The Festive Apple: Snow apps for OS X, Classic Mac OS, and iOS

Sections: Home and Personal, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Mac Software

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I like snow, although I’m never sorry if it holds off till Christmas. Here on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia where I live, we usually don’t get snow that sticks until after Christmas. The weather has been extraordinarily mild again so far this season, as it was last year, with no more than a couple of dustings that quickly melted.

However, if you’re a snow fan, you can still enjoy some snow on your computer or iDevice desktop for Christmas wherever you live, and the great thing about virtual snow is that you don’t have to shovel or plow it!

There are more snow applications for Apple devices than you might imagine.

iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Zen of Snow HD

Randy Edmonds’ Zen of Snow HD is a beautiful and peaceful snow globe world. Shake to “stir up” the snow and then watch it slowly fall. He calls this Zen of Snow because it is so peaceful to watch.


  • Animated lights and scenery
  • Send free e-cards
  • Four snow scenes (animated Christmas lights twinkle, snow falls, creek flows, smoke rises from cabin’s chimney)
  • Shake to stir up snow and watch it fall
  • Christmas music “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Silent Night” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”
  • Swipe to pan between the four scenes

Zen of Snow

Zen of Snow HD also includes:

  • In-App purchase for Rabbit
  • Option to have snow fall forever
  • Option to adjust the the amount of snowfall
  • Option to adjust the wind blowing the snow
  • Night Mode (see the lights in all their glory!)
  • Option to rotate into wide-screen view
  • Option to turn off the Christmas lights
  • Option to turn off the Christmas music
  • AirPlay mirroring to Apple TV

Price: $0.99 (you can also try the free Zen of Snow Lite)

Product [Zen of Snow HD]

Snowflakes 1.0

Hado Labs’ Snowflakes is an elegant new entertainment app developed for iPhone, iPod and iPad. Snowflakes generates more than 9,000 artistic and beautifully realistic snowflakes, all with intricate, icy details; it’s as mesmerizing as watching falling snow. With the touch of a finger, create single snowflakes with three levels of detail or layer multiple snowflakes to build rich textural effects. Save and print your high-resolution creations, or share them instantly via email, Facebook or Twitter.


“No two snowflakes are alike” is a truism that Snowflakes’ powerful design engine upholds, rendering their delicate crystalline structures with ethereal realism. No other app on the market produces such intricate, realistic snowflakes.

In Single mode, create more than 9,000 single snowflakes, transforming them at a touch with three levels of detail. Multiple background effects (including your own photos) and millions of color choices allow infinite design possibilities.

Multi mode lets you layer snowflakes in multiple size and color combinations to create complex compositions. Move, scale and view snowflake designs in standard or full Retina display.

Save your high-resolution, copyright-free Snowflake designs to Photos, then use them in your holiday greetings, print them for crafting, or share images instantly with your friends via email, Facebook and Twitter.

Snowflakes features:

  • Elegant, intuitive interface
  • Scale and move snowflakes with the touch of a finger
  • Single or Multi drawing modes
  • Create up to 9,621 unique snowflakes in Single mode
  • Build rich textural effects with layers of snowflakes in Multi mode
  • Select from 20 different background designs
  • Import your own photos to use as backgrounds
  • Create millions of custom colored snowflakes and backgrounds
  • Up to 10 levels of Undo
  • Erase feature
  • Save completed images to your Photos library
  • Share instantly via email, Facebook or Twitter
  • Spectacular on the Retina display

Price: $0.99

Product [Snowflakes]



This screensaver draws snowflakes falling down your screen. Simple enough, but the oh-so-clever part is that it uses a semi-physical model for growing each snowflake, meaning every snowflake is actually unique, and also that it uses a quite a bit of processing power…but that’s the price you pay for individuality.

New in v1.5:

  • Better screen capturing, especially on multi-monitor systems.

Price: Free

Product [LotsaSnow]

Let It Snow

Bring a Winter Wonderland to your desktop with Let It Snow’s realistic snow fall and get into that festive holiday feeling as snow covers your dock and settles on windows whilst you work.


