Top 4 Fixes for Mac Wallpaper Changing After Restart

Top 4 Fixes for Mac Wallpaper Changing After Restart

Logging into different wallpapers every time you start your Mac is an odd experience, especially if it’s not your preference and it happens again. Does your Mac’s wallpaper often change after restarting or starting up? Well, we offer you some effective solutions to the problem in this guide.

Fixed Mac wallpaper change after restarting selected image

There are several reasons why this problem occurs. First of all, your desktop image may change automatically if your Mac uses dynamic wallpaper. Other factors such as software bugs and external display could also influence this complication. Let’s see the solutions.

1. Change display and wallpaper settings

Although Apple gives you the freedom to use personal images as your Mac wallpaper, there is a huge collection of wallpapers built into the macOS system. These wallpapers are available in different designs and styles. Some are designed to be static (i.e., still images, colors, or artwork) while others are dynamic – meaning they change based on factors such as location, time of day, etc. Some preset dynamic wallpapers may also change the images at intervals (for example, every X or Y minutes / hours) or according to certain device actions (for example, when your Mac is locked or wakes up from the standby).

Fixed Mac wallpaper change after restarting image

If the image on your MacBook desktop changes after a restart, it could just be because you have one of these dynamic images preset as your default wallpaper. You can solve this problem in two ways:

  1. Disable the image change interval for Dynamic Pictures / Wallpaper, or
  2. Choose a static / fixed wallpaper.

Here’s how you can do both.

Disable image change interval for dynamic wallpapers on Mac

Step 1: Launch System Preferences and select “Desktop & Screen Saver”.

Fixed Mac wallpaper change after restart

2nd step: Go to the Desktop tab and notice the rectangle in the upper left corner of the window.

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If you see a three-arrow refresh icon, it means your current wallpaper is dynamic, and desktop images will occasionally change. Go to the next step to disable this.

Step 3: At the bottom of the Desktop tab, uncheck the Edit Image option.

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This will prevent your Mac’s wallpaper from changing.

How to Identify and Choose a Static Wallpaper on Mac

As we explained earlier, static (or fixed) wallpapers do not change their images. To identify a static wallpaper on Mac, go to the desktop settings page (System Preferences> Desktop & Screensaver) and click on any wallpaper you want.

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If the Edit Image and Random Order options are grayed out, the selected image or illustration is a static wallpaper.

2. Disconnect the external display

We also found out (from the experiences of some affected users) that having external displays connected to your Mac can ruin its wallpaper settings, especially when the display is connected to your Mac during the restart.

A good way to alleviate this problem is to disconnect the external monitor (s) from your Mac before pressing the Shut Down or Restart button.

And if you forgot to disconnect the external monitor before shutting down your Mac, you don’t have to worry. Just make sure to disconnect it before you start your Mac.

3. Delete the image database file from the desktop

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If you don’t use live wallpaper or don’t have an external monitor connected to your Mac. However, the wallpaper keeps changing after a restart. Try to delete the database file responsible for the macOS desktop image. This database file (or .db file, for short) is labeled desktoppicture.db, and it stores your Mac’s wallpaper settings.

Your Mac’s wallpaper may not work properly if this file is corrupted. Therefore, removing it might help. It’s nothing fancy and you don’t have to worry about messing everything up. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: On your Mac desktop, click Go in the menu bar and select “Go to Folder”.

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You can also use the Shift + Command + G keyboard shortcut anywhere on the desktop.

2nd step: Paste the path below into the dialog box and click OK.

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This will launch Finder and automatically redirect you to the Dock folder where the Desktop Picture database file is located.

Step 3: Right click on the file and select “Move to Trash”.

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Step 4: Restart your computer after deleting the file.

On restart, macOS would have recreated a new database file for Desktop Picture.

Note: Deleting the Desktop Picture database file may reset your wallpaper to factory default settings. However, there is a very small probability that your Mac’s wallpaper will change after a restart.

Select your favorite wallpaper and check if that fixes the problem. Remember not to choose a dynamic wallpaper. And if you do, be sure to set the wallpaper to not alter the desktop images (see method # 1).

4. Update macOS

As far as we know, this issue could be the effect of a macOS bug. If none of the above troubleshooting methods resolve the issue, update your Mac’s operating system to the latest version (go to System Preferences> Software Update) and see if that helps.

Stay in control

We hope you have fixed the issue with the solutions mentioned above and now have control of your Mac’s wallpaper. By the way, since we are talking about wallpapers, you should check out some amazing wallpaper apps for Mac that offer elegantly curated collections of images, artwork, and different categories of wallpapers. in HD and 4K quality.


Are your Mac’s desktop icons gone or not showing? Read the article linked below to discover 4 troubleshooting solutions that will help you get back those missing desktop icons.

Last updated on Nov 29, 2020

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