The iTunes Artwork screensaver is, IMO, an abomination. I like using a random screensaver but I do not want to see that one, ever.

Apple, in their infinite wisdom, or lack thereof, seems to have decided that screensavers are mission critical and can never be removed, even by root.

Is there a way around this, or has Apple decided for me, again, how I should use my computer?


I really dislike the iTunes artwork screensaver too. Not so much for the artwork layout, but for the audio playback. ...and sure, if I am locking my computer with a screensaver - why would I want to advertise the music I listen to? FWIW, I am using Sierra 10.12.3

You'd think it would be as simple as removing iTunes Artwork.saver from /System/Library/Screen Savers/... but this is easier said than done.

I am not sure why

$  ls -al /System/Library/Screen\ Savers
drwxr-xr-x   3 root  wheel    102 Oct 24 00:17 iTunes Artwork.saver

...cannot be removed from the directory with:

$  sudo mv /System/Library/Screen\ Savers/iTunes\ Artwork.saver/ ~/Desktop/
mv: rename /System/Library/Screen Savers/iTunes Artwork.saver/ to /Users/mixelpix/Desktop/iTunes Artwork.saver/: Operation not permitted

I don't see anything special in the information window:

enter image description here

...and attempting to change the permission by unlocking the file results in an error message:

enter image description here

...and the same holds true for the parent directory Screen Savers. Since the same holds for the parent directory, true I am reticent to try sudo rm -rf as I would not be able to write a safety copy back to the directory. Call me cautious...

Though I can find no reference to the connection, apparently the screen savers are included in the "System Integrity Protection" which has been a part of macOS since "El Capitan".

System Integrity Protection includes protection for these parts of the system:

  • /System
  • /usr
  • /bin
  • /sbin
  • Apps that are pre-installed with OS X

If some brave soul want to try sudo rm -rf /System/Library/Screen\ Savers/iTunes\ Artwork.saver/ please mention your results in the comments.

That said, disabling S.I.P. just to remove the artwork is an option. You could enable S.I.P. after removing the iTunes Artwork.saver file.

From "How to modify System Integrity Protection in El Capitan"

For the following to work, you must have a proper and up to date Recovery partition on your boot drive. While that should be a given, it’s possible to clone a startup volume without Recovery installed.

Follow these steps to disable SIP:

  1. Restart your Mac.
  2. Before OS X starts up, hold down Command-R and keep it held down until you see an Apple icon and a progress bar. Release. This boots you into Recovery.
  3. From the Utilities menu, select Terminal.
  4. At the prompt type exactly the following and then press Return: csrutil disable
  5. Terminal should display a message that SIP was disabled.
  6. From the  menu, select Restart.
  7. You can re-enable SIP by following the above steps, but using csrutil enable instead.

You can also use csrutil status to display whether S.I.P. is enabled or disabled. There is no man csrutil.

Between steps 6 and 7 you should be able to remove the iTunes Artwork.saver file. I'd suggest making a copy in case you ever want to put it back. Also, I have no idea if it will get re-written if you add albums to your iTunes library.


This will not work under el Capitan, unless SIP is disabled. – Brethil Dec 5 '15 at 18:31

This worked, do not zap pram on reboot or it seems SIP becomes enabled again. After deleting the screen saver file turn SIP back on.

To disable SIP reboot, hold Command+R to get into a recovery launch mode then type csrutil disable into the Terminal window from the drop down menu. csrutil enable and csrutil status are also options in the terminal.


remove one from /System/Library/Screen Savers

  • 1
    This will not work under el Capitan, unless SIP is disabled. – Brethil Dec 5 '15 at 18:31
  • @Brethil my answer is 2 years old. there was no sip. – LevB Jul 1 '17 at 5:11

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