It used to be the case in macOS Mojave that if one changed the Mojave.heic file in /Library/Desktop Pictures/ then it would boot into that new picture. This is documented in this thread.

10.14.2 broke this solution, forces the desert background, and does not react to changing said HEIC file.

Does anybody know how to change it in Mojave 10.14.2?

  • it wont accept yours that worked previously ?
    – Ruskes
    Dec 29, 2018 at 4:26
  • No, it won't. I changed it in 10.14.1 and my login screen was a custom image named Mojave.heic. Now, the modified file remains in place, but somehow the system is not using that file anymore as the boot background image. Dec 29, 2018 at 11:30
  • Is this issue due to version problems? My version is 10.14.4 I followed the explanation, but the system still forces the desert background. Jan 26, 2019 at 2:04
  • Try renaming the file.
    – njboot
    Jan 26, 2019 at 4:47
  • I did. Mojave.heic is not the original file, but a custom image I created. I renamed the old Mojave.heic to Mojave.heic.originalso that I could keep both files. In 10.14.1 this meant my Mac would boot into my custom image as described here, but since 10.14.2 it boots into the Desert image I don't like, making the previously referenced workaround void. Jan 26, 2019 at 7:30

2 Answers 2


You can also refer this post from SilverWolf: How do I change the login screen background in macOS Mojave?

Take a look at the /Library/Caches directory.

enter image description here

You will find the file "com.apple.desktop.admin.png." I have edited my picture so the thumbnail is different. You can do the following:

  1. Back up this file as com.apple.desktop.admin.png.bak.
  2. Copy/Paste or Drag/Drop your own png as the same original name com.apple.desktop.admin.png
  3. Also ensure that the permissions are identical to the original file.
  4. (I believe) a restart is needed. Try it logging out first and checking.

The "Mohave.heic" file is located in the /Library/Desktop Pictures directory. Changing that file will edit the default background for each user but not edit the login background image.

  • 1
    This solution works for versions before Mojave, but in Mojave it looks like you have to replace the background image - which actually does still work.
    – SilverWolf
    May 15, 2019 at 17:11

This does actually still work, in 10.14.4 at least.

Are you using FileVault?

If you are, you'll need to make some change that updates the boot mini-system. (At the FileVault login screen, your system isn't actually booted up all the way - it can't, because your boot disk is encrypted! It's running its own mini-system off another volume.)

If this is your problem, you'll see the default image at boot, but your custom background at subsequent login screens (i.e. if you go to the login window again after logging in).

The easiest way to update the background on the mini-system is by changing your user icon image.

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