You may have seen web pages with video backgrounds but did you know that it is also possible to use videos and animated GIF images as backgrounds for your Mac desktop. OS X natively supports only static wallpaper images but there’s a little Mac utility called GIFPaper that adds support for animated live backgrounds to your desktop.

Animated GIF as Mac Desktop Background

Animated GIFs as Mac Background

It takes a few easy steps to inject some life in your Mac background.

Step 1. Download a GIF image. You can use Giphy for readymade GIFs, or create your own cinemagraphs with Photoshop or, if you are trying to use a video, convert to GIF using FFMpeg.

Step 2. Download the GIFPaper app from Dropbox (link found via Reddit) and extract the content to a local folder.

Step 3. Double-click the GIFPaperPrefs.prefPane file inside the extracted folder to install the preferences pane. Go to your Mac’s System Preferences and double-click GIFPaperPref to launch the actual app.

GIF Desktop for Mac

Step 4. Browse the computer, locate the GIF, set the Scaling to “Axes Independently” and the GIF will be set as the background of your Mac desktop. If you have a multiple virtual desktops, only the current screen will be changed.

You can place add GIFPaperAgent to your Mac login items to preserve your wallpaper preferences. Also, it might not be a good idea to use animated on older Macs since it does consume system resources.