How To Make an Animated GIF Your Mac Wallpaper

GIFs are Graphic Interchange Format files. These files are most widely-known as animated images used as comical anecdotes on social media. But, there are a lot of other uses too.

How To Make an Animated GIF Your Mac Wallpaper

Having the same motionless wallpaper on your Mac can get pretty boring pretty fast. But did you know that you can liven up your screen and set an animated GIF as your wallpaper? In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to do it.

Setting Animated GIFs as Wallpaper on Your Mac Computer

Your computer’s operating system (macOS) doesn’t have the software that supports setting animated GIFs as wallpaper or screensaver.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t install additional programs that can help you. There are a bunch of programs you can find online for this, but most of them are either full of bugs or don’t work at all.

Luckily, we have found two programs that you can definitely rely on. These programs are also constantly getting updated, so users can enjoy more features almost every month. On top of that, they are completely free.

Let’s go through both of them and see what they’re all about.

Before We Begin

Since the following tutorials will show you how to download, install, and use these programs, make sure that you have already downloaded an animated GIF of your choosing.

You can search for your desired GIF on websites like GIPHY, Tenor, and similar. Once you’ve found the GIF that you like, right-click on it and choose Save As.

It is also a good idea to make your own animated GIFs. There are plenty of online tools that allow you to create animations just by adding your pictures. The Gif Maker is one of the tools you can use.


GIFPaper is one of the first programs that allowed users to set animated GIFs as their wallpapers on Mac computers. In its initial versions, the GIFPaper software wasn’t exactly considered user-friendly. You needed to install and set up everything manually and it took quite some time.

On top of that, this program used to drain about 15% of the computer’s CPU power to display the animated GIF. You don’t need to be tech-savvy to know that 15% is too much.

However, the developers have fixed most of these issues, so the GIFPaper that we have now actually runs quite well.

We will start by showing you how to download and install this software.

NOTE: Keep in mind that animations always use more RAM and CPU power than other formats. Thus, no matter the program that you select, you will notice that your CPU is working overtime.

If your CPU isn’t that powerful and if you own an older Mac computer, you should avoid setting animations as wallpaper. The animations will most likely be laggy and you might end up damaging your CPU in the long run (although that’s quite hard).

Downloading, Installing, and Using GIFPaper

GIFPaper doesn’t have an official website. Therefore, the download link that we’ll provide you in this article will be from a third-party website. Although downloading anything from a third-party website isn’t recommended for safety reasons, this link has our green light. If that link stops working, you can check its alternative.

Click on the link and download GIFPaper. Here’s what you need to do to install and use this software:

  1. Double-click on the installation file named GIFPaperPrefs.
  2. A popup window will appear asking you whether you want to install the GifPaperPrefs preferences pane. Select the option that you want (Install for this user only or Install for all users of this computer) and click on Install. The installation will be done in a few seconds.
  3. Open the installed GIFPaperPrefs program.
  4. Select Browse from its initial screen and select the GIF that you want to set.
  5. Once you’ve selected your GIF, you can adjust its alignment, scaling, and background color.
  6. Run the second file from the folder where you’ve downloaded GIFPaper. It is called GIFPaperAgent.
  7. Select Open, and your animated GIF wallpaper should be set.


AnimatedGIF is a program developed for Mac OSX/macOS that allows users to play animated GIFs. Initially, this program worked as a screensaver. With its latest updates, AnimatedGIF can set animated GIF backgrounds on your Mac computer. The software is now quite stable and doesn’t use as much RAM or CPU, but you should still be careful as it varies from computer to computer.

First, you need to download AnimatedGIF. You can download the program from here.

As you can see, the program is posted on GitHub where you can even see its source code. To download AnimatedGIF, click on the release that you want. It is advised that you always choose the latest release (release 1.5.3 in this case) as it has all of the latest updates.


Scroll down to the Assets section and download both AnimatedGif.saver and zip files. You can download the source code as well if you’d like, but it isn’t necessary.


Here’s how you can install and use AnimatedGIF on your Mac computer:

  1. Unzip the downloaded files.
  2. Double-click on the AnimatedGIF.saver file. macOS will then ask you if you want to install this program. Click on Install.
  3. Go to System Preferences.
  4. Select Desktop and Screensaver.
  5. From there, select AnimatedGIF Screensaver.
  6. Click on its Screen Saver Options.
  7. Select the GIF that you want to use. You will also be able to adjust a decent amount of settings from that window.

Customize Your Mac Computer Wallpaper

GIFPaper and AnimatedGIF both allow you to customize your Mac’s wallpaper by setting animated GIFs rather than motionless background images. You now know what you need to do to install and use these programs. Choose the program that you find easier to use and have fun with it.

It is worth pointing out again that GIFs and other animations use more CPU power and RAM, so your computer could run slower.

Which of these two programs will you go for? Do you already have a perfect GIF in mind for your new wallpaper? Let us know in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “How To Make an Animated GIF Your Mac Wallpaper”

Avatar brandon mayflower says:
does anyone have a way to uninstall or undo this? once i set a gif as the wallpaper i am not able to set a regular picture and its draining my battery very quickly
Avatar Griffin A. says:
So downloading and installing were simple enough. Though my mac initially didn’t want to open the app, it’s an easy fix. I got to the point where it allows me to open gifpaperprefs. After selecting the gif I wanted which was on my desktop, I expected the gif to appear in the small box to the left, but it does not. I am unsure why this is. Im using the macOS Big Sur version 11.1 and my laptop if a MacBook Pro. Everything should be working properly, so I am not sure what the issue is. If anyone has a suggestion, please leave a comment below! 🙂
Avatar M Cast says:
To be honest this worked for me I honestly don’t know how or why it did. Since everyone in the comments/replies are saying that it doesn’t work.
Avatar jitendra trivedi says:
after unzipping and allowing installation, the system preference didn’t show the prograram. Checked applications – as most progarma gets added there. No, it wasn’t there! So I pulled ‘AnimatedGif.saver’ in application and restarted mac. no luck. Instead a ‘Saver Window’ popped up which can not be closed!!!!! Thank god its smaller and could be pushed out nearly out – but can not close/delete!! I had the old program before and It was working – but that too started with this mystrious ‘saver window’. Now no animation!
Avatar ur mum says:
shut up and stop winging
Avatar no ur mom says:
Learn how to spell….
Avatar Waitsnake says:
Background mode in AnimatedGif is only working with Mojave 10.14 or earlier versions of macOS.

Since Catalina 10.15 background mode is broken since Apple has sandboxed the screensaver process of the operating system and no local files can created by a screensaver and the creation of one plist file was necessary to start the background mode.

Avatar Erwin Huang says:
i cannot make AnimatedGif to work as a background, how to do it? anyone has a idea?

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