I've had a problem with my Mac Pro since I first bought it. I have a setup with six 1920x1080 screens (3 screens wide, 2 screens high). I've processed some nice (large) photos, so I could set them on these screens and still make it look like one big photo. I've calculated and cut out the bezels from the photos and it looked very nice. The problem though: my Mac can't seem to remember which one goes where. An example:

How my desktop is supposed to look

Looks nice, doesn't it? Yet, I regularly boot my Mac and see this:

How it often looks

The photos that are actually part of my background have been moved to a different screen and then there are two parts from older desktop background that have been reintroduced (bottom left and right).

I've tried removing every single folder from the background selection dialog window, and just adding the one I want (if that helped, I could live with it), but it doesn't seem to help. Every single OSX update (I've just updated tot 10.11.3) gives me a little hope that it's fixed, but it never is.

Do you guys have any idea how I can keep the backgrounds in place, or, stretch a single image between multiple monitors (preferably without third party software).

In case you wonder, the Mac does remember where the displays are relative to each other. I can move my cursor between screens without a problem.

I look forward to your response(s).

Mac Pro, OS X El Capitan (10.11.3)


Try to do these things.

  1. Check that you have this option unchecked. I am sure you have it unchecked, but just in case :) It may be set to 'Change picture: When logging in'. So let's make sure that this is not the reason.

enter image description here

  1. Then you may try to enter following command in terminal:

    rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Desktop.­plist

    After this, set your desktop pictures again, reboot and see if it helped.

  2. This may be strange, but try to uncheck this option:

enter image description here

It's not actually resetting your backgrounds but creating a new desktop space on every boot. Check your spaces by pressing the mission control button (F3 on mac keyboard), it should show a bunch of desktops.

Anyway, let me know the result (via comment). Question is interesting.

  • Thanks a lot for the quick reply. Once I read your message, I thought "automatically rearrange Spaces based on most recent use" must be the cause of my problem. It seemed so logical, but I was disappointed, it didn't solve it. The "change picture" checkbox is unchecked and the desktop.plist file is nowhere to be found. I can see all the other .plists, but this one simply isn't there (I'm certain I am in the right Library folder, I went through the folder in my terminal using ls -a). – Erik Booij Jan 23 '16 at 18:04
  • By the way, my spaces are now automatically arranged as follows: 2 3 4 5 1 6 (top left, top center, top right, bottom left, bottom center, bottom right) After reboot the photos did not only change place, some old photos show up again too. – Erik Booij Jan 23 '16 at 18:07
  • Well, pity that all above said didn't help. Let's search further. If it's not system bug then there must be a solution. – Denis Rasulev Jan 23 '16 at 18:17
  • I've just tried turning off "Displays have separate Spaces" and that -does- seem to work. I've tries a couple of reboots and the background is still in the same place. I'd find it odd if I weren't able to use different spaces per monitor though, while keeping my backgrounds in check. – Erik Booij Jan 23 '16 at 18:19
  • That's exactly what I have suspected :) Strange, isn't it? :) – Denis Rasulev Jan 23 '16 at 19:04

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