallpapers
Apple released Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah on March 24, 2001, almost 19 years ago. Now we’re on macOS 10.15 Catalina, and each version along the way brought a different default wallpaper, with one exception: OS X 10.1 Puma — the first usable version of OS X — shared its wallpaper with version 10.0.
512 Pixels’ collection brings all of these Mac wallpapers together. And all in beautiful 5K resolution, which is enough for all Macs except the high-end Pro Display XDR. You can even grab all the versions of the macOS Mojave and Catalina wallpapers, which change throughout the day (and which you can mimic on your iPhone or older Mac).
I use the Tiger wallpaper on my iPad right now, and it works really, really well. Although I’m tempted to try out the second-best Aqua wallpaper of all time, from Mac OS X 1O.3 Panther.