How to Add a Screen Saver to Your Mac

You're not limited to screen savers provided by Apple

Apple provides a variety of screen savers with macOS, but many others are available from third-party developers.

Adding a third-party screen saver to your Mac is very easy. Many include a built-in installer, but if not you can always install the new screen saver manually.

Installing Screen Savers Manually

Installing a new screen saver can be done in just a few easy steps. If you can drag and drop a file, you can manually install a screen saver.

Screen Saver Preference Pane on Mac.

First, drag the downloaded screen saver to one of two locations:

  • /Library/Screen Savers/: Screen savers stored here can be used by any user account on your Mac. A pathname beginning with / indicates the file is stored on your startup drive, starting at the root entry point. Open your startup drive, look for the Library folder, then locate the Screen Savers folder. Drag your downloaded screen saver into this folder.
  • ~/Library/Screen Savers/: Screen savers stored in this location can only be used by the current user account. The tilde (~) character at the front of the pathname represents your personal home directory. For example, if your home directory is named tom, the pathname would be /Users/tom/Library/Screen Savers/. The tilde is just a shortcut to your currently logged-in user home directory. Put screen savers in this folder to make them only available only to.

How to Install Screen Savers the Easy Way

Most Mac screen savers are smart; they know how to install themselves. When you finish downloading a screen saver, you can install it automatically with just a few clicks: Simply locate the screen saver file in whatever directory is has been downloaded to — usually the Downloads folder — and double-click the file. This will open the built-in installer program.

Most installers ask if you want to install the screen saver for all users or just yourself. Make your selection to complete the installation. You can now select and configure the options for the new screen saver.

How to Delete a Screen Saver

Should you ever want to remove a screen saver, go back to the appropriate Library > Screen Savers folder and simply drag the screen saver to the Trash icon in the Dock.

Sometimes identifying which screen saver is which by its file name can be difficult. In some versions of the macOS operating system, there's a simple way to delete a screen saver.

This technique is available in older versions of macOS only.

  1. Launch System Preferences.

    Selecting System Preferences in macOS.
  2. Select Desktop & Screen Saver.

    Desktop and screen saver in macOS.
  3. Select the Screen Saver tab. In the left pane is a list of installed screen savers. Select one to display a preview in the right pane.

    Selecting Screen Saver in macOS.
  4. If this is the screen saver you want to remove, right-click on the screen saver's name in the left panel and select Delete from the pop-up menu.