macOS Photo Screen Savers Still Don’t Properly Display Rotated or Edited Images

Originally published at: macOS Photo Screen Savers Still Don’t Properly Display Rotated or Edited Images - TidBITS

macOS has a long-standing bug that causes screen savers to fail to show edited or rotated images from Photos—only the original versions. Ventura still suffers from this problem, and although Adam Engst shares some workarounds, you’re not going to like them.

Another great sceensaver is Aerial, based on the images used for the default Apple TV screensaver. However, it has options for more videos and, among other things, supports a variety of informative overlays.

I keep a separate folder for screen saver photos. They don’t have to be the same size as the originals: good quality JPEGs big enough for the pixel size of the screen can be just a couple of hundred KB each ( and my originals, scans of 10x8 negatives can be very large, 400MB and up). I keep a dozen and have them change every 15 minutes or so. I guess if you wanted to have several years worth of photos showing in turn it could be awkward to have extra copies.

This problem also applies to using Photos as a feed for your desktop wallpaper.

Thanks for this article, Adam! I’ve wondered about the unrotated photos for years but never took the time to determine why they appeared. I use random photos both as my desktop and screensaver. I won’t use the described work-around, but now I know whom to blame for the annoyance. I’m sure Apple will fix it any day now :lying_face:

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Yes, Aerial is good, if you like the Apple TV screen saver.

Yeah, that’s the problem. Over the years, I’ve found that if you don’t want to notice repetitions of photos, you really need thousands of them in the mix. Maybe I’m unusual, but I don’t want to think, “Just saw that one” repeatedly.

Good to know, thanks! I still use Irvue for that.

When I started the article, I was thinking it was just a silly bug. But after I thought about would be involved with having Photos programmatically apply edits to each image as it came up, I realized it was a trickier problem.

Although the problem has existed for years, it wasn’t always the case, I don’t believe. That’s because in at least the iPhoto days, and perhaps the early days of Photos, the app maintained two copies of each edited photo on disk, one in “originals” and one in “modified.” So it would have to know that a particular photo had been edited, but then it could just go pull the right one from the “modified” folder. Or maybe I’m remembering wrong—it’s certainly possible.

Since I prefer a near-identical environment on my desktop and my laptop, I DO like the external folder for a carefully curated collection of images, many of which are private data not suitable for apps which may publish or share user data. The separate folder firewalls screen saver images from the constantly changing media applications environment Apple supplies. Screen Saver ‘Pictures from a folder’ supports a large array of media types. What I put in my “Pictures for Screen Saver” is what I will see on the screen

I have yet to find an OS X/macOS media application that can be relied on as a Digital Asset Manager over time. Three decades ago we decided on a structured array of Finder folders for our long term media storage with help from Adobe Bridge, especially for Adobe Photoshop projects. One of those folders is “Pictures for Screen Saver”, managed only by Finder and myself.

I would like to see the return of the screensaver called (IIRC) Mosaic.
I can’t remember when it disappeared but it was what I had on all my machines at the time.
Later I purchased a standalone app to create mosaics (I forget its name) but it took ages to generate images compared to the on-the-fly processing of the screensaver. Consequently it got very little use.
I can’t actually remember if it was pre-OSX or post, but visitors were often mesmerised by the images appearing in front of them and how the final constructed image became the first tile in the next mosaic ad infinitum.
Surely with all the processing power in our new macs we should have it back.

It’s not the point of the article but I almost cried seeing the references to good screen savers.

Several times over the past few years I’ve gone to the app store looking for alternatives to the default. All I found was spamware and adware.

We desperately need a non-Apple App Store because Apple sucks at this.

The links at the bottom of the article will take you to sites with lots of other screen savers to download. It’s generally fine that Apple provides the screen saver engine as long as developers can create modules.

I think I will stick with the iTunes screen saver. When Apple had free tunes of the week I down loaded every song, so I have album covers of bands that I don’t even know; every now and then I will see a strange cover in the screen saver, click on it, and be surprised that I rated the song four or five stars. But yes, After Dark was great, but I stopped with screen savers when they became more real. Something about the simplified graphics that just made it better (for me at least). I still have a collection of (pixelated) icons from the mid (to late) 90s. A summer hire went through every shared drive on our system and collected ever icon that could be found. They don’t look great in OS X and probably infringe on all sorts of copyrights, but great on the nostalgic factor. Also loved that (was it OS 7) application that allowed you to assign StarTrek voices (and maybe other voices) to the various system sounds.

You are probably thinking of Sound Source AudioClips which included the SoundMaster utility. I had the Star Wars version:

The Macintosh Garden seems to have the Star Trek version available. I don’t think any of these were licensed – shows just how obscure Mac software was in those days that they could be sold in stores and still fly under the radar!

[If you still have the old files and want to extract the audio out of the old Mac sound files, you can use ResForge.]

My older iMac is running Catalina 10.15.7, and uses edited photos as wallpaper with no problem. I think it was Big Sur that messed it up. I’ve always used my own photos on random as wallpaper, and it is a pain on my main iMac, running Ventura, having to export the relevant album to a file which can then be used as the source for the wallpaper.

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Breathe it quietly, but I think Apple may have fixed this bug. In Ventura 13.4.1, I am finding that photo edits are showing up OK in Wallpaper.

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Alas, I’m still seeing the problem with the screen saver. However, macOS 13.4.1 is now using both of my displays for the screen saver again, rather than limiting it to one screen.