I had a nice background, a photo from the internet. It had been there for quite awhile. Then I tried to set it to a different one, another picture from the internet, by right-clicking and doing "Set as desktop background...", but it instead set my background to blue. And now I can't change it.

I also tried downloading this photo (and a number of others, all jpegs) but when I tried to open them to set as background directly from the downloaded file, it just said it couldn't, because the file was damaged or had an unrecognized format. JPEG?? Now the Mac can't open JPEGS?

This is the photo I was using.


  • The photo was probably saved to a temporary location when you set it as the background originally. But when you changed it to a new file, it lost its reference address and essentially 'forgot' what the previous image was. As for why you can't load a new file, I'm not sure. – OghmaOsiris Aug 23 '12 at 17:35

Go into System Preferences->Desktop & Screen Saver. Change the desktop to one of the defaults. Then drag the image file into the window. That should fix it.

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  • 1
    This is exactly how I change my background. – OghmaOsiris Aug 23 '12 at 23:39

Yes I had this as well. Best thing to do is go to system preferences and then change it to one of the photos that apple provide, and then go back to the photo you want to use and try again. I tried resetting my laptop, using other photos but it just wasn't working. Then I tried this and it worked first time.

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I found out that my Macbook had changed it to the soil blue background and I went to the system preferences and went into the desktop and screensaver option and changed it to a background to like Yosemite and then changed it back to my background i had before it went blue and it worked

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all you have to do is go into system preferences - than desktop and screensaver - than click solid colors - and than import a photo. this is because if you have recently chosen solid colors as your background, or have had one of the pre made backgrounds for apple, it will automatically default to that instead of one of your custom photos.

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  • why are you shouting??? – Tetsujin Apr 20 '18 at 16:35

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