macOS Sonoma – Return of the Real-Life Wallpapers

Update August 29, 2023: Apple recently added four new video wallpapers to the macOS Sonoma beta! I have created new images and updated the article accordingly.

Ever since OS X Mavericks, the first named after a California landmark, Apple had included a real-life image of the location as the default wallpaper.

Image by Jenny Smith

This changed with macOS Big Sur in 2020, which was the first to use an abstract graphic representation of the location as the image. However, macOS Big Sur still included a real-life wallpaper option.

Unfortunately, with macOS Monterey and then Ventura, this was no longer the case. The graphic wallpapers were the only options.

But, with macOS Sonoma, real-life wallpapers are back! Well, sorta. A big feature of macOS Sonoma is the ability to use the Apple TV’s popular Ariel screensavers as your Mac’s wallpaper and screensaver. With this, Apple included five great video wallpapers filmed in Sonoma. However, because these are videos, there is no defined, recognizable “look” for what macOS Sonoma’s real-life wallpaper would be. So, I took the source videos and exported a few frames from each that I thought made good wallpapers. You can get them below! Just right-click or tap and hold to save the image.

Note: images may take a moment to load. They are full 4K images with 16-bit color depth, so they’re a little big.

Sonoma Horizon (the main one)

Sonoma Evening

Sonoma Clouds

Sonoma from Above

Sonoma River

Note: because the source videos are 4K, these wallpapers are also 4K. However, in testing on my 5K Studio Display, they looked just fine. All images are property of Apple.