Allow me to state the obvious. I try out a few hundred Mac, iPhone, and iPad apps each year, and each year discard some, keep some, and don’t write much about the unworthy. When it comes to Desktop wallpaper photos for the Mac, I keep to whatever new photos grace whatever new OS X version Apple provides.
Why not use a custom Desktop wallpaper photo?
I can’t see it. My Mac’s screen is home to nearly a dozen open applications, with all their windows tiled over, around, under, and behind other app windows– fully covering the Desktop wallpaper photo– so the only way to see the Desktop wallpaper photo is to take action to move apps off the screen. I did set my Mac’s Desktop wallpaper photo to cycle every hour because I can see it through the Dock and, well variety is the spice of life.
Enter John’s Background Switcher which I tried this week. If you’re going to have a customized Desktop wallpaper photo, this is the app to use. If Apple ever decided to create a great Desktop wallpaper experience for Mac users, this would be the way to do it.
What you get is a Desktop background wallpaper manager extraordinaire, a cleverly designed utility which can pull in photos from Flickr, 500px, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites, and display them in a variety of attractive designs.
John’s Background Switcher can display a single photo as the Desktop wallpaper image, or randomly select photos to create a montage, collage, or collection. It can also switch from one to the other every 10 seconds or up to once per week (I set mine to once an hour).
The app even features built-in photo processing effects, including desaturation, sepia tones, grayscale and more. It sits in the background, doesn’t use much energy, and swaps out photos the way you want, and works on Mac’s with multiple displays, including different photos on each display.
Of course, John’s Background Switcher can pull in photos from your own collection, whether from iPhoto or Apple’s new Photos app for OS X. I have a couple of recommendations (which is a polite way of saying ‘complaint’). First, there’s no trial try-before-you-buy version, and my threshold for throwaway money is about $4. I would like to be able to cycle through multiple albums from Photos, and choose which albums. Otherwise, nicely done.