How to Change macOS Big Sur Login Screen Background Image

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Changing the wallpaper in macOS is easy. You just simply go into System Preferences, then Desktop & Screensaver. What if you want to change the login screen background image? In this post, we look at how to do just that for macOS Big Sur.

Lock Screen vs Login Screen

First off, the login screen is the screen you see when your Mac boots up and asks for the password. It’s not the Lock Screen that shows up when you lock your Mac. If you would like to change the Lock Screen wallpaper, you can do it by going into System Preferences, then Desktop & Screensaver.

macOS Big Sur Login Screen Background Image
macOS Big Sur Login Screen Default Background Image
macOS Big Sur System Preferences Desktop & Screensaver
macOS Big Sur System Preferences Desktop & Screensaver


How to Change macOS Big Sur Login Screen Background Image

Even though it’s not an option in System Preferences, changing the login screen background image in macOS Big Sur is very easy. You just need to locate the default image and replace it with your own.

  1. Open a Finder window, select Go in the menu bar and then select Go to Folder. Type /Library/Caches/Desktop Pictures into the address field and click Go.
  2. You should see a folder with a file called “lockscreen.png”. This is the file you want to replace. Rename the file “lockscreen-old.png” and leave it in the folder. Keeping a copy of the old image is a good idea, just in case you change your mind in the future and want to revert to the old lock screen image.  
  3. Drag your own image into the folder and rename it “lockscreen.png”.
    • Yes, a jpg/jpeg file works too.
    • If you would like to convert your image to png, open it in the Preview app, select File, and choose the Export command.
  4. Restart your Mac and you should see your new login screen wallpaper.

[Update for macOS Big Sur Version 11.4] If you are running macOS Big Sur version 11.4, you might see an empty folder. Placing your own image, named “lockscreen.png”, in the folder still does the trick.

Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments! If you are looking for how to change the login screen background for Windows 10, you’ll want to check out this post.

This Post Has 17 Comments

    1. Jack

      We’ve tested as recently as early July, replacing the lockscreen.png, or adding a new file called lockscreen.png in the folder does change the login screen. I think the confusion here is Apple chose to call the file “lockscreen” instead of “loginscreen”. On the other side, the lock screen background image is changed in System Preferences under Desktop & Screensaver. Basically, the lock screen has the same background image as the desktop.

  1. Todd

    Agree, this only changes the Lock Screen. My Mac is set up with multiple users, if I do this under my current user, it changes the Lock Screen, but as soon as I log out the login screen DOES NOT show the custom image, but rather the default one.

  2. JG

    It only changes lock screen

  3. Lin

    Hi, I have the same problem, not able to change the login screen this way. Anyone can resolve this, please?

  4. Pat

    When I use the “Go to the folder” search I get: “The folder can’t be found”. I hate that yucky orange picture and want it gone, but if there is no folder to be found… how do I find the picture to replace?

    1. Jack

      Hey I would try one more time just to make sure you have the correct folder path copied.

      I would also look at the operating system. This post works for macOS Big Sur but if you have a different version of macOS, this will likely not work. Try Googling “change login screen background for [name of OS, e.g. mojave, catalina…].

      I hope this helps!

      1. Pamela

        Does not work for the LOGIN screen – the picture that comes up with the file “lock screen ” is indeed the Lock Screen. This is the current update (downgrade) to the OS

  5. Anna

    Yes, it is not working on BigSur 11.5.2. Can anyone has the resolution?

  6. Richard

    Not working for me on BigSur 11.5.2 either.

  7. Mel

    This does not work for the LOGIN screen on MacBook Big Sur.

  8. person

    DOES NOT WORK. Also, the “locksgreen.png” was allready there (11.6)

  9. Hatcher

    I tried this just now. There is indeed a “lockscreen.png” file in the folder with the image you would expect. Replacing it with one of my own images has no effect – it still displays the stock Big Sur color swatch (which is kind of ugly).

    Big Sur 11.5.2 MB Pro.

  10. Mo

    I can change those screens. I’m looking for the Bootup image. That’s what I want to change.

  11. Fruma

    Useless. Doesn’t work. Try again.

  12. Teddy

    Doesn’t work for me either on Big Sur 11.6

  13. Richard Smith

    Jack, is confusing the issue, when he says login screen, it seems there is a behaviour in Big Sur on the login screen where after selecting a user, you get the login screen image everyone wants to replace, replaced at that time with the lock screen image that is in the file. JACK, they are not the same thing, everyone is asking about the first image, while you are still to select a user. The lockscreen.png is NOT that image, Apple have locked that image and its preference in the locked system partition, which means the only way to change it is to use recovery mode, which is not practical, because a simple OS update will reverse the changes.

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