OS X Lion: Change Mission Control Desktop Graphic

Mission Control in OS X Lion combines Spaces, Exposé, and Dashboard from Snow leopard. It takes some getting used to, especially with respect to creating and changing the background graphic, Wallpaper if you will, of each Desktop (Space). Here’s how.

1. This how-to assumes you have some favorite desktop pictures, sized for your display on hand. Or you can just use the Desktop pictures that come with Lion.

2. Launch Mission Control. There are several ways to do that.

  • Three finger swipe upwards. (MacBook or Magic Trackpad required and three finger swipe enabled in Trackpad Preferences.)
  • The dedicated Mission Control key at the top of your keyboard. Or one assigned via Mission Control Preferences.
  • Launch from Dock.
  • Launch via Spotlight search.
  • A two finger double tap on a Magic Mouse.

3. Move the cursor to the upper right side of your display. A “+” sign will slide out. Click the “+” sign.

Mission Control

Mission Control  

4. A new Desktop will be created with the default graphic, that is, the one you used for Desktop #1 or else the factory setting of Lion.

4a. Alternatively, just select a current Desktop to change. Use CTRL + right or left arrow.

5. With your new Desktop in place, go to System Preferences -> Desktop & Screen Saver -> Desktop tab. Select a desktop graphic. It will be immediately applied to that desktop alone, leaving all the others unchanged.

Desktop Pref

There are other things to know about Mission Control manipulation, and we’ll cover them in future tips. For example, changing the background of the Dashboard is just a little trickier.