This article was published on January 17, 2020

This genius combined every macOS 10 wallpaper into a psychedelic masterpiece

Let's do some mushrooms and stare it at

This genius combined every macOS 10 wallpaper into a psychedelic masterpiece

I like to think that somewhere inside the bureaucratic labyrinth of Apple’s employee structure, there’s a single person with the world’s greatest job. Each year, they only have to do a single thing: Traverse the world and try to take a sick photo of a landscape for the latest macOS wallpaper.

Does this job exist? Who knows, but I can dream.

Anyway, one of the most fun (I use this term loosely) parts of new macOS releases is discovering what new photo they have as their backgrounds. You know, like the one the company’s currently using on macOS 10.15 Catalina:

macos catalina background
Truly, a gorgeous rocky outcrop that makes me feel all kinds of things, like “wow,” “that’s cute,” and “I’m glad I don’t live there, they don’t even have a supermarket.”

Pretty, right? That (imaginary) single Apple employee who takes these photos sure did a good job.

Thing is, as soon as there’s a new macOS update, we tend to forget about what came before — but no longer! Why? Because Twitter user Jenny (AKA @J3nRa1n) did the thing no one else thought to do and combined every default macOS background from 10.0 to today into one magnificently psychedelic masterpiece.

Check this out:

It’s phenomenal. It’s like a magic eye painting. Or one of those weird drawings an AI created. In other words, it’s art.

A brief history of macOS wallpapers

Since macOS 10.0, Apple’s default computer art can be split into four broad eras. The first is what some people refer to as the “aqua” phase, but I’m going to call it the “swishy-swoshy-blue-shit” time.

That ran from macOS 10.0 Cheetah up to 10.4 Tiger, and had an aesthetic like this:

macOS 10.3 panther
This is the wallpaper from macOS 10.3 Panther. Simpler times.

The next macOS wallpaper era — which ran from 10.5 Leopard to 10.8 Mountain Lion — would probably be described as “cosmic,” but I’ll call “twinkly space stuff.” Those macOS wallpaper designs were like this:

Mmm, I remember the days of macOS 10.7 Lion. Not well, to be honest, but I do.

The next stage in macOS wallpapers was a bizarre one. For some folks this would fall under a “California” umbrella, but I prefer to see this as a short-lived experiment that didn’t pan out, like the George Lazenby James Bond movies.

So, say hello to the wave macOS wallpaper from 10.9 Mavericks:

The reason I see this as a separate era is because it’s not a landscape shot like the rest of the California series and it’s kinda reminiscent of the swishy-swoshy-blue-shit wallpapers in the earlier parts of the macOS 10 versions. Ergo, it’s its own thing.

Finally, we have the macOS wallpapers running from 10.10 Yosemite to 10.15 Catalina, which you might call “landscapes,” but I’m going to refer to as “protrusions.”

macos 10.12 sierra
I wonder how many hours I’ve spent looking at this image?

So, before we sign off, let’s have a final look at the psychedelic combination of all these macOS wallpapers:

God bless you, @J3nRa1n, for your gift to the world.

If you’d like to get a 5K version of this image, you can do so here.

Magnificent. All that’s left to say is I hope that somewhere, the Apple employe with the magical job is staring at this picture and screaming. Is it out of joy or fear? Well, that’s up for you to decide.

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Also tagged with

Back to top