The iLife series, #5: iTunes Screensavers

Have you ever wished that you could display all your album artwork in a screensaver? With iTunes and the Mac’s inbuilt “iTunes Screensaver”, you can now have that screensaver ready in less than a dozen clicks.

Here’s what to do.

iTunes Screensaver setup

First of all, make sure that your iTunes library includes all the artwork from your albums. If, for some reason, you do not have the artwork, you can download it from the Internet. Then, cmd-click on the file and select “Get Info”. This works best if you are in Grid view, as albums are shown together and you can assign artwork for the entire album at once. You may get a prompt asking if you want to edit information for multiple files at once – click “yes”, and a “Do not prompt me again” if you wish.

Get info iTunes

You will see an “Artwork” box. Double-click on it, and it automatically takes you to your “pictures” folder in the Finder. From there, you can browse till you find the album art to install.


Once your album art is in place, you can create your iTunes screensaver. Do not worry about albums that have no artwork attached – the screensaver simply ignores them, so you will have no unsightly blank patches when you finally play it.

From “System Preferences”, go to “Desktop and Screen Saver” under “Personal”. Alternatively, you can also go to the “Desktop and Screen saver” link directly by doing a Spotlight search for the word “Screen Saver”.
On the left-hand column of the “Screen Saver” tab, you will find several folders of preset screen savers. Under the “Apple” folder, there is a screen saver called “iTunes Artwork”. This is the one you want to use.

iTunes screen saver

In order to make some finer adjustments to your iTunes album art screen saver, click the “options” button. You will see a small window pop up, which has 2 sliders. You can choose the number of rows and columns to put in your screen saver – between 1 and 8. The amount of time for which each image is displayed can also be adjusted – possible values lie between 0 and 5 seconds.

iTunes Screensaver options

To display your screen saver, make sure that the “start screen saver” time is greater than the time that is allowed to lapse before your Mac goes to sleep. You’ll notice the yellow triangle of warning in my screenshot, and that’s because I have my “display off” time set to a value less than the “start” time on the screen saver.

To change screen savers, all you have to do is to visit the “Desktop and Screen Saver” menu and select a new screen saver from the list given. Of course, you can also download screen savers for the Mac from the Internet – some of these also have third-party applications that display your iTunes artwork, so you may give them a try too. In fact, the iTunes Screensaver is also available as a third-party download for Windows computers too – it looks exactly the same as the Mac bundled version.