Turn Your Mac into a Functional Star Trek LCARS Terminal

Now you can feel like an ensign on board the enterprise every time you use your computer.  Make your Mac display LCARS-style backgrounds that move and animate.  Even listen to the ambience of the subtle “blips and bleeps” of the computer.  Now close your eyes and pretend you are on the bridge…

  1. Download and install the System47 screen saver by meWho (a newer version is available on MacUpdate, which seemed to work better on Mavericks)
  2. Set it as your default screensaverjacobsalmela_lcarssaver
  3. Run this command from Terminal:
/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &

This will run the screen saver as a background process, and will replace your background with an animated LCARS display.  You can still use the computer as normal with this running–the perfect blend: Star Trek and OS X.

The screensaver also has audio for that authentic Star Trek bridge ambience.  And it even works great on multiple monitors!

To stop the screensaver, run this command:

kill $(ps aux | grep 'ScreenSaverEngine' | awk '{print $2}')

If your computer is a bit older and slower, this might not be best to run all the time since it will use some of your CPU to run continually in the background.

Have fun and watch out for that Klingon Bird-of-Prey on the starboard bow.

Do this using an app

If you are not a fan of Terminal, take a look at my app!  It will start and stop the live wallpaper for you and will work with any other screensaver.

28 Replies to “Turn Your Mac into a Functional Star Trek LCARS Terminal”

      1. I have 10.9.4 as well and have downloaded from MacUpdate. The install screen is all white and using the preview crashed System Preferences.

        1. Interesting. I noticed the same thing with the older version. I had my screen saver installed on 10.9.3 and then updated to 10.9.4 and it works. Maybe it has something to do with that?

        2. Same here, though it still works on the older Macbook after upgrading (it was at 10.9 when I installed system47 on it).

  1. It’s working on Marvericks…with the screensaver as a background…however, when I close the terminal…my background reverts back to my original wallpaper…any thoughts?

    1. This is the normal behavior as the command is executed from Terminal–stopping Terminal stops any active commands. I use TotalTerminal, which has an option to hide the dock icon, so it is never a bother. It might also be possible to make a LaunchAgent that would run this command so your wallpaper would always stay that way, but I haven’t tried that.

  2. It workds on Mavericks – I am using Wallsaver to run it as my desktop background – but trying to set Options for this ss crashes System preferences.

    But the sound is driving me crazy. Any ideas on how to turn it off?

    1. I finally figured out why this doesn’t work for some people. You need to have the latest version of Flash installed. 😫

  3. Will this work on El Capitan/ 10.11.4?
    Tried the command in terminal but did not work.
    The command on the webpage ends with a &, which leaves me to believe there is more to the command?

    1. I haven’t tried on 10.11. The & means to send the command to the background so you can get your prompt back. Otherwise, it doesn’t stop until you press Control+C. Make sure your flash is up-to-date as this screen saver uses it. If it’s not, your screen saver will just be white and/or not work at all (which may be why the command is not working).

          1. Could it be that I copied and pasted the command in terminal,
            instead of typing it out?
            Do I need to add to screensaver or have it open?
            Just not sure what I’am doing wrong?

          2. I copied and pasted just fine. Make sure you are using the screensaver from MacUpdate. The older one doesn’t seem to work.

          3. Yes, got it from MacUpdate.
            Run’s fine.
            Thank you for your assistance and time.

  4. This doesn’t seem to be working anymore. When I tried to download it, it said there was no input file selected. Any ideas?

    1. The MacUpdate link had the last working version. This screen saver also requires Flash, which is just a pain on the Mac (or any computer) nowadays.

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