Auto-changing iPhoto 6 desktop pictures

Reader Paul Touranjoe mourns the loss of an iPhoto feature he enjoyed in iLife ‘05. He writes:

I like to use the pictures I’ve taken as my Desktop picture. I recently upgraded to iLife ’06 and I can’t get my Desktop pictures to change automatically in the system preferences panel. This wasn’t a problem before I upgraded, as I just went to the Desktop & Screen Saver system preference and enabled the Change Picture Every XX Minutes option. Now, the change picture option is dimmed and I can’t get the pictures to change automatically. What am I missing?

As originally explained by Rob Griffiths in his November Mac OS X Hints column, you can do this by selecting the images you want to display in an album and pressing iPhoto’s Desktop button. When you do, the Desktop & Screen Saver system preference opens with an iPhoto Selection folder highlighted and the Change Picture option enabled and ready to serve.

If you’re saying “What Desktop button? I can’t see it anywhere!” you’ve discovered a quirk in iPhoto 6. For some people (me, for example), this button is missing after they install iPhoto 6, for others (Rob Griffiths, for example) it’s there. If you don’t see it, choose View > Show in Toolbar > Desktop and all will be right.

You say you’d like to add more than one folder full of pictures to that list in OS X 10.4? By default you can’t, but you can hack your way to happiness.

Go to /Library/Desktop Pictures and move the folders of pictures you want to appear in the Desktop & Screen Saver list into this Desktop Pictures folder. Provide the folders with distinct names such as My Desktop Pictures, More Desktop Pictures , and Cool Desktop Pictures.

Follow this path: /System/Library/PreferencePanes, hold down the Option key and drag the DesktopScreenEffectsPref.prefPane file to the Desktop to make a copy. This is so you have a backup copy that you can use to replace the hacked copy should something go wrong.

Control-click on the original DesktopScreenEffectsPref.prefPane file and choose Show Package Contents from the contextual menu. Navigate to Contents/Resources/ and Control-click on DesktopPictures.prefPane. Once again, choose Show Package Contents.

Navigate to Contents/Resources and locate the Collections.plist file. Copy this file to the Desktop, open it with TextEdit and copy this text:

	<dict>
	<key>identifier</key>
	<string>solidColors</string>
	<key>path</key>
	<string>/Library/Desktop Pictures/Solid Colors</string>
	<key>showScalingPopUp</key>
	<string>NO</string>
	</dict>
	
Paste this text just below the end of the text you copied (just after </dict>)

Edit it this way:

	<dict>
	<key>identifier</key>
	<string>My Desktop Pictures</string>
	<key>path</key>
	<string>/Library/Desktop Pictures/My Desktop Pictures</string>
	<key>showScalingPopUp</key>
	<string>NO</string>
	</dict>
	
where “My Desktop Pictures” is the exact name of one of your folders. Repeat this copy, paste, and editing process for each folder you’ve added to the Desktop Pictures folder. Save the copy and drag it into the open Resources file from which it originally came. You’ll be told that you need to authenticate overwriting the original file. Do so by entering your Administrator password when prompted. Launch System Preferences, choose Desktop & Screen Saver, and do a little jig when you find that the folders you added now appear in the window’s list.

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