Top 10 Apple Screensavers of All Time

Ray Aguilera's picture

Top 10 Apple Screensavers of All Time

Truth be told, the necessity of the screensaver is behind us. Since CRT monitors have gone the way of the 12-inch Powerbook, most people don't need to worry about screen burn. Yet we still love screensavers.

 

Why? Some of them do useful things. Others are pure eye-candy. Your friends couldn't care less about seeing TPS reports on your new Cinema Display, but fire up one of these cool screensavers and watch as everyone becomes mesmerized.

 

10. SETI@Home

 

SETI@Home falls into the "useful" category‚ sort of. It fills your screen with colorful graphs, but it's what's behind the scenes that's truly fascinating. SETI is a "distributed computing" project that connects your computer to a network of machines analyzing data. In this case, your machine's idle cycles are used to search for aliens. I want to believe.

 

9. Fenêtres Volantes

 

En Francais, it means "flying windows," and on your Mac it means, well, the same thing. As your machine goes idle, your existing windows pick up and go buzzing around the screen. It may not sound like much, but this screensaver is definitely something to see. When you're ready to get back to work, everything glides gracefully back to where it belongs.

 

8. Fluid

 

Fluid hasn't been ported to Intel yet, but for the folks still rocking Power PC-based machines, it's a highly-customizable screensaver that can turn into a major time-suck. It won't be long before your stoner friend suggests turning off all the lights and putting on Dark Side Of The Moon while you watch Fluid do its thing.

 

7. LotsaWater

 

LotsaWater sucks up processor power, and it doesn't hide whatever's on your display (privacy freaks be warned), but it's really, really cool. LotsaWater shows your desktop, if it were caught in a rainstorm. You can configure the intensity of the raindrops as well as the accuracy of the rendering of the ripples. Sit back, enjoy and stay dry.

 

6. Folding@Home

 

Folding@Home is another distributed computing project. This time, your Mac's spare cycles are being put to use crunching data for Stanford University. Your idle Mac might just unlock the key to curing cancer or Alzheimers. It can be set to run constantly in the background, or only when your machine is inactive.

 

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Ravel

It would be great an edition 2014

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benet

Every little chat Salon 1000 ah!replica watchYou are my best's buddy
1ew

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Andrew M from Vancouver

My favorite screensaver was always Starry Night, that default one from After Dark. It just showed a city skyline slowly coming into view, pixel by pixel, but it just looked so cool, simplistic but very nicely stylized! I really wish I could have it on my modern machines.... :(

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George

I used to use it, and cannot find it in my floppy bins anymore (I just looked again), but it was like Starry Night except that it showed the city in profile during a 24-hour period that kept time with whatever time zone I typed in (it was UTC plus or minus whatever hours the zone you wanted was from UT [formerly known as GMT, Greenwich Mean Time]. I loved the way it kept up with the time of day as, locked in my hideaway and avidly computing away, I often lost track of both the time and the day, a facet of computing life surely experienced by some of us here. Often, it was only my wife's gentle tapping on my skull with a skillet that reminded me there were other worlds outside my head and the Mac.

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MacAddict

When I upgraded from an IIsi to a iMac Grape, my After Dark Star Trek TOS screen saver came with it and it look so great on the new computer. I tried to find the TNG version but could not find it. I have tried to find a new Star Trek screen saver for my Intel iMac and I just can find one. I miss the old days when Spock walked across the screen to either shoot holes in the screen with his phaser or the ships flying by, or the quiz. Does anyone else know what I am talking about? ='(

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George

Never saw it. Sounds like the QuarkXPress easter egg of the robowarrior with the zapper. But that's a page layout thing, so unless you are a Quark user, you wouldn't know what I am writing about. (I did write OFF didn't I?)

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Anonymous

this came out about a month ago!

http://www.sealiesoftware.com/fringe/

Fringe Player: Lunatic Fringe on Mac OS X

Fringe Player is an application that brings the classic game Lunatic Fringe to Mac OS X.

Lunatic Fringe is a fast-paced space combat game not unlike Asteroids and Maelstrom. It was written by Ben Haller as an After Dark screen saver module. Unfortunately, After Dark is long obsolete, leaving Lunatic Fringe unplayable on newer machines — until now.

Fringe Player is a native Mac OS X program that controls the Lunatic Fringe screen saver module. It takes the place of After Dark itself. Fringe Player is not a complete screen saver; its sole purpose is to play Lunatic Fringe.

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Anonymous

Indeed. That's why it's number one on the list.

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Kolonel Panik

Don’t try Fluid if by some small chance you’ve moved on from Panther. Jeez!

Here is my brilliant posting to VersionTracker:
I’m too late to this game, I guess, and I blame it on Mac | Life http://preview.tinyurl.com/yq9zoh -- what a handy tip!
Fact is, on 10.5.2, clicking on Options button results in System Prefs crash. Too bad. I decided not to rate this, but obviously there is no support for current systems, and there is no Obsolete button on the rating panel. Seems to me that Version Tracker should have a category for this.
PS: I didn’t rate this, but I will give Mac | Life ***** for creative wild goose chases.

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Anonymous

Holding Pattern Coach Class - http://www.idletimesoftware.com/screensavers/

Hotel Gadget
http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/24451

LotsaEscher
http://wakaba.c3.cx/s/lotsablankers/lotsaescher.html

Unfortunately work seems to have stopped on the incomparable Zoomquilt, but you might still be able to find it in a repository somewhere.

