How to Use an Animated GIF as the Wallpaper on Your Mac

Animated GIF are literally everywhere. You find them in your Facebook feeds, Twitter timeline, and probably in the photo gallery of your phone. Occasionally, you might come across some really cute animated GIF images that you want to set as your desktop wallpaper (though it will be a huge distraction), but due to the nature of desktop wallpapers, you can’t really do that. You must use a still image for that.

As technology progresses, things change. Now you can have an animated GIF as the desktop wallpaper on your Mac. Yes, an app has made it possible, and the following guide walks you through the steps.

You are going to use a free app called GIFPaper to use a GIF image as your desktop wallpaper. The app is lightweight and should not take more than a few seconds to download on your machine.

1. Download GIFPaper app archive to your Mac. Double-click on the downloaded archive, and you will get the actual app folder containing the app.

Open the app folder and launch the app by double-clicking on the file named “GIFPaperPrefs.prefPane.”

gifpaper-launch

2. When you launch the app, you will get the following prompt asking whether you wish to install the app for yourself or for all the users on the machine. Choose any and click on “Install.”

gifpaper-install

3. Instead of appearing in the Applications folder or in Launchpad, the GIFPaper sits in the Preferences panel of your Mac.

To access it, click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner, select “System Preferences…” and then click on the “GIFPaperPrefs” option.

gifpaper-gifpaper

4. When the panel launches, you should see a button called “Browse” that will let you browse your Mac for an animated GIF that you want to set as the desktop wallpaper. Click on the button, and select a GIF image as your wallpaper.

gifpaper-browse

5. You should now be able to see the chosen GIF image as the wallpaper of your desktop. The app did its job for you.

There is actually a catch with the GIFPaper app. When you use a GIF image with the app, it only remains as your desktop wallpaper until you reboot your Mac. As soon as your Mac restarts, the GIF wallpaper is gone.

For that very reason, the developer has included an agent app with the package that you need to add to your Mac’s startup items list so that your GIF wallpaper is preserved.

1. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner, and select “System Preferences…” to be taken to your Mac’s Settings panel.

gifpaper-syspref

2. Click on “Users & Groups” to go to your user account settings panel.

gifpaper-users

3. Click on your user account in the left panel, and then click on the “Login Items” tab.

The apps that are listed here automatically launch when you reboot your Mac. What you are going to do is add the GIFPaper agent app here so that it automatically launches when you restart your Mac so that you will still be able to see your favourite GIF image as your wallpaper.

To add the app, click on the “+” (plus) sign, navigate to where GIFPaper app is located, select it, and click on “Add.”

gifpaper-startup

4. You can now close the Preferences panel.

You have successfully added the GIFPaper app to your startup items list, and it will now automatically launch each time your Mac restarts. Your GIF wallpaper is preserved.

If you want something out of the box as your Mac’s wallpaper, the above guide helps you get that on your machine.

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