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Troubleshooting Artwork Screensaver Music on Mac

Mac users are able to stream music from their iTunes library with the iTunes Artwork screensaver for macOS. This feature can be set up in the Desktop & Screensaver settings by selecting “iTunes Artwork.” Once it’s active, you will be able to see small album icons from your iTunes library on your screen for easy access to your music.

Though this is a convenient feature, multiple macOS users have experienced issues with it. Many have had trouble playing their music through the iTunes Artwork Screensaver. The most common problems people are experiencing are:


  • Screensaver displays an all-black screen
  • Clicking an album cover icon does not play music
  • An error message appears, reading, “The application quit unexpectedly.”


Many have said the problems appeared after updating their Mac software version.

If you’ve found yourself experiencing these issues with the iTunes Artwork Screensaver, read on for steps to resolve them. Be sure to check if the problem is fixed after each step so you’ll know which strategy worked for you.


  1. Safe Mode Restart

You can assess the problem by restarting your Mac while in safe mode. Doing this will help you isolate what the issue is. Check to see if the issue persists while in safe mode. If it doesn’t, restart your Mac like normal.


  1. Enter Terminal Command

Launch the Terminal app on your Mac. Go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal. Type or copy & paste this command:


/System/Library/CoreServices/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &


Now click Enter. This will launch your screensaver.


  1. Change Screensaver Settings

You can also try changing the screensaver settings on your Mac.

  • Go to System Preferences.
  • Click on Desktop & Screensaver.
  • Click the Screensaver Tab at the top of your screen.
  • Apply the “Ken Burns” screensaver.
  • Restart your Mac.
  • Go back into System Preferences > Desktop & Screensaver > Screensaver Tab to change your screen saver back to iTunes Artwork.


  1. Delete Preference Files

If you keep getting an error message, you can try deleting the plist files, or preference files.

  • Go to Finder at the top left of your screen.
  • Select Go, and on the drop-down menu select Go to Folder.
  • Enter the following: ~/Library/Preferences/
  • Click Go. This will open your preferences folder.
  • Locate the file “com.apple.screensaver.plist”
  • Delete the file OR move it to your desktop to keep as a backup. If you don’t fix the problem using this step, you can put the file back.
  • Restart your Mac.


  1. Repair Permissions

If you still encounter an error message, you can try repairing your Mac’s permissions.

  • Find Disk Utility by going to Applications > Utilities.
  • In the sidebar, select your disk (e.g., Macintosh HD)
  • Click the First Aid button.
  • Follow the directions provided on your screen.


Still having problems.

If you’ve tried all these steps and none work, reach out to Apple Support. You can live chat with a representative here. If you want to get help from a representative in person, schedule an appointment at the Genius Bar. They will be able to further assist you.



In conclusion, the iTunes Artwork Screensaver is a useful feature. However, problems can arise, and they may seem too difficult to fix yourself. Follow these steps to try and resolve them yourself.


If you are unable to fix it, don’t hesitate to contact Apple Support directly. A representative will help you assess the problem. If you need hardware repairs, the Genius Bar can accommodate you and evaluate any problems you have with your Mac.


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