  • Realistic snow fall – using a physics engine
  • Snow drifts – that build up at the bottom of the screen
  • Snow covered windows – snow settles on the currently active window
  • Random flurries of snow – so you’d better wrap up warm
  • Melting snow – snow disappears after a period of time

A number of preferences let you control how the snow falls:

  • Amount – Decide how much snow you want
  • Size – Pick bigger or smaller snow flakes
  • Speed – Select faster or slower snow
  • Flurries – Choose if you more or less flurries of snow
  • Thaw – Set how quickly you want the snow to thaw
  • Escape bottom – Toggle between snow escaping from the desktop or building up at the bottom of the screen
  • Escape sides – Choose to have the snow escape from the sides of the screen, or fall down the sides
  • Multicolored – Add a bit of colour to your snow flakes
  • Settle on active window – Choose if snow settles on the active window

Let it Snow brings a bit of winter magic to your Mac!

New in Version 1.3:

  • Better consistency of snow
  • Less memory consumption
  • Less CPU usage (under certain conditions)

Price: $0.99

Product [Let it Snow]

Snow Dance 3D Screensaver 1.2

Snow Dance 3D

Smoothly falling flakes create sensation of calmness and serenity.

Snow Dance 3D Screensaver shows you the bewitching attraction and purity of snow-white winter. Imagine that you are on mountain top and take pleasure in a magnificent landscape of mountain nature. Huge flakes of snow softly lay down on the earth, forming a snow-white airy cover. The well-shaped, evergreen, splendid firs, muffed with snow, harmoniously brighten a panorama and decorate solitary centuries-old mountains. Harmony and pacification reign everywhere.

More than just a screensaver:

  • Each screensaver contains a clock of two kinds (analog and digital)
  • Each screensaver contains a calendar
  • Screensavers work under Windows and Mac OS X

Price: $12.95 shareware

Product [Snow Dance 3D]


Back when I was running the Classic Mac OS, my favorite snow application was Rick Jansen’s Snow for Macintosh, which let it snow on your desktop and windows, adds a Christmas Tree, and sends Santa and his sleigh flying around your screen for extra festive season cheer. However, one of the cool things about Classic Snow is that since the whole process of letting it snow on your windows is somewhat CPU intensive, if you found Snow slowing down your machine you could use the preferences to choose fewer or smaller snowflakes, no Santa, no tree, or no snow at all. You can set the number of flakes, how fast they fall, Santa’s speed limit etc. It all worked very well.

Rick has happily released an OS X native version of Snow for the Macintosh. It still snows on your desktop and Santa and his reindeer still fly around your screen while snow piles up on top of your windows. However, the tree is gone, having been replaced by an ambling Polar Bear and resizable snowdrop plants. Rudolph’s nose also glows red once you register the application.

Price: $2.50 shareware

Product [Snow]

Snowfall: The Ice Storm

This Quartz composer screensaver for Mac OS 10.4 Tiger features snowflake images by Wilson Bentley – The Snowflake Man. Once it’s installed in the Library/Screensavers folder (see tutorial), you can customize it to suit your tastes by modifying the options in System Preferences.

Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.

– Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley 1925

For more on Wilson Bentley see

Price: Free

Product [Snowfall: The Ice Storm]


This Open GL snowflake screen saver draws white flakes of love on your screen.  This is a simple OpenGL screensaver for OSX in cocoa.

It uses a very simple custom NSOpenGLView, as a subview of a ScreenSaverView/.

Price: Free

Product [Flake-Saver]

Snow Version 2.4

Dave Warker’s’ Snow is a small, free application for Macs running the Classic Mac OS. It’s categorized as a “Sanity Saver” by its author that drifts snowflakes down your monitor screen accompanied by the gentle sound of sleigh bells or Christmas music.

You can select the desired snowstorm intensity using the Flakes sub-menu, from gentle flurries to blizzard conditions. Turning on causes some of the flakes to be blown about. Snow supports multiple sets of flakes.

You can also adjust the volume of the jingling sleigh bells, or turn them off completely. The Tunes menu requires QuickTime 2.0 or later by default. Snow plays available tunes in random order, but you can uncheck the Random Order menu item to hear them sequentially. You can also add more tunes by placing MIDI files in the Snow Tunes folder. Several download site links are included in the program’s online documentation.

The package includes sample QuickTime music files of jazzed up holiday favorites. With this release you can now convert MIDI files to QuickTime music files via drag-and-drop.

System Requirements:

This version has only been tested under System 8.1 and later versions of the MacOS, but the