Customize The OS X Yosemite Login Screen

Give the OS X Yosemite login window a personalized look using your own image.  This is a simple trick to do.  Just save your desired image as:

/Library/Caches/com.apple.desktop.admin.png

Then, just log out to apply the change.  You should immediately see your new image.  If you don’t make sure you put it in the correct Library folder and that the permissions are correct.

yosemite-samus-login

This trick works best with wallpapers that have the image left or right-justified so that the login fields are not obstructed.  Brighter colors also help since the login window dims them a bit.

yosemite-snake-login

yosemite-master-chief

You can use Photoshop or the likes to make the image blurred to give it that pure Yosemite feel.  But some images work better than others.  The Portal image below looks cool and is blurred, but the login fields are a little difficult to distinguish.

yosemite_portal-login

Caveat

If you want to use an image with alpha channels (i.e. transparency) such as one used to change the Apple Logo on the Mavericks login window, it won’t work as well. For some reason, the transparent areas show up as red.

yosetmite-alpha-loginwindow-caveat

Getting Creative

I’m not a Photoshop pro, but you can use this template (1920×1080) which has a layer with the opacity reduced so you can line up where the login fields will go.  You could use this to create your own wallpaper, or simply to line up where the login fields and buttons will appear on your wallpaper.  Your results may vary depending on the resolution of your Mac.

Images

77 Replies to “Customize The OS X Yosemite Login Screen”

  1. Awesome tip and greatly appreciated. 🙂 May I add a note for those users who are new to the Apple ecosystem and OS X, that the Library folder they should look in is the root Library and not the user Library. You won’t find the file “com.apple.desktop.admin.png” in the user Library location. Best regards.

      1. Hi. Just to repeat what the author had commented above, open Finder, then click Go > Go To Folder… from the menu bar and type /Library/Caches. And you’ll be in the right folder. Cheers.

  2. This looks awesome but I cannot get it to work. I got it once, but even then it was super blurry and had nowhere near the clarity of the pics above. Now trying with the R2D2 pic above and I cannot get it to work at all. Help! Am I missing something?

    1. Make sure you put it in the correct Library folder /Library/Caches not /Users/username/Library/Caches. Also, it works best if the image size matches the resolution of your monitor exactly.

        1. Make sure it is named properly: com.apple.desktop.admin.png. If it is not named exact, it will not work. Make sure it is also a real .png file.

          When you try, does it revert back to the default Yosemite picture?

  3. This is great! It should be noted that a file (image) with this name already exists in the folder (obviously since you already have a default background image on the login screen) – I simply renamed the original. Is this the best thing to do or could i just delete it. Basically all this is is a way to have different images for desktop background and login screen correct?

    1. Correct, this trick allows a different image for the login screen than what your wallpaper is set to.

      In my testing, the file can be removed without problem (this makes sense considering the file is in a cache folder, which means its existence is temporal). After a reboot, the login window defaulted to the original blurred Yosemite picture.

      If you do not want it to be changed, you can run this command via Terminal:

      sudo chflags uchg /Library/Caches/com.apple.desktop.admin.png

  4. Thanks! Any reason you made your PSD in a 16:9 resolution (at 1920×1080 pixels), whereas Mac screen ratio is 16:10 (i.e. 1280×800, 1440×900, 1680×1050, 1980×1200…)?

    1. 1920 x 1080 just happened to be the resolution of the Mac I was testing things with, so that’s where I grabbed the screenshot of the loginwindow from. If I had other Macs with different resolutions to make another layer in the .PSD, I would have.

  5. This doesn’t seem to work in Version 10.10.2. And, before it’s asked,

    Yes..

    /Library/Caches/com.apple.desktop.admin.png

    After several attempts to get this way to work, I tried:

    /System/Library/Frameworks/AppKit.framework/Versions/C/Resources where I changed the NSTexturedFullScreenBackgroundColor.png file

    also tried:

    sudo chflags uchg /Library/Caches/com.apple.desktop.admin.png

    The only thing that happens, after all these logouts, is it defaults to the blurred Yosemite wallpaper (which isn’t even my desktop wallpaper).

    I’m curious to know, from those who actually got it to work, how?

    1. I’m running 10.10.2 and it works fine for me. I’m not sure where some people are running into issues as I only had two Macs to test this with. The only thing I can think is that is has something to do with the resolution. Every image that I tested seemed to work as you can see from the screen shots.

    2. first navigate to “/Library/Caches/” by going to “Go > Go To Folder…” from the menu bar and paste that location in the address bar Like the pics I have below:

      1. I don’t want to drag this out by having you repeat the instructions all over again. I followed these instructions to the letter. I also made certain that I was in the root Library and not the Users Library, which it seems you’re attempting to have me clarify again. The image below shows the file in the /Library/Caches folder explained in this tut, named appropriately.

