I cannot change the login screen background in elementary OS. Is there any way to change it?

  • Not completely sure, but isn't the login screen background the same as your wallpaper?
    – iSasFTW
    Aug 1 '15 at 12:49

11 Answers 11


You can change it by editing the file

sudo -i scratch-text-editor /etc/lightdm/pantheon-greeter.conf 

There you will find the line


Add a line to the file something like this:


Logout and you can see the change.

  • you have to get root rights to edit this file. sudo scratch-text-editor /etc/lightdm/pantheon-greeter.conf you can also use vim, nano or what ever commandline editor you like.
    – davidak
    Jul 1 '15 at 9:29
  • @davidak you should use sudo -i on a GUI program. askubuntu.com/q/632798/186134
    – user3
    Jul 1 '15 at 11:14
  • 2
    Down voting this answer as this is a workaround/hack and isn't the cleanest way to fix this issue. Jul 19 '15 at 22:11
  • Yeah, this is not the recommended way guys. This is going to change the system wide default, rather than adding a per using setting as the software tries to do. You could potentially override this per user for the logon screen.
    – Lewis Goddard
    Aug 1 '15 at 18:24

Just copy your wallpaper to /usr/share/backgrounds (you're going to need root privileges to do so) and then select your wallpaper from System Settings -Desktop - Wallpaper.

That should also change the login background.

In fact there is a bug where the login picture cannot be changed:




In this case the new images copied into the usr/share/backgroounds may not even be seen from Settings.

To fix this:

  • Open Files as administrator

  • Select the image file in /usr/share/backgrounds and open its Properties

  • Change permissions to 644

enter image description here

  • Use System Settings -Desktop - Wallpaper as normal
  • I thought the login screen background was supposed to change when you cycle through the different users on your system, but for some reason that wasn't working for me until I copied the users' backgrounds into /usr/share/backgrounds as prescribed here. So this is my favorite solution, because it fixes that problem. May 16 '19 at 18:02

Copy your wallpaper in /usr/share/backgrounds

then :

cd /usr/share/backgrounds

Just remove the symlink and add another one.

sudo rm elementaryos-default
sudo ln -s yourWallpaper.jpg elementaryos-default
  • that just gave me a black login screen
    – user170
    Jul 12 '15 at 17:33
  • you should warn people that your answer affects a lot of the system settings. Among other things sudo rm elementaryos-default changes a lot of settings that may be used by other custom settings (in my case it changed xinput list): I had a desktop file set to disable my touchpad; after that, the same desktop file has started disabling my keyboard instead. Little things like that :p
    – user170
    Jul 12 '15 at 18:11

You can also install Wallpaper-Slideshow which will automatically change both your desktop and login background after a user-defined period of time.


I have another way ,worked with me without change anything by Permission or File.
1. You open Applicatons -> System Settings -> Desktop -> Click what wallpaper if u want.

=> That will change Backgrounds wallpaper and Login wallpaper

2. You chose what picture do you want to be backgrounds wall paper -> Right click -> Set background.

=> So your desktop will change and your login doesn't.

Explain :

  1. will change elementary-default file by System.
  2. Only background change

Note :

You should use 2560*1600 to be your login
And i don't thing rm elementary-default or editted by yourself is good idea
Move your picture to folder /usr/share/backgrounds/ so you can see it in your Desktop option


I reinstalled the system after a while and a new hard drive. Didn't have the problem at all so it must have been solved in updates. It's always better to update than to muck about with things


None of the above solutions work at the moment. Following method works fine (tested in elementary OS 6 ODIN and OS 5).

Full guide: https://www.debugpoint.com/2021/07/change-lock-login-screen-background-elementary-os/

enter image description here

Open a terminal in your elementary OS. Install git and following dependencies for greeter package.

sudo apt install git

sudo apt install -y gnome-settings-daemon libaccountsservice-dev libgdk-pixbuf2.0-dev libgranite-dev libgtk-3-dev libhandy-1-dev liblightdm-gobject-1-dev libmutter-6-dev libwingpanel-dev libx11-dev meson valac

Go to temporary /tmp directory and clone the latest greeter master branch from GitHub.

cd /tmp
git clone https://github.com/elementary/greeter.git

After cloning is complete, open the path /tmp/greeter/data in a file manager.

Rename your desired wallpaper image with texture.png and overwrite the following file in the path /tmp/greeter/data/texture.png

Open the file /tmp/greeter/compositor/SystemBackground.vala in a text editor and replace the following line -




Save the file.

