Your Linux distro probably comes with plenty of wallpapers, but it’s no surprise that you don’t want to stick to the defaults. Still, searching for wallpapers online can sometimes be time-consuming and lead you to sketchy-looking nooks of the web.
Luckily, there are more than a few dedicated Linux apps for finding and downloading wallpapers. But that’s just where the fun begins. Some will help you switch wallpapers based on the time of day, change wallpapers to suit your dark theme, or even create your own.
Unsplash is a great source of potential wallpapers. Rather than browsing the website in a web browser, uploading images manually, and sorting them into folders, what if there was an app that could handle that job for you?
This app is Fondo. This little program removes any complication from the task of finding a new wallpaper. Simply type in what you’re looking for or browse by category, click on an image that tickles your imagination, and start using your computer for other things again.
Fondo is designed for elementary operating systems, but it’s available for just about any distro. Her look is neutral enough that it doesn’t look out of place on a lot of them.
To download: background
2. Wallpaper Downloader
Wallpaper Downloader is a tool for power users, and it looks like it. The app’s interface is cluttered and unintuitive, but it has way more features than any other wallpaper app on this list.
With Wallpaper Downloader, you can select which website to use as the source for your download, resolution, keywords to search for, and keywords to avoid. Additionally, you can specify a folder in which to save downloaded wallpapers.
This application is not only about acquiring wallpapers. It can also automatically change your wallpaper after a certain amount of time. You can choose between wallpapers on your computer or have it download a new one automatically.
Wallpaper Downloader can start automatically when you start your computer and stay minimized, working quietly in the background without causing distractions.
To download: Wallpaper selector
3. Wallpaper Picker
Wallpaper Selector opens to a grid of available wallpapers for you to download and enjoy. To set a wallpaper, click on an image you like, wait for it to download, and then apply it as a background.
The wallpapers in Wallpaper Selector come from Wallhaven, one of many great wallpaper download sites. If you don’t like any of the images that appear, there’s not much you can do to change the options.
The app’s preferences menu only has three options: General, Anime, and People. Selecting one does not cause the grid to refresh. Instead, your selection changes the images that appear when you scroll down. Overall, the app could use a few improvements, but it works, loads quickly, and looks great on GNOME desktops.
To download: Wallpaper selector
Each version of the GNOME desktop environment comes with a new default wallpaper. These wallpapers can be hard to find online, whether you are looking for the background of a new or old version of GNOME. This is where nostalgia comes in.
GNOME provides the default wallpapers used in GNOME since version 3.0. Although each wallpaper usually changes only subtly from the one that came before it, over a decade, you might be surprised at how different the new wallpapers are from previous options. And if you’ve been using GNOME all this time, you might even start to feel… nostalgic.
To download: Nostalgia
5. Dynamic wallpaper
Dynamic Wallpaper is a tool that does one thing and one thing only. It helps you create wallpapers that automatically change depending on whether you’re using a light or dark theme. Open the app, select the version of the wallpaper to use with your light theme, then select the one to use with your dark theme, give the wallpaper a name, and you’re done.
If you need some inspiration, you can check out some of the dynamic wallpaper websites. The app feels right at home on newer versions of GNOME and lacks a lot of UI elements.
To download: Dynamic wallpaper
6. Dynamic Wallpaper Editor
Dynamic Wallpaper Editor shares a similar name to Dynamic Wallpaper, but it performs a fundamentally different task. Dynamic Wallpaper Editor creates wallpapers that transition after a predetermined amount of time.
These are not live wallpapers. On the contrary, these XML dynamic wallpapers are more like background slideshows. If you have a folder full of nature photos that you like to browse, you can create a wallpaper that each browses for more than 24 hours. The number of images you use to create your live wallpaper and how long each wallpaper is displayed is entirely up to you.
To download: Dynamic wallpaper editor
Using more than one monitor means having more than one way to display a wallpaper. Maybe you want your wallpaper to span all three screens. Maybe you want to set a different one for each. Your distro’s built-in wallpaper picker may not respond well to this particular use case.
In such a situation, consult HydraPaper. In addition to these tasks, you can also sort your wallpapers into folders and have the app choose your background randomly. If a wallpaper doesn’t cover the entire screen, you can blur the background to keep it looking attractive.
HydraPaper is a GNOME application, but it supports many desktop environments, including MATE, Cinnamon, and Budgie.
To download: HydraPaper
Avvie is a tool that can help you create your own wallpaper. Ok, this is really only for the last step, making sure your image is the right size. Suppose you have a large photo that doesn’t fit the aspect ratio of your monitor. With Avvie, you can both trim the photo and crop it if needed.
Avvie is not limited to wallpapers. You can also use it to create avatars. And yes, you can use any photo editor to do the same job. Avvie simplifies the process, and sometimes the simplest tool is the best.
To download: Avvie
Like what you see?
Given how much time many of us spend sitting in front of a computer, desktop wallpaper is something we see for hours on end. These apps can help you find the one you love or help you avoid getting tired of the ones you have.
If you want to go from downloading wallpapers to creating your own, there are several websites that can help you with this task.