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How to Tile Desktop Background Wallpaper in Mac OS X Lion

Mac OS X Lion changed the way desktop background pictures are handled. In short, if the image is fit to or larger than your Macs screen resolution, it won’t tile. Likewise, the default OS X Lion wallpapers don’t have the option to tile or change how they are orientated on your display.


The easiest solution to this is simple: you have to use a background image that will tile, meaning it is smaller than your screens resolution.


For the purpose of this walkthrough, we’ll use the linen wallpaper tile from OS X Lion and iOS 5:

  • Have the wallpaper tile somewhere easy to find, like the OS X Lion desktop
  • Open “System Preferences” from the  Apple menu
  • Click on “Desktop & Screen Saver”
  • Drag the wallpaper image you want to tile into the picture window
  • When the pull-down menu becomes visible, select “Tile” from the list

If you don’t select “Tile” manually, the default will usually be “Stretch” which looks terrible for most images that are meant to be tiled.


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