Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have an iMac with a large format display set up as a secondary monitor that we use as a television for watching movies. When I am just using the iMac, I would like for the secondary display to display something interesting rather than just the wallpaper.

Is it possible to set up a screensaver that appears on the second monitor (I really like the iPhoto slideshow) while allowing me to use the primary iMac monitor?

I would even be happy if it wasn't technically a screen saver, but just any sort of slideshow that could be displayed on one monitor while I work on the other. Currently if I play a slideshow in iPhoto, the other monitor goes blank. :(

share|improve this question

You can set your screensaver to be your desktop background (link to source).

To do so, run this in the Terminal:

/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ -background

This works on both monitors (tested just now in Lion), so as long as you don't put any windows on the other monitor, it'll just show the screensaver. (Unfortunately, the screensaver will also be behind all of your windows on the screen you're using. I hope you really like your screensaver.)

share|improve this answer

The easiest solution is the widget Wallify. It is free, with a "Pro" version available, but the free version basically does the same thing that CajunLuke suggested, but without having to use the Terminal.

You can select most of your screen savers directly from the menu on the widget, but specific photo slide-show style screensavers don't appear as an option. To use these kinds of screensavers, you can choose them using the System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver, then on Wallify just select "Default", and it will use whatever you chose in System Preferences.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for posting an answer, Cory! Can you please add a link to Wallify? Thank you! – daviesgeek Apr 25 '12 at 21:02

Maybe another solution is to use software that manages multiple monitors like UltraMon, Multimon, DisplayFusion.

share|improve this answer
Welcome to Ask Different, user20114! Thanks for posting an answer! Can you please add more information and links to the products you mentioned? Please also explain why your solution solves the OP's question. Thank you! – daviesgeek Apr 25 '12 at 21:01

You may want to try RandomExtra.screensaver This screensaver allows you to select a specific screensaver for multiple monitors. Following the very simple install notes, you can have this screensaver installed in seconds. Once installed open your System Preferences and go into your "Desktop & Screen Saver" pane. Find the newly installed "RandomExtra" Screen Saver and click on options. Once inside the Screen Saver options choose the "Extra" tab and you will find some options for what you may be wanting to do.

share|improve this answer

I think I found a simpler solution. Go to Desktop and Screen saver in Settings and at the bottom of the window for the second screen pick a folder and checkmark "Change picture". For us the "every 5 seconds" works wonderfully with a great cross-fade. This is in 10.7. Hope this helps. Nick

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.