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How to use your Own Videos as Screensavers on Mac OS Catalina ?

The Major update that Catalina was really disrupted the ecosystem of custom screensavers within the Mac OS ecosystem. Major software like SaveHollywood just stopped working after the release and requires a lot of tinkering after installation in order to work as intended.

Thankfully, some great minds have created their own solutions to the issue, effectively giving me the ability to show you how you can display your favorite movie or custom videos as your screensaver on Mac OS Catalina.

Download Aerial

Aerial is a custom screensaver for Mac that brings you the Apple TV screensavers of Aerial movies that Apple shot over multiple cities around the world.

In order to install the required software, head over to the releases link here and download the latest release available.

At the time of writing, the release we are looking to install is 1.6.4 and you can download it by clicking on the link that you can find like shown on this screenshot:

Now that you have the zip file, you can open it with the unzipping software provided with mac OS or with your own file archive. We personally really like Keka, that provides a more secure solution over the native one provided with Mac OS.

Once the file extracted, you should find a .saver file called Aerial.saver . Simply double-click on it and follow the instructions in order to add it to your collection of screensavers.

Now that you have it, it is time for us to configure Aerial so it can display the video(s) of your choice.

Configure Aerial

In order to access the Configuration dashboard of Aerial, we need to head over to the “Desktop and Screen Saver” window of our “System Preferences” application.

After that, head over the “Screen Saver” tab of your window

Now, find the Aerial screensaver. For me, it was located at the bottom of the list.

Once you found it, select it and click on “Screen Saver Options…” located underneath the Preview window of your screensaver.

Now, some things needs to be configured in order to have the best experience.

In the Videos tab (The first one that opens after having clicked on “Screen Saver Options…” you will find a cog at the bottom left. Press it once and click on “Uncheck all”. This will save you the hassle of turning off manually all of the videos that come pre installed with Aerial.

Once these videos have been unchecked, click on the cog again and then on “Custom Videos…”.

You will find yourself within a big window. Find the “+ Add Folder” at the top left corner of this newly opened window and click on it.

This will open a dialog box asking you to enter a pathname. You can also drag a folder in this window if you do not feel like playing around with pathnames.

Using your Finder, find where you stored the video(s) you want to use as a screensaver and either drag and drop the folder in the list of folders of your Screen Saver Options window or Copy the Pathname of the directory where your video is located.

If you can not see the “Copy the Pathname” option, you may want to head over to this section of our article about various tips and tricks that will definitely improve your productivity while using Mac OS.

Now you can just paste your pathname in the required textbox that you opened a few seconds ago within the Screen Saver Options of Aerial.

Once that is done, you should be able to find the name of your folders and the compatible videos it found in the list of videos of the Aerial screensaver. Aerial only supports .mov and .mp4 so make sure your videos are in the right format or they won’t show up there.

Now that you found your video, check the tickbox on the left of the name of your video. This will tell Aerial to include this video in the list of screensavers to display once your computer will enter this mode. So if you only want to display one video, just check the video you want to display.

If your video is a 4K clip, you need to specify it on the right side of the list of videos as shown here. Otherwise your screensaver will only display your video in Full HD.

Before I let you wander around in the profusion of settings Aerial offers, there is one last thing we need to do to ensure no conflicts with Mac OS Catalina will arise in the future.

Navigate to the “Updates” tab of your Screen Saver Options and untick every box. Also, set the “Check for new videos” to “Never”. Your tab should look like the one in this screenshot:

And that’s pretty much it, now your screensaver is going to be the list of custom videos you will have checked in the folder you gave to Aerial. Feel free to look at the settings of this software as it offers a few elements of personalization that you might find interesting.

If you have any questions about the process or found a bug, feel free to report them in the comments section down below and we will try ot have someone helping you out as swiftly as possible.

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5 Responses

  1. Hi Guys

    I have Ariel working on my screensaver but it only plays my MP4 once and then stops, since the cycle of my MP4 is roughly 15 seconds in duration I would like it to loop continuously, is this possible?

    I am running the latest OS on Catalina.

    Be well and stay safe guys.

    Justin – London

  2. I believe I followed all of the steps correctly, however, my screensaver is now just a black screen, and when I go into the Ariel settings, I have to delete and re-upload the video to even see it in the application. I’ve tried using both a .mp4 file and a .mov file, do you have any idea what I could be doing wrong?

  3. Hello. I had great hopes for the “Aerial” software, since I installed MacOS Catalina many months ago and lost the use of the “SaveHollywood” screensaver. (It was great to be able to play my own videos as screensavers with SaveHollywood). Don’t get me wrong, I installed Aerial 1.6.4 and it’s great to have the beautiful Apple TV videos play as screensavers. That works flawlessly and those videos look awesome. But in terms being able to play my own videos, which was really the point of installing “Aerial,” I’ve had no luck. I have followed the instructions very carefully. I’ve tried “.mov” files and other types of popular video files, but they just won’t play via “Aerial.” I’m bummed out. I’ll keep trying again, but I would just be repeating the steps over and over again. Feeling disappointed.

  4. It doesn’t work with custom video.
    There is no way to talk it to show my mp4 vide for love nor money.

  5. Is there a way to do something similar with jpeg etc and other photo files? Easy with Desktop, impossible, it seems, with Screen Savers (in SysPref).

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