The Default Screen Saver Locations on Mac OS

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The Mac has two general folders that store screen savers, one at the user level and for each user account, and one at the system level that stores all of the default screen savers on a Mac.

Knowing where the screen saver folders are can be useful for a variety of reasons, be it installing a screen saver, removing a screen saver, editing one of the files with Quartz Composer or various other purposes, so let’s you can quickly see where to view the screen saver folders on a Mac.

The default location for system-level screen saver in Mac OS

The system level screen saver folder is located in the / System / folder, and each screen saver in the folder is included in all other user accounts on the Mac. This is also where the standard screensavers in Mac OS are located, for example the Flurry or Floating Message screensavers.

/ System / Library / Screen Savers /

An easy way to access that folder is with the incredibly useful Command-Shift-G keyboard shortcut in the Mac Finder, which lets you jump straight to a folder on a Mac if you know the path.

Default screen saver folders on Mac

This applies to all versions of Mac OS and Mac OS X.

But wait! There is actually another default system-level folder for screensavers in Mac OS, although on a standard Mac OS installation it is limited to use by the default collection of screensavers for National Geographic, Aerial, Cosmos, and Nature Patterns, which we’ve referred to earlier referred to when discussing hidden wallpapers in Mac OS X (1) (and 2). That folder is located at:

/ Library / Screen Savers /

That particular folder usually only contains the “Defaults Collection” folder, a set of visually pleasing images, and unless a user has changed the folder, it usually does not contain .qtz or screensaver files.

The / Library / folder also contains the default desktop images on a Mac, as well as various other media and components used by all user accounts on a particular Mac.

Note that the system screen saver folders are different from the user level screen saver folder (s).

The default location for users’ screen saver in Mac OS

Each individual user account on a Mac has a unique screensaver folder for that unique user account, in their own ~ / Library folder. The location of that user-level folder is:

~ / Library / Screen Savers /

Screen saver folders for users on Mac

You can also use the long path instead of a tilde ~ for that destination, assuming you know the account username, such as:

/ Users / USERNAME / Library / Screen Savers /

Remember that the tilde ~ is just an abbreviation for current users home directory.

If you plan to manually install a screen saver in Mac OS, for example if you want to use the amazing Apple TV screen savers, you will want to put the screen saver files in the user’s screen saver folder.

And so now you know where the three default screen saver folders are located in macOS and Mac OS X. Unless you know exactly what you’re doing and why, you probably don’t want to delete any of those default screen saver files, because it’s best to keep a system-level folder with leave it alone so you don’t mess up up.

If you liked this, you might like this trick turn a screen saver into your Mac desktop background image, or browse some more Screen Saver articles here.

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The time to complete the The Default Screen Saver Locations on Mac OS tutorial is 10+ minutes.

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mac OS


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