My favorite macOS Sequoia feature so far might be the old-timey Mac wallpaper


The classic Mac OS wallpaper in macOS 15 Sequoia mimics the monochrome user interfaces used in System 1 through 6.
Enlarge / The classic Mac OS wallpaper in macOS 15 Sequoia mimics the monochrome user interfaces used in System 1 through 6.


I’m still in the very early stages of poking at macOS 15 Sequoia ahead of our customary review later this fall, and there are quite a few things that aren’t working in this first developer beta. Some of those, like the AI features, aren’t working on purpose; I am sure some of the iCloud sync issues I’m having are broken by accident.

I’ve already encountered a few functional upgrades I like, like iCloud support inside of virtual machines, automated window snapping (at long last), and a redesigned AirDrop interface in the Finder. But so far the change that I like the most is actually a new combo wallpaper and screen saver that’s done in the style of Apple’s Mac operating system circa the original monochrome Mac from 1984. It’s probably the best retro Mac Easter egg since Clarus the Dogcow showed up in a print preview menu a couple of years ago.

The Macintosh wallpaper and screen saver—it uses the animated/dynamic wallpaper feature that Apple introduced in Sonoma last year—cycles through enlarged, pixelated versions of classic Mac apps, icons, and menus, a faithful replica of the first version of the Mac interface. Though they’re always monochrome, the default settings will cycle through multiple background colors that match the ones that Apple uses for accent colors.

If you’re too young to be familiar (or if you were using MS-DOS in the mid-’80s instead of a Mac), this Mac theme hearkens back to the days before Mac OS (then Mac OS X, then OS X, then macOS) was called Mac OS. The first seven versions of the software were simply called System or System Software, all the way up through 1991’s System 7. The Mac OS name didn’t appear until the System 7.5.1 update in 1995, and the name was formally changed in the 7.6 update in 1997 (OS updates were obviously released at a more leisurely pace back then).

If you want to poke at a live, interactive version of the monochrome System Software, developer Mihai Parparita’s Infinite Mac project hosts classic System, Mac OS, and NeXTStep versions that will all run in a browser window using ports of various emulators.

My only complaint is that now I want more of these screen savers. As a millennial, my exposure to Systems 1 through 6 was fairly minimal, but I’d definitely take a color version of the screen saver modeled on Mac OS 9, or an early Mac OS X version with shiny candy-colored Aqua-themed buttons and scroll bars.

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