There are many places where the "linen" texture is used in Lion, from the Login Window to various app backgrounds like Safari and so on.

Is it possible to replace this image with something else? Let's say I have a nice hessian weave pattern from a lovely house I lived in that hasn't been decorated since 1979, or some sand, or a patchwork quilt depicting the transperambulation of pseudo cosmic anti matter?

Whatever I wish to change it to, a) can I change it, and b) will it change it for all instances where the linen appears, or does each application have it's own resources which would need ammending one by one with differing methods, and c) is there a particular size/fileformat/other feature that any replacement image must have, for example must it be a 200x200 PNG that tesselates etc.

  • Also apple.stackexchange.com/q/33514/5472 has some color on this issue. – bmike Mar 21 '12 at 15:20
  • Do you use Reading List? I have a way to change the linen when you scroll past the page, but I can't yet find a way to change the linen behind the reading list. – Kyle Cronin Mar 31 '12 at 22:26
  • Yes I do, not heavily, but occasionally. – stuffe Apr 1 '12 at 11:49
  • @stuffe OK, looks like gentmatt covered that so I'll post what I found. Since we both have half the answer, how will you award the bounty? – Kyle Cronin Apr 1 '12 at 14:55
  • Bounty goes to Kyle because the answer took a lot of research by the look of it. Will reward GentMatt by bunting one of his outstanding answers elsewhere – stuffe Apr 1 '12 at 18:24

The linen backdrop file is /System/Library/Frameworks/AppKit.framework/Versions/C/Resources/NSTexturedFullScreenBackgroundColor.png

You can edit that file, or replace it with a file of the same name, but be certain that the replacement file has a resolution of 72 pixels per inch or you probably won't like the result.

ᔥ John Martellaro: OS X Lion: Change Login Screen’s Dirty Linen

Certain applications and situations draw their background from different sources. for example, the background file for Mission Control can be found at /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources/defaultdesktop.png

If you replace that file, you'll need to do a killall Dock command in the terminal before the change will take effect.

ᔥ OS X Daily: Change the Mission Control Background Wallpaper Image in Mac OS X Lion


You can change the linen of the login background, but I've not seen this change affect other places (e.g. reading list in safari).

There is a tool, which combines various GUI tweaking options in an app. It's called...

Lion Designer

  • customize backgrounds for Login Screen, Mission Control, Dashboard, Launchpad
  • customize folder backgrounds in Launchpad
  • get the colorful finder sidebar (like in previous version of OSX), requires SIMBL
  • reset settings

enter image description here

  • FYI, the link to "Lion Designer" no longer works. Appears to be going to a domain-squatter landing page now. – baldengineer May 31 '15 at 14:42

Removing linen in Safari

Safari uses two different sources of linen, one for scrolling past the edge of the page or resizing the page in full-screen mode, and one for use behind the Reading List. To replace the Reading List linen, gentmatt has identified the file you need to replace. Replacing the linen you see when you scroll past the edge of the page, however, is slightly trickier.

enter image description here

Here's how to change it:

  1. You will need administrator access to make these changes. Login with an administrator account.

  2. Download SArtFileTool and unzip. Note: I did not create this tool, and it is a compiled executable, so use at your own risk

  3. Open the Terminal, and cd to the folder you unzipped.

  4. Run sudo cp /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreUI.framework/Resources/SArtFile.bin .. This copies your existing SArtFile.bin so we can work with it.

  5. Run ./SArtFileTool -d SArtFile.bin sartfiles.

  6. This creates a directory in the folder with system artwork called "sartfiles". Open it.

  7. Inside, find 226.png and 226@2x.png. These are the linen textures Safari uses.

  8. Make whatever changes you wish, so long as the files remain the same dimensions. When you're done, save over or replace the existing 226.png and 226@2x.png files.

  9. Run ./SArtFileTool -e sartfiles SArtFile.bin SArtFile.new.bin. This creates your new SArtFile as SArtFile.new.bin.

  10. Run sudo cp SArtFile.new.bin /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreUI.framework/Resources/SArtFile.bin and enter your password.

  11. Shut down and restart your computer. When you log back in and Safari relaunches, it will use the new art file.

Here's an example of it in action. For simplicity, I just adjusted the color on mine, but it does demonstrate that it works:

enter image description here


This is an answer which is for the bounty only.

Linen Background Safari's reading list

The background of the reading list in Safari is located at...


The replacement file needs to be of the same name, size and DPI.

enter image description here

  • Bounty Hunter Badge awarded. ;) – jaberg Apr 1 '12 at 13:55
  • @jaberg Haha! Yeah, we need that badge. – gentmatt Apr 1 '12 at 13:56
  • What about the linen when you scroll off the end of the page? – Kyle Cronin Apr 1 '12 at 14:25
  • @KyleCronin I don't know. It's definitely a different one because it's darker. – gentmatt Apr 1 '12 at 14:30
  • @gentmatt OK, just wanted to see if you had figured that out too. I posted my solution to it. – Kyle Cronin Apr 1 '12 at 14:57

It seems that upon further searching that the Linen texture in Safari is actually not the same as that used elsewhere, which is why it isn't affected by changing the image as mentioned in the accepted answer.

I found this webpage useful in identifying why it was that it wouldn't change when the others would:

Safari on Lion has a different linen pattern than Mission Control or the system’s login screen. It’s lighter and more subtle, and it can be appreciated when navigating between webpages with the new gestures.

enter image description here

So it seems that for Safari and Reading List the image is probably a part of the Safari Application Bundle, which I will now start to investigate more thoroughly.

  • 1
    I found /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources/ecsb_background_tile.png and ecsb_background_gradient.png (in the same folder) but these aren’t what Safari uses either. I checked the Safari Application bundle and it’s not in there as a PNG file. – Mathias Bynens Mar 31 '12 at 20:54

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