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adam

you folks left out save hollywood, the screensaver that lets you pick one or several videos as a screensaver. it works with avi, mpg and mp4 and maybe more.

right now i've got studio aka's 'jojo in the stars' as my screensaver.

one thing to note, anything longer than 8 minutes is a little silly, so i wouldn't go putting the star wars trilogy on as screensavers

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Anonymous

you wrote "as a native Californian, snow is more of a theory than actual weather". You should be aware (and proud) that the deepest and heaviest snow in the country falls in the Sierra Nevada's in California! Screensavers aside...

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RoyB

All the above are good. One of my favorites was FlowFazer from Todd Rundgren. In basic mode, best lava lamp in a Mac. Using other settings, it could cause epileptic seizures in those predisposed, no joke. That's one I'd spend money on again if it were available.

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Jeff Mark

I never understood what happened to Berkeley Systems or the AD product itself. One day around '99 they were just gone.

Another thing along these lines that I've wondered is whether it's possible to create an app that would display an animated character that would "inhabit" your desktop. I'm thinking of the "Felix" application for Windows that was created by Purina in the UK. Felix will drop from the top of your screen, walk along the tops of windows and the taskbar, even play with toys. It's amazingly well-articulated.

I remember an AD module called "Bad Dog" that did something similar; there were also the Star Trek modules that also interacted with your desktop, but both only when AD was active.

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Mr. Reeee

Fluid is cool, but Desktop Puddle is better.
Yeah, it costs $5, but it's very nice and even works on multiple monitors.

http://www.uselesscreations.com/mac/puddle/

Great list!
I loved Lunatic Fringe! I think I'd put Flying Toasters first, simply because it was a tectonic shift in what screen were 'supposed' to be.

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Mr. Reeee

Sorry, not Fluid, I meant LotsaWater

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Ted Banucci

The best by far was the Opus + Bill screen saver collection (from the comic Bloom County). I believe Berkely Systems made it back in 1992 or so.

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Ben

Ahhh, yes, good old Afterdark. I still have a copy on my B+W G3 under it's OS 9 disk. For all of you OS 8+9 users, I've seen Afterdark on the internet for free when I was searching for some old, old Mac software. I don't remember where though, so you'll have to do a quick Google search.

By the way, you Intel users should really be sad, Fluid is the most awesome screensaver that I have ever seen.

Now I think I'm going to go launch OS 9, if you'll excuse me...

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Ben

I actually meant LotsaWater instead of Fluid.

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Anonymous

Starry Night really should have made this list. I still fondly remember many a night falling asleep to the soothing lights of nightime Macopolis on my SE and making a wish with each falling star...

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tarkin

All time favorite was the Jawas stealing my desktop from Star Wars Screen Entertainment. I would pay a premium to have this upgraded for OS X!

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bob

I have to say the sued out of business Berkley system add-on of microsquish (parody of bill you will be assimilated gates and co.) Remember shooting the flying pc's ?

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Jon Demick

One of the biggest time-sinks is the electric sheep screensaver. The address is
http://transition.turbulence.org/blog/2007/01/23/the-electric-sheep-screen-saver

Enjoy

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Louis D

Also desperately awaiting the delights of FLUID to get ported for intels (crosses fingers)

A few others of interest are "Anèmona" which is very nice (same developer are liquidmac)

And theres bound to be something that appeals in the 50+ savers in the "XScreensaver" pack of Mac/Linux savers (XAnalogueTV my fave but theres also a bunch of cool Text effects [Star Wars Opener anyone?) and an excellent OpenGL Matrix rip-off)

Oh and almost forgot Soundstream, very nice Quartz based sound reactive sparkly cloud kind of thing.

Sorry, just one more. Offshoots, very relaxing zen'y plants growing across the screen, ahhhh. (also available as a desktop background to relax and destroy any chances of productivity)

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mr. Reeee

You whet my screensaver appetite and provide NO LINKS?

Thanx

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Anonymous

Um, the links are in blue.

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Benjamin

There was a series of screensavers released exclusively to myspace users that added "ipod nano" as a friend. It was basically the old nano commercials. The commercials where the ipods looked like glowsticks in the hands of a raver kid dancing. These screensavers were only available for a short time. If any one wants them I have the black and blue versions. Email me and I will get you a copy. benjaminwilson1979@gmail.com

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Lostgame

I cry myself to sleep every night knowing I can't use fluid on my MacBook Pro...='(

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Anonymous

Neko.

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Anonymous

I would vote that the Marine Aquarium, from serenescreen.com is my favourite screensaver. It turns my Mac into a realistic and environmentally friendly (and inexpensive) salt water aquarium that is soothing and amazing to watch. And an even more amazing version 3 will be released this year.

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Anonymous

Honestly I think the whole afterdark suite not just Flying Toasters was good.... everyone wanted to have afterdark back in the 90's

I do have to agree though that as soon as i heard memorable screensavers I thought of Flying Toasters

But if i remember right there was another screen saver part of that pack that i really liked called Worms i think..... reminded me of a virus eating away at your computer....hehe

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Herald

I thought the best part wasn't the flying toasters but rather the lawn mower that cut the grass. That was my favorite screen saver of all time

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