Home : Software Terms : Wallpaper Definition


A wallpaper, or desktop background, is a background image that covers the desktop of a computer or other device. Most operating systems provide a default wallpaper and allow you to choose your own.

Wallpapers can be any type of image, but most users prefer a clean background that is not too "busy." The simpler the wallpaper image is, the easier it is to view icons and windows on the desktop. Some people prefer realistic backgrounds, while others opt for computer-generated images.

Recent versions of macOS have used digital photos that correspond with the names of each OS version as the default wallpaper. Examples include Yosemite National Park, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and Catalina Island. Conversely, the default wallpapers for Windows 8 and Windows 10 are computer-generated images.

Besides choosing a wallpaper style, it helps to choose an image that matches the resolution of your display. For example, if you select an HD (1920x1080) pi for a 4K display, it will appear blurry. Additionally, if the aspect ratio does not match your display, part of the image may get cut off when applied as a wallpaper on your device.

NOTE: A wallpaper is different than a screen saver, which is an animation that appears when a device is idle.

Updated: September 10, 2020

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