I have upgraded to El Capitan, but I was having this problem for a while, where the desktop background doesn’t display. The folders have white letters, and the background is white, and this makes everything difficult to read. The background image doesn't change immediately, I have to log out, and log back in. I can see it has changed, on the login screen, and after I have logged in. But at some point, the screen turns white, and thus the problem.

I have turned off all the start up applications, and the problem remains.

I have looked for view options in Finder, but I cannot figure out why the desktop remains white.

I have tried the normal ways of changing desktop background, but it doesn’t work. Alternatively, I can not see it, because something is blocking it? That is a guess.

Inverting colours in the accessibility menu doesn't help, as inverted colours mean I'm looking at black on black instead of white on white.

I created a new user. The new user doesn’t have this problem, their desktop is visible.

  • Are you perhaps running an app that messes with the Desktop? Two possible examples I can think of are Desktop Curtain and Path Finder. Jan 26, 2016 at 20:11
  • Have you tried booting in safe mode (with the Shift key held down) to see if the problem persists? If it does then its most likely due to a corrupted preferences file- perhaps ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.desktop.plist. Delete that file then restart in normal mode to see if that was the cause and let us know the result, please.
    – KarlC
    Jan 27, 2016 at 4:59
  • The Desktop wallpaper settings are stored in ~/Library/Application Support/Dock/desktoppicture.db since, I believe, Yosemite. You can try deleting that file and restarting your Mac.
    – MorganR
    Jan 28, 2016 at 11:09

1 Answer 1


I deleted ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.desktop.plist which seemed to help momentarily, but the the problem began again. in that time, I noticed an app called "DeskShade" that was running, and said wtf is that? So I did sudo rm -rf DeskShade.app/ I rebooted, and my desktop is back. It's been good for about 30 minutes, hopefully removing this app is the solution.

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