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New in OS X Mountain Lion: Screen Saver System Preference Pane

6 July 2012 13,967 views 10 Comments

For screen saver fans, there is good and not so good in Mountain Lion. Apple has reworked to the Screen Saver System Preference Pane UI and layout, which is a good thing as it reduces interface clutter and unites elements and their functions. What’s else is new in OS X 10.8 vis-a-vis screensavers? Step inside.

As you can see in the above screen cap, Apple has changed the appearance of the slideshow and screensaver selection area. Gone are the +/- buttons — right-click or two-finger tap to delete module. The Test button has been removed and that function has been moved to the preview window itself — you only need click in that window, not the Preview button specifically, to test a screensaver or slideshow.

Previously, individually listed modules present only generic icons and those have been replaced by larger, more informative thumbnails.

One of the things that remain is the vastly improved iTunes Artwork module, which not only displays album but album covers pop up when moused over and a play button appears. Click it and the first song of the album plays [sic] in iTunes — this module first appeared in Lion.

Gone, baby, gone

Missing in action is the “Main screen only” checkbox for presented to users with two or more displays. Another notable change is the fact that the “Use random screen saver” check box has been replaced by a Random screensaver module — same functionality, different location.

A large number of older screensaver modules, like those included in the XScreenSaver collection, aren’t compatible with Mountain Lion. However, a number of excellent screensavers are compatible, like LotsaWater and Electric Sheep, and I think they perform better in OS X 10.8.

Disappointingly, Apple hasn’t include new screensaver modules along with the new, improved preference pane.

In the slideshows section (image), Apple has increased the number of modules from 10 to 14 and the new modules are much more robust and customizable. For example, Origami, Floating, Scrapbook, etc. all display photos/images in animated fashion and there’s a choice of source folders, including user selected.

Further, slideshow modules offer new images, photos and static backgrounds — all good.

Whereas Steve Jobs once featured the RSS news feed module in a keynote address, it is gone in OS X Mountain Lion.


I am very much liking the new more functional layout of the Screen Savers System Preferences Pane — things have moved, but realizing that it won’t take you a moment to find where they’ve gone. And, although I could be simply enjoying the “new OS glow,” I really think screensaver modules play more smoothly than under either Snow Leopard or Lion.

Ready to upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion?

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