My Mac’s Desktop background wallpaper doesn’t get changed often. Maybe three or four times in a year, but all three or four times within half an hour as I try out different backgrounds until one just ‘fits.’ You know how that goes, right? Even then, I think I spend too much time worrying about a Desktop background image that spends 99.99-percent of its time covered up by app windows, an image that not only seldom sees the light of day, but one I seldom see except through the translucent Menubar and Dock.
That changed with the Backgrounds app (that’s the name) that does six wonderful things to the Desktop, which combined make it worthy of the abnormally low price tag. If you like to muck around and use the Mac’s Desktop, this is the app that makes it work right.
First, Artwork. Backgrounds works with iTunes and displays the current track as wallpaper. Or, it will play a video that matches the current track as the background. It even activate automatically when you play a song in iTunes.
Second, Video. Background can play any video as the Desktop wallpaper, and you can setup a playlist of multiple video clips, or add a loop to make them play on and on as the moving background.
Third, Parallax. Move the Mac’s screen pointer (commonly referred to as the ‘cursor’ or mouse pointer) and get some visual depth; it even flips the x or y axis to simulate screen movement.
Fourth, System Monitor. It’s not like we don’t have enough ways already to monitor the Mac’s CPU and network connection, but Backgrounds parks those visuals into a nice speedometer where you can set your own bandwidth limits, combine it with the background image, even setup the speedometer size and positioning on the screen.
Fifth, Time. Every screensaver and every background utility should have time as default and Backgrounds is no exception. Customize the font, size, location on the screen, even change color and add shadows. It even supports multiple connected displays, and has separate settings for each one.
Finally, Quartz. Backgrounds has the option to run any quartz composition as background wallpaper. I saved that to last because it’s a non-starter for me, but some Mac users might be into Quartz Composer.
Overall, I don’t know of Mac background utility which packs in as much as Backgrounds for the lowest price possible, one notch above free. Nicely done. Simple to setup and use. Needs a better logo, but that’s a nit as logos are not my forte.