How To: Get Apple's RSS Visualizer Back as a Screensaver in Mac OS X 10.8 & Higher

Get Apple's RSS Visualizer Back as a Screensaver in Mac OS X 10.8 & Higher

Back in the day when computers relied on CRT monitors, having a static image displayed for too long actually resulted in the image being burned into the screen. For this reason, screensavers were developed, which display animated images in constant motion to prevent burning in when you stepped away from your computer.

Advancements in technology, like LCD displays, have eliminated the need for screensavers in the traditional sense. The main reason we use them now is either entertainment or security, though many of us don't use them at all anymore. But you should, because they can do way more than just that.

Today, I'll be showing you how to appreciate your screensaver again by adding an RSS feed to it, allowing you to get updates on your favorite news with just a glance of your idle screen. This was once a built-in system preference in Mac OS X Lion and below, but has since been abandoned, so let's get it back for Mountain Lion, Mavericks, and Yosemite.

Step 1: Download the RSS Visualizer Screensaver

On your Mac, download the RSS, courtesy of BillyBobBongo (via Cult of Mac). After downloading, locate the file (it should be in the Downloads folder), right-click on it, and copy it.

Step 2: Go to the Screen Savers Directory

Next, on your desktop, press CMD + Shift + G. This is going to let you easily jump to the folder you want.

In the window that just popped up, ~/Library/ should be auto-filled in. Then just add Screen Savers/ to get ~/Library/Screen Savers/ and hit Go.

Step 3: Paste in the Visualizer

Right-click and paste the file in this location to enable the RSS visualizer option in your System Preferences.

Step 4: Find an RSS Feed URL

Now that your screensaver is ready, go ahead and grab an RSS feed URL from your favorite news source. This can be done by either locating the RSS symbol somewhere on the page, or, in some instances, by typing /rss or /rss.xml at the end of the main domain's URL address. For some examples:

Example: WonderHowTo's RSS feed.

Step 5: Open Up Your Screen Saver Options

With your the URL copied and ready-to-go, head into your computer's System Preferences and select Desktop & Screen Saver.

Under the "Screen Saver" tab, scroll all the way down, select RSS Visualizer, then click Screen Saver Options.

Step 6: Insert Your RSS Feed URL

Input your RSS feed in the Feed URL box. You do have the option directly underneath to adjust article display duration, and after setting it, you can view a preview to see how awesome it looks.

Step 7: Enjoy News on Your Screen

The screen will initially give you the date and source of the feed, followed by floating articles passing by for whatever duration you set.

Screensavers may not serve their original purpose anymore, but with an RSS feed, you can add some entertainment and value you to them. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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It's amazing how much Apple have missed off the MacBook Pro since I bought the first one in 2006: no audio in!!! no number lock, no Kensington security slot!! , no DVD(/Blu-ray ha, ha) drive, no battery indicator lights, no widgets button, and NO RSS feeds as screensavers!

I relied on my BBC RSS feed to keep me up to date when my Mac went to sleep.
Thank you so much for restoring this function.
Easy to install and 'works straight out the box'.
Brilliant. Thank you

I have OS X Yosemite and this works on my Mac. The instructions given were easy to follow and the install was easy, too. Thank you for posting this!

No, thank you! Positive comments are always welcomed. It may not be something you used daily, but when it does pop up, you really appreciate it.

I followed the instructions to the letter, and I cannot even see the RSS Visualizer in the list of screensavers in the system pref. I'm not going to rule out that I'm doing something wrong, but I've tried 3 times...each time checking to be sure that the file was in the appropriate folder. I even restarted my Mac each time. Running Yosemite 10.10.2 on a MacBook Pro 17 inch (early 2011).

I'm running 10.10.2 also, and it works in the user Screen Saver folder as instructed. Maybe try putting it in the system-wide Screen Saver folder instead, i.e., Macintosh HD -> Library -> Screen Savers (just get rid of the ~ symbol in the instructions above using the Command Shift G shortcut). If you have the Sys Preferences open, make sure to close them, then reopen them to see it in the list.

This got broken in Mojave.

I have created an alternative screensaver here. It's 100% free, I only hope someone other than me will find it useful.

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