I use one of OS X's built-in photo screensavers and point it to my Dropbox folder so that photos I add to Dropbox automatically appear. However, I've noticed that photos I've deleted from Dropbox continue appearing in the screensaver, long after they've been deleted.

I suspect that when I first set up the screensaver, OS X cached a copy of the photos in my Dropbox folder, so they remain even after I've deleted the source photos.

If so, is there any way to clear this cache to keep the deleted photos from appearing? I've tried toggling between different screensavers, but they still show up. And I thought maybe the cache would clear itself after a few hours or a day, but it's now been nearly a week and the deleted photos are still appearing.

  • Where's the built-in photo screensaver feature? I wanna give it a try before I answer.
    – Vic Jang
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 20:33
  • System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Screen Saver tab. Any of the photo ones at the top (I'm using Vintage Prints specifically).
    – daGUY
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 20:47
  • I don't seem to be able to reproduce that problem you have... I was going to suggest that you look for the supposedly deleted photos in .Trash and also try using sudo find / -name 'file_name' in Terminal. You can give it a try but I am not sure if it would work, since I don't currently have the problem.
    – Vic Jang
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 20:53
  • Here's what I tried. 1. Install Dropbox on Mac. 2. Create a folder under /Users/[username]/Dropbox/ with some photos and select Vintage Prints Screen Saver and choose that folder. 3. Activate Screen Saver to verify that all photos are being displayed. 4. Exit screen saver and remove a few photos from www.dropbox.com 5. Verify that those photos are also gone in the folder in my Mac 6. Activate screen saver again. Those photos are not seen. Did I miss any steps which you might have done?
    – Vic Jang
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


I can't reproduce your problem in Mavericks or Mountain Lion; if I add an image to the watched directory and start the screensaver, the new image appears; if I delete the image and restart the screensaver it disappears. So a logout/login cycle and/or restarting the Mac seems called for.

But if those fail, I saw a similar issue some years ago that resulted from a corrupted screensaver preferences file, and you could try solving it the same way: Try flushing the screensaver preferences by deleting the plist file.

To do that, in the Terminal, run the following (quit System Preferences first):

rm -i "$(ls -t ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/com.apple.screensaver.[0-9A-F]*.plist | head -1)"

The -i is for safety; it should ask if you want to remove a single file, like this:

remove /Users/trey/Library/Preferences/ByHost/com.apple.screensaver.65BC01F5-7A67-5B3E-9193-9464C78533AD.plist?

Confirm by pressing y and return. If it asks to remove a file that doesn't look like that, or tries to remove more than one file, press Control-C to abort.

Now re-open System Preferences, select the screensaver again and point it at the Dropbox directory again. The screensaver should now update normally.

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