Classic macOS Wallpaper – macOS 10.3 (Panther)

Our next stop in our journey through classic macOS wallpapers brings us to 2003. Specifically, it brings us to October 24, 2003. That was the release date of macOS X Panther. By version number, Panther was macOS 10.3 and represented the forth major release in the life of macOS X. By any measure, Panther was a major release, bringing over 150 new features and a plethora of new applications and enhancements. One key change: Safari, for the first time, was the default browser in macOS. Safari was actually in Jaguar but was not the default browser. That still belonged to, wait for it, Internet Explorer from Microsoft.

Here are just a few of the features that were included in the release according to Apple:

  • Finder: Updated with a brushed-metal interface, a new live search engine, customizable Sidebar, secure deletion, colored labels (resurrected from classic Mac OS) in the filesystem and Zip support built in. The Finder icon was also changed.
  • Fast user switching: Allows a user to remain logged in while another user logs in, and quickly switch among several sessions.
  • Exposé: Helps the user manage windows by showing them all as thumbnails.
  • TextEdit: TextEdit now is also compatible with Microsoft Word (.doc) documents.
  • Xcode developer tools: Faster compile times with gcc 3.3.
  • Preview: Increased speed of PDF rendering.
  • QuickTime: Now supports the Pixlet high-definition video codec.

In addition to these new features, there were a handful of new applications that came along with the release:

  • Font Book: A font manager which simplifies viewing character maps, and adding new fonts that can be used systemwide. The app also allows the user to organize fonts into collections.
  • FileVault: On-the-fly encryption and decryption of a user’s home folder.
  • iChat AV: The new version of iChat. Now with built-in audio- and video conferencing.
  • X11: X11 is built into Panther.
  • Safari: A new web browser that was developed to replace Internet Explorer for Mac when the contract between Apple and Microsoft ended, although Internet Explorer for Mac was still available. Safari 1.0 was included in an update in Jaguar but was used as the default browser in Panther.

Ultimately, Apple would release ten different builds of macOS 10.3, with the last being version 10.3.9 released on April 15, 2005.

When it came to the desktop, it was basically “Brush Metal All The Things”… and it hurt? A lot of people loved it and at the time, it was certainly leading edge. But it didn’t overly age well. Check out this image courtesy of 512pixels of the desktop experience:

macOS 10.3 Panther User Experience (Image Courtesy of 512pixels)

As for the default wallpaper, it was very much an evolution of what we had seen since 10.0. Below you will find it in 5K glory for your current Mac to relieve the good ‘ole days….

MacOS Panther
MacOS Panther Default Wallpaper (5120×3200)


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