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mac os x login backgroundWe have previously described the numerous 10 Tips For Taming OS X Lion 10 Tips For Taming OS X Lion The user interface changes of Apple's new operating system, Lion, are obvious to experienced Mac users. But some of the changes might have you scratching your head. If you're a veteran Mac user, you probably... Read More ways Reconfigure Your Mac Keyboard for More Geek Power [Mac] Reconfigure Your Mac Keyboard for More Geek Power [Mac] If you're the type of Mac user who likes to customize every feature or program on your computer, you might want to check out the system preferences application, KeyRemap4MacBook. It essentially enables you to re-map... Read More to customize and personalize the visible and hidden features of Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Lion. While the newest version of Apple’s operating system is well worth the upgrade, the log-in background image in Lion is far from attractive.

When I first saw the solid dull gray background on my MacBook Air, I thought for sure that Apple would provide a default way to change it. But sadly, they don’t. However, thanks to a nifty little utility called Loginox, you can easily change the background image and even the Apple logo of your login screen.

Let me show you how easy it is to do it, plus I’ll also show you how Apple now provides a way to add contact information to your login screen, as well.

Using Loginox

After you download and install Loginox, you simply select and drop in your favorite wallpaper (see this article 10 Sexy Wallpapers Your Significant Other Will Approve Of 10 Sexy Wallpapers Your Significant Other Will Approve Of Read More for some recommendations) into the “New Login image” window.
mac os x backgrounds
As pointed out on the Loginox website, the image size of the log-in screen will be automatically adjusted. “If the image ratio does not fit, the image will be cropped to a suitable size.” Also, you will need to use an image that does not obscure the buttons at the bottom of the log-in screen.
mac os x login background image
Now simply click the “Set new Login image” button, and then log out of your account, or switch to the Login Window. Presto, your new wallpaper background should appear.

If you do not like the results, you simply go back to Loginox and click the “Reset to default image” button to start over.

Changing Login Logo

The existing log-in logo may not be a good fit with your new wallpaper image. So again you can use Loginox to make the change for you. But you say you don’t have a different login logo? No problem, just do a Google image search for “Apple login logo”. When you find one you like, select and drag the image to your desktop.


Your new log-in logo will probably not have a transparent background, so let’s open it up in Preview and knock out the white background.
mac os x background image
If you are using Preview in Lion, select the Instead Alpha tool in the toolbar, and drag your cursor from one corner of white space to the edge of the image, and release. If you’re using Snow Leopard, the Alpha tool is in the drop-down menu of the the Select button.
mac login background image
Now select Edit>Cut to remove the white background. Save your edited image.

(Note: Lion’s Preview may require you to duplicate the image and save it in a required format.)
login background pictures mac os x
Now drop your new logo into Loginox and let it make the changes for you.

Adding Contact Information

One little feature that Apple finally put into Mac OS X is the ability to add contact information to your log-in screen of your Mac – at least in the latest Lion version. In past versions, this couldn’t be done with without a special third-party app or performing some Terminal tricks.

To add contact information in Lion, open System Preferences and select Security & Privacy.
mac os x backgrounds
Click on the lock at the bottom left, and then enable “Show a message when the screen is locked.” Now simply type your contact information. This info will appear on the log-in screen, and maybe a good Samaritan will contact you if your laptop is lost.

The developer of Loginox has three other nifty tools  (not free), for resizing images and renaming and sorting files and folders. If you like Loginox, please consider giving the developer a donation for his creative work.

Your feedback is of course, always desired.

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  1. stylist
    December 2, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Great tip, thanks!

  2. Scott Harrington
    September 5, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    The problem for me is that I never log out of my Mac, I only lock it. Is it possible to change the lock screen background?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 6, 2011 at 1:37 am

      Scott, not that know of. Funny thing is, since I wrote this article, I've noticed perhaps a bug in which Loginox makes my desktop screen show up on my lock screen sometimes, but not all the time. Maybe try writing the developer and see if that feature request can be added. My MBA gets logged automatically because my kids get their hands on my laptop all the time, and I don't want them saving stuff in my account or the computer itself. I should put "Keep Hands Off" wallpaper on there instead.