        My question was to those who actually got it to work. Was there something, above and beyond the instructions in this tutorial, that you did to get it to work?

        1. Check the Sharing & Permissions of your image file.

          check my comment if you need steps

          thats what worked for me

          1. Josh, or shall I call you Superman? YOU DID IT! Thanks! That was the issue. “Everyone”s S&P was set to No Access, so I set it to Read Only and that did the trick!

            I appreciate all the attention this got in resolving the problem. Internet FTW! Thanks, guys!

    3. It worked for me on 10.10.2 without issue. I’m not sure where people are having issues as it worked for me flawlessly every time.

        1. Curious. Is the image you are using the same size as the resolution of your Mac? Also, please post the output of ls -l /Library/Caches/com.apple.desktop.admin.png

          1. Yes. Your R2D2 image link saves the image at 1920×1080, I converted it to 1280×800. It just doesn’t seem like it’s going to work. Thanks for trying, tho.

          2. finally worked after a restart. is this supposed to change the login screen after a “sleep”?

          3. What about if I get a permissions denied when I search Ls -l command? Also instead of Admin it says staff. (Yes I’ve add the admin read on the file) what else can I do?

      1. Yeah, worked here and there was not even a need to change permissions. Odd that so many see issues on this one. Works a charm, cheers jacob!

        1. Yeah, I’m not sure why so many have issues; I can get it to go every time, even on a different system. Glad it worked!

          1. I made changes to the colors to exaggerate the whole palette due to the transparency overlay, but it’s more than good enough. Might be some trick hiding to allow for removing that, but not sure if that’s worth the trouble…

          2. I spent a long while trying to see where the setting came from, but never found it. I also conceded and just modified the colors to show up a bit better.

          3. sudo chflags uchg /Library/Caches/com.apple.desktop.admin.png

            This seems to get rid of most of the overlay. Looks much better now…

          4. Hmm. I wasn’t able to replicate your results, but I’ll keep trying with a few different pictures.

      1. I also did a full shut down, as opposed to just a simple restart (which I had also tried), and it’s still not working.

        I’m chalking this up to a lost cause, lol.
        Thanks for the responses, guys.

        1. Maybe try rebooting in safe mode by holding Shift while booting, then reboot again. This will clear out any cache files and reload the system, which can sometimes solve random issues.

          1. Welp, I rebooted in safe mode. Then I rebooted again. Here’s the odd thing, it didn’t work, but what’s showing is a blurred version of my current desktop background… it’s odd, because that image isn’t in the Caches folder, nor in the Resources folder… so, it’s gotta be creating it somewhere…

  6. Ha! Finally Figure it out!.

    If you cannot get it the image to appear and only get default Yosemite image check the Sharing & Permissions.

    Steps:
    1. Double click on the login photo you want to use
    2. Click “Get Info”
    3. Scroll down in that window to “Sharing & Permissions”
    4. Make sure “everyone” has “Read Only” NOT “No Access” permissions

  7. I couldn’t get it to work at first either. It needs to be in the SYSTEM /Library/Caches/ folder, NOT the — USER /Library/Caches/. After i figured that out, it worked like a charm 🙂

  8. Worked great for the login screen after I’ve logged out. Is there any trick to change the screen for login after the Mac has been in sleep mode?

  9. Hi….still having an issue: Correct path – Check; correct filename – Check, correct permissions – Check. However, as soon as I copy the “new” png in and overwrite the existing after about 2 seconds i can see the icon revert back to the old blurred Yos default image…same if I delete the default image…within 2 seconds another one is immediately populated back into the folder. Any thoughts?

  10. This is fantastic… even easier than in Mavericks! I’ve been googling for a solution like this since the Yosemite beta was released. Is there any way to disable the white haze that Yosemite puts over the picture

    1. No, I haven’t. I think it is something more tightly integrated into the OS. I will keep looking, but no luck so far.

  11. hi, i read all the comments, and i verified my path and all the steps.
    just to be sure, it allow to modify the screen after you closed your session.
    Not the one after you start your computer, right.
    because, i only got the picture after i close my session.

      1. I, too, have this problem: when I start my computer, all I can see is a grey background (not a blurred version of my desktop image) with the login fields. Is there any way of customizing this lock (?) screen?

        1. I’m not sure why some people are having issues. It works for me every time…I don’t know of a way to change the LOCK screen, but this works for the LOGIN WINDOW.

          1. No. I spent a long time digging. Long enough where I decided to give up as it wasn’t worth the effort.

    1. It could be a part of the image or something weird happening with the alpha channels. Or your monitor could have some dead pixels…

  12. Hi there, any clue on how to remove the gray overlay on OS X 10.10.2? Try setting a black wallpaper, it won’t be as black when you switch to the login window.

Leave a Reply