Open the terminal again and build greeter using the following commands.

cd /tmp/greeter
meson _build --prefix=/usr
sudo ninja install -C _build

All done. Test using -

lightdm --test-mode --debug

If you use the system settings to change the background, the new background is stored in


You can copy the new background by hand or let do the job by incron. Incron is a filebased cron. If you have installed and edit /etc/incron.allow, you can use incrontab for the copy job.


incrontab -e

and insert

/home/USER/.cache/wallpaper/ IN_CLOSE_WRITE cp /home/USER/.cache/wallpaper/$# /usr/share/backgrounds/elementaryos-default

And every time you change the background of your desktop, the logon background will also changed.


Yes you can change it !! Instructions in the following link: Change Lock Screen wallpaper in elementary OS. It's basically copy your wallpaper into /usr/share/backgrounds/ , rename it to elementaryos-default and change properties to read (644).


I had this problem and am only a self taught linux user but this is how I solved it and the bug of the greeter. I deleted the elementaryos-default.jpg file and replaced it with one I liked and changed the image name back to elementaryos-default.png (the one I liked is png file) This gave me a white screen on user accounts,except the main admin one

Thinking as it's a new install of my OS and I HAVE A GOOD BACKUP, it doesn't really matter a lot if I mess up I did this.

I renamed all the files with "wallpaper" in the name - one at a time

I changed recursively all the files and the backgrounds folder to 777

Then I did this:

sudo su
ls -l

total 27872

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia   60293 Oct 15  2015 1877-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia  106528 Feb 10 20:18 1a-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia   76441 Mar 28 22:55 1b-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia   53674 Jan  3 19:09 1c-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia   33025 May 14  2014 1d-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia  105513 Oct 16  2014 1e-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia   52607 Sep 23  2015 1f-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia 1426136 Feb 23 21:19 1g-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia 1388122 Feb 23 21:24 1h-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia 3245250 Feb 23 21:25 1i-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia  144468 Dec 26 17:36 1j-wallpaper.png

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia  514417 Oct 14  2014 1k-wallpaper.png

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       596305 Jan 21 01:01 1l-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia   39549 Oct  6  2015 1m-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia  626079 Mar 20 18:43 1n-wallpaper.png

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       369125 Jan 21 01:01 1o-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root      1216788 Jan 21 01:01 1p-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       902549 Jan 21 01:01 1q-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       248439 Jan 21 01:01 1r-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       284736 Jan 21 01:01 1s-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root      1116445 Jan 21 01:01 1t-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia 2958367 Nov  5  2015 1u-wallpaper.png

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia  214524 Nov  5  2015 1v-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       518625 Jan 21 01:01 1-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia 2634642 Nov  5  2015 1w-wallpaper.png

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia  483944 Oct 12  2015 1x-wallpaper.png

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root      1161255 Jan 21 01:01 1y-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia  134226 Dec 12  2014 1z-wallpaper.png

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia  906804 Nov  7 08:43 2a-wallpaper.png

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia   29273 Apr 12 22:07 2b-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia   60631 Mar 27 11:31 2c-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root      1497930 Jan 21 01:01 2d-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       768501 Jan 21 01:01 2e-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       576166 Jan 21 01:01 2f-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       200307 Jan 21 01:01 2g-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia  168051 Apr  4  2015 2h-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       467776 Jan 21 01:01 2i-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       397147 Jan 21 01:01 2-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia   54136 Oct 17  2015 3-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia   66901 Jul 30  2015 4-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia   80100 Mar 30  2015 5-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       703958 Jan 21 01:01 6-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       498830 Jan 21 01:01 7-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       633430 Jan 21 01:01 8-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 root      root       480634 Jan 21 01:01 9-wallpaper.jpg

-rw-r--r-- 1 saparonia saparonia  141363 Oct 18  2014 elementaryos-default.png

root@Florence:/usr/share/backgrounds# cd /usr/share/

root@Florence:/usr/share# chown -R saparonia:saparonia /usr/share/backgrounds/

root@Florence:/usr/share# chmod -R 755 /usr/share/backgrounds/

root@Florence:/usr/share# cd /usr/share/backgrounds/

root@Florence:/usr/share/backgrounds# chmod 644 elementaryos-default.png


The greeter now shows each login image when I scroll through users It works but I get a scrambled image for about a second when logging in on any user account


This is a bit of a hack however in Loki (0.4.1) You can right-click on the login background image and set it as desktop, then through the command line enter the command:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri file:///path/to/file

This will set the user's background image. Allowing you to have different images.

It's a bit hacky but it is the simplest way (2ish steps)


gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri file:///home/wwjdtd/pictures/801.png

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