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In System/Library/Desktop Pictures there are a lot of desktop wallpapers.

I like to open them in photoshop, add some text and then save them there again.

Is there a way to change the permission of that folder as to allow be to add my own pictures?

I tried the usual - get info -> open the lock, change to read and write.

I get the error "The operation can’t be completed because you don’t have the necessary permission." but I thought I was the admin user!

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  • What version of MacOS?
    – Seamus
    Feb 29 '20 at 23:43
  • @Seamus, You asked "What version of MacOS?" and the path in the OP is shown as System/Library/Desktop Pictures which would mean macOS Catalina. What you propose in your answer as far as "Once you've gotten the Get Info window open in Finder, click the lock, authenticate yourself (as an admin user). After that, you can change the permissions for group wheel to Read & Write." will not work in macOS Catalina due to SIP and the e.g. Macintosh HD is mounted as read only. You'd have to disable SIP and the mount / as read-write and there still may be issues. Mar 1 '20 at 3:13
  • @user3439894: Thanks for that feedback. I was not aware this had changed in Catalina, and I checked my answers on my Mojave 10.14.6 system. I've got a Catalina system, so I'll go through the same drill there & update as required. Maybe that's why bmike placed his edit at the top of my answer :) ?
    – Seamus
    Mar 1 '20 at 4:19
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If you're using MacOS 'Catalina' (or earlier): An alternative that's easier (and safer?) to changing permissions, and may achieve your objective:

Apple lets you choose an arbitrary folder for Desktop Pictures, so copy everything you want to a folder in the /Users/Shared or your /Users home folder and modify them to your pleasing.

Here's how: To add folders you already own to your choices for Desktop graphics, use the "Desktop dialog" as shown below. Simply right-click any desktop & select Change Desktop Background to access this dialog.

enter image description here

For pre-Catalina systems (the following works on my Mojave system), the Desktop Pictures folder is located in /Library/Desktop Pictures. It's also hidden by default, so you must enter open /Library at the CLI to see it. However, once you've found it in Finder, you can change the permissions.

There are several ways to set the permissions you need, but let's use the approach w/ Finder: Once you've gotten the Get Info window open in Finder, click the lock, authenticate yourself (as an admin user). After that, you can change the permissions for group wheel to Read & Write. Once you've selected the Read & Write permissions, you must click the small gear at the bottom of the window, and "Apply" the changes. At this point, you'll be presented with a confirmation dialog similar to this:

enter image description here

Once this has been completed, you should be able to add and delete (or modify) any pictures in /Library/Desktop Pictures.

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  • @bmike: Thanks for the edit, it's good input. I've re-edited to move it to a different place in my answer. Lemme' know if you've any feedback.
    – Seamus
    Mar 1 '20 at 3:02
  • I have Catelina. added a folder as you indicated in the screenshot, the folder goes where you have "ArtWallpapers". The I went to the folder System//Library/Desktop Pictures and tried to change permissions (or delete it now) and I get "The operation can’t be completed because you don’t have the necessary permission."
    – relidon
    Mar 2 '20 at 13:04
  • @relidon: I'm not sure you should change or delete System//Library/Desktop Pictures (actually System/Library/Desktop Pictures, right? ). In other words, in Catalina you will use the folder you added in addition to this default folder. Is that acceptable??
    – Seamus
    Mar 2 '20 at 22:11
  • Ah ok I get it! I was hoping I could delete (or modify the contents of) the default folder. I like those default wallpapers I just like to photoshop a quote on top of them. Since the folder is 2GB big, I thought I could modify/delete from there. So I'm assuming that can't be done? the wheel for the original folder doesn't change.
    – relidon
    Mar 2 '20 at 23:06
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    Neither am I - yet... I'm staying on the sidelines until this gets worked out. There's an oft-cited review of Catalina on Ars Technica that's worth reading. The author implies that the situation wrt Catalina's new security features may get worse before it gets better. That said, at 10.15.3, we may already be into the worst of it. Wrt these "security improvements", I feel a bit like St. Augustine: "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet."
    – Seamus
    Mar 3 '20 at 1:42

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