Set the background image for the session and for the lock screen.


Thomas Wood, Bastien Nocera, Design team.


  • Set the session or lock screen background using
  • Default set of images, including dynamic time aware (changes depending on the time of day) images
  • Photo from personal library
  • A flat color
  • Do so efficiently without too many clicks
  • Easily preview new wallpapers
  • Easily revert back to the previous wallpaper

Non Goals

  • Set a default background for all users on a multiuser system
  • Background slideshows (as in defining individual images to be part of a slideshow)
  • Set a different background per display
  • Combine an RGBA image with color or gradient background.
  • Set image for lock screen separately (?)

Relevant Art

ios 11 wallpaper chooser mac os wallpaper chooser windows 10 wallpaper chooser elementary OS Loki wallpaper chooser


  • Dynamic / Web service wallpapers relying on data connection should only pull data when on wired and wi-fi, not cellular. Indicate with a message notification when trying to pull.
  • While settings are instant-apply, windows and this setting panel itself obscure the view to get a full visual feedback on how things will look in the end >> big monitor preview (There is a slight disconnect in the case of multiple displays).

  • There is no obvious way of choosing another folder for the wallpapers. Eg, a wallpaper subdirectory under Pictures.

Proposed Redesign


  • Background for both desktop and lock screen can be changed with a single click
  • Previewing wallpapers is much easier (hover a thumbnail and click preview)
  • Undo setting a background via in-app notification


  • It's not obvious that this applies to both desktop and lock screen
  • Desktop and lock screen wallpapers cannot be changed separately



See Also

Design/SystemSettings/Background (last edited 2017-09-25 21:52:10 by TobiasBernard)