Turn satellite imagery into amazing wallpapers for your Mac

Downlink Macbook Pro
Downlink Macbook Pro (Image credit: Downlink)

What you need to know

  • Everyone likes to have a great wallpaper to look at when using their Mac.
  • Downlink can turn satellite imagery into amazing wallpapers.
  • It won't cost you a penny.

Sometimes finding the right wallpaper for your Mac's desktop can be a real bind, but sometimes they come right to you. That's the case if you're using the wonderful Downlink app, available for free right now from the Mac App Store.

This app was completely new to me when I spied it on Stephen Hacket's Twitch stream recently. Once I saw it, I had to have it. Then I had to share it with you folks as well.

The app goes off and creates satellite imagery from NASA and NOAA and downloads them to your Mac. The app then automatically updates the wallpaper based on the latest data, so it's always changing. It does so every 20 minutes, and you can choose where you want to see and at what level of zoom. It's all mightily impressive.

Every 20 minutes (or every hour, you pick), Downlink updates your desktop background with the freshest images of Earth.Choose from different views of Earth, from close ups of the tropics, to the continental US, to the absolutely stunning full disk images from 3 different geostationary satellites.And you can even create your own views—zoom in close on where you live, pick your favorite hemisphere, or pick somewhere else beautiful!

The developer of Downlink also says they'll be adding new sources when they're available so you'll always be getting the best images on offer. You don't need to be a big space person to enjoy these wallpapers, either. Give them a try – they're free, after all!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.