Desktop wallpapers on your Chromebook that change depending on your theme

The ability to choose either a dark or light theme on your Chromebook has been around for a few months now. Changing the theme on your Chromebook allows you to customise your computer just the way you want. It can also help save battery life, so it isn’t all about aesthetics.

There is now a great new feature, which I think looks so cool and it really makes a difference to your dark or light theme modes on ChromeOS.

Choosing your theme changes things like the login screen, App launcher menu, shelf, settings menu, and your file manager. Depending on whether you choose either a light or dark theme all of these will be impacted. There is now something else that you can bring into the equation and that’s your Chromebook desktop wallpaper image.

ChromeOS desktop wallpapers that change with your theme setting

I think this is really cool as it makes a huge change in how your Chromebook looks. You wouldn’t expect an image to change the way it looks depending on whether you’ve chosen a dark or light theme. This is because an image is usually a static picture made up of many pixels.

However, the ChromeOS team has been working with some clever people who have managed to create images that take your theme settings into consideration. The picture will look totally different depending on the theme you choose.

The best way to understand this is if I show you an example of an image that looks totally different depending on your Chromebook theme.

Chromebook desktop wallpaper depending on your theme

Below you can see an image of my Chromebook desktop wallpaper. The current setting is the light theme, and you can see the image is an image that appears to be taken during the day.

Chromebook desktop wallpaper image with light theme setting
An image on my Chromebook with the light theme setting

Below is exactly the same image, and the only difference is that I’ve changed my theme setting from the light theme to the dark theme.

A desktop wallpaper on my Chromebook using the dark theme
Same image on my Chromebook using the dark theme

I’m sure you’ll agree it’s really impressive that the image changes depending on the theme you are currently on. This is just one of the images available, but there are plenty more you can choose from. When you change your theme from dark to light and you see the change in the image it’s a lot more dramatic than seeing a static image as you can see above. It really is a cool feature for your Chromebook.

How do you get this?

If you’d like to try this out for yourself you’ll be happy to know that it’s really easy. It’s exactly the same process of changing the desktop wallpaper as you would normally do. The only difference is you need to ensure you choose an image from the right categories.

To change your Chromebook desktop wallpaper right click on your desktop and choose ‘set wallpaper & style‘. From there select wallpaper until you see a list of categories that you can choose from. It should look similar to the image below.

Choosing a desktop wallpaper on a Chromebook
Desktop wallpaper categories in ChromeOS

The categories that provide this functionality are easy to recognise because you’ll notice on the left-hand side it’s in a light theme and on the right-hand side of the image it’s in a dark theme. At the moment there are just two categories, and you can see these above labelled ‘Radiance’ and ‘Element’. You then just choose one of the images inside one of these categories and that’s it. Find out more about how to customise your Chromebook.


I really do like this new feature because it makes a dramatic difference in your theme. There are a few different images available, and some are more striking than others. Therefore, I’d have a play around selecting a few different images and seeing what they look like in both light and dark modes. I’m sure you’ll manage to find a few that you like.

You can also use the rotate function, so you get different images from that specific category on a daily basis.

I’m loving the fact that we can now customise our Chromebooks more than ever before. This was definitely something that was lacking a few years ago. It’s clear Google and the ChromeOS team were aware of this because we’ve had so many different customisation options available to us in the last year or two.