There's a folder called "Desktop" in the home directory. By default, when there are no windows on the screen, the contents of "Desktop" are shown over the background. I'm wondering if there's a way to make another folder show up over the background instead, so that I could (for example) have the contents of "Documents" or something like that appear behind my windows.

Right now I can do it by moving the contents of another folder into the "Desktop" folder and moving them back when I'm done, but I feel like there much be an easier way to do this, especially since copying takes a long time with some larger files.



1 Answer 1


From this SO answer:

Backup your old default Desktop folder

If you have files in your existing Desktop folder, don’t worry. We’re going to back up your existing folder so you can copy your old Desktop files to your new DropBox Desktop folder afterwards.

Simply open a terminal and enter the following command.

sudo mv desktop desktop.bak

Create a symbolic link to your new DropBox Desktop folder

The long and short is that we’re telling OSX to create a link to the Desktop folder in your DropBox, but to treat the link as if it were the default Desktop folder itself. In this way, when you save things to your Mac Desktop, they’ll appear on your Desktop as before, but actually be stored in your new DropBox folder. Here’s how to do it…

ln -s /Users/your-user-name/Dropbox/Desktop/ ./Desktop

This worked perfectly for me.

Credit goes to https://ifyouwillit.com/life/auto-sync-your-mac-desktop-folder-with-dropbox/

Please upvote both question and answer on linked Q&A

  • This won’t work if you use iCloud storage for your Desktop and documents
    – Tim
    Jul 2, 2018 at 19:49
  • @Tim It should be able to be adapted. Something like ~/Library/Mobile\ Documents/XXXXXXXXX\~com\~apple\~Desktop Jul 2, 2018 at 19:53
  • I don’t know how iCloud handles symbolic links, and it could mean the contents of the Documents folder be synced twice.
    – Tim
    Jul 2, 2018 at 19:57
  • @Tim I don't sync mine. Could you test? Jul 2, 2018 at 19:58
  • That's good, thanks. I'm looking to do this regularly, and I noticed that if you do this multiple times, you have to rename the directory that you're symlinking to in order to have the displayed directory update. So, each time I do this I have to go 'rm Desktop; sudo mv folderthatwaslinked newnameforlinkedfolder; ln -s newfolderIwanttolink Desktop'. Is there a way to set it up so that the directory that's being displayed updates quickly, without having to rename it? Jul 2, 2018 at 20:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .