Your Linux distribution probably comes with plenty of wallpapers, but it’s no surprise if you don’t want to stick to the defaults. Still, searching for wallpapers online can sometimes be time consuming and lead you to some sketchy looking corners of the web.
Fortunately, there are more than a few Linux apps dedicated to finding and downloading wallpapers. But that’s exactly where the fun begins. Some will help you switch wallpapers based on the time of day, change wallpapers to match your dark theme, or even create your own.
Unsplash is a great source of potential wallpapers. Instead of browsing the website in a web browser, manually downloading images and sorting them into folders, what if there was an app that could do this job for you?
That app is Fondo. This little program removes any complication in finding a new wallpaper. Just type what you’re looking for or browse by category, click on an image you like and get back to using your computer for other things.
Fondo was designed for elementary OS, but it’s available for just about any distro. The look is neutral enough to not look out of place on many of them.
to download: fondo
2. Background Downloader
Wallpaper Downloader is a tool for power users, and it looks like it. The interface of the app is cluttered and unintuitive, but it has a lot more features than any other wallpaper app on this list.
Wallpaper Downloader allows you to select which website to use as the source for your download, which resolution, which keywords to search for and which keywords to avoid. In addition, you can specify a folder to save downloaded wallpapers.
This app is not just about getting wallpapers. It can also change your wallpaper automatically after a certain period of time. You can choose between wallpapers on your computer or tell it to automatically download a new one.
Wallpaper Downloader can start automatically when you start up your computer and stay minimized, working quietly in the background without causing any distractions.
to download: background picker
3. Background picker
Wallpaper Selector opens to a grid of available wallpapers for you to download and enjoy. To set a wallpaper, click on an image that appeals to you, wait for it to download, then apply it as your wallpaper.
Wallpaper Selector’s wallpapers 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 adjust the options.
The app’s preferences menu only offers three options: General, Anime, and People. Selecting one does not refresh the grid. Instead, your selection changes which images appear as you scroll further down. Overall, the app could use some refinements, but it works, loads quickly, and looks good on GNOME desktops.
to download: background picker
Each release of the GNOME desktop environment comes with a new default wallpaper. These wallpapers can be hard to find online, whether you’re looking for the wallpaper from a new or old version of GNOME. That’s where Nostalgia comes in.
GNOME provides the default wallpapers used in GNOME and goes back to version 3.0. While each wallpaper usually changes only subtly from the previous one, over a decade, you might be surprised at how different newer wallpapers are from the earlier options. And if you’ve been using GNOME all this time, you might even start to get… nostalgic.
to download: Nostalgia
5. Dynamic Wallpaper
Dynamic Wallpaper is a tool that only does one thing. It helps you create wallpapers that change automatically depending on whether you’re using a light or dark theme. Open the app, select which version of the wallpaper you want to use with your light theme, then select the one you want to use with your dark theme, name the wallpaper and you’re done.
If you need inspiration, you can check out some of the dynamic wallpaper websites out there. The app feels at home in newer versions of GNOME and lacks a lot of UI elements.
to download: Dynamic background
6. Dynamic Background Editor
Dynamic Wallpaper Editor has a similar name to Dynamic Wallpaper, but it performs a fundamentally different job. Dynamic Wallpaper Editor creates wallpapers that transition after a predetermined time.
These are not animated wallpapers. Instead, these XML dynamic backgrounds are more like background slideshows. If you have a folder full of wildlife photos that you enjoy cycling through, you can create a backdrop that cycles through it for 24 hours. How many images you use to create your dynamic background and how long each background should be displayed is entirely up to you.
to download: Dynamic background editor
7. Hydra Paper
If you use more than one monitor, you have more than one way to view a background. You may want your wallpaper to extend across all three screens. You may want to set a different one for each. Your distro’s built-in wallpaper selector may not be suitable for this particular use.
In such a situation, check out HydraPaper. In addition to these tasks, you can also sort your wallpapers into folders and let the app pick your wallpaper randomly. If a background doesn’t cover the entire screen, you can blur the background to make it look attractive.
HydraPaper is a GNOME app, but it supports many desktop environments, including MATE, Cinnamon, and Budgie.
to download: HydraPaper
Avvie is a tool that allows you to create your own wallpaper. Okay, it’s really only for the last step, making sure your image is the right size. Let’s say you have a large photo that doesn’t fit the proportions of your monitor. Avvie allows you to both resize the photo and crop it if necessary.
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 makes the process easy and sometimes the barebones tool is best.
to download: Avvie
Like what you see?
Given the amount of time many of us spend in front of a computer, the desktop wallpaper is something we see for hours on end. These apps can help you find the one you like or help you avoid getting tired of the one you have.
If you want to move from downloading wallpapers to creating your own wallpaper, there are several websites that can help you with this.