How to Set an Animated GIF as Your Desktop Wallpaper Background

Key Takeaways

  • Setting an animated GIF as your desktop wallpaper can add fun and personality to your computer
  • The process varies slightly between Windows, macOS, and Linux, but all operating systems support animated wallpapers
  • Third-party apps and websites offer additional features like looping and customization options

As someone who loves adding personal touches to their tech setup, I’m excited to share my expertise on setting animated GIFs as desktop wallpapers. This fun trick can breathe new life into your computer and showcase your favorite characters, scenes, or mesmerizing loops.

What is an Animated GIF?

Before we dive into the steps, let’s quickly go over what an animated GIF is. A GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is an image format that supports animations and short looping videos. Animated GIFs have made a huge comeback in recent years, dominating social media and messaging apps with their ability to express emotions and reactions in a compact, shareable way.

Setting an Animated Wallpaper on Windows

Windows 10 and 11

  1. Download the animated GIF you want to use as your wallpaper.
  2. Right-click on the desktop and select Personalize.
  3. Click on Background settings on the left panel.
  4. Select Slideshow from the background dropdown.
  5. Click Add a folder and navigate to the folder containing your GIF.
  6. Check the “Shuffle” option if you want to randomize the order.
  7. Set the time between wallpaper changes to something low, like 10 seconds.
  8. Click OK to save your settings.

Your animated GIF should now be cycling through as your desktop wallpaper!

Windows 7 and 8

For older Windows versions, you’ll need a third-party tool like:

  • Desktop Animated Wallpaper (free)
  • Bionix Wallpaper Animator (paid)

These apps make it easy to set and customize animated wallpapers.

Setting an Animated Wallpaper on macOS

macOS has built-in support for animated desktop wallpapers:

  1. Download the GIF you want to use.
  2. Open the System Preferences app and click on Desktop & Screen Saver.
  3. Select the Desktop tab and click the + button to add your GIF.
  4. Set the delay time to determine how often the wallpaper changes.
  5. Check Rotate randomly if you want to shuffle multiple wallpapers.

You can also use third-party apps like IINA or GIFWRAPPED for more customization options.

Setting an Animated Wallpaper on Linux

Most modern Linux desktop environments support animated wallpapers natively:


  1. Right-click on the desktop and select Change Background.
  2. Click the + button and select your GIF file.
  3. Adjust the delay time under Cycle if needed.

KDE Plasma

  1. Right-click on the desktop and select Configure Desktop.
  2. Click the + button and select your GIF.
  3. Customize options like scaling and positioning.

Tips and Customization Options

  • Optimize your GIF for better performance by reducing dimensions, frames, and colors.
  • Use looping websites or apps to create seamless, infinitely looping GIFs.
  • Dim or blur the background GIF to prevent it from being too distracting.
  • Combine multiple GIFs into a slideshow for added variety.
  • Set hotkeys or create desktop shortcuts to quickly change wallpapers.

Setting an animated GIF as your wallpaper is a fun way to personalize your desktop experience. With a little creativity and the right tools, you can bring your favorite characters, scenes, or visuals to life on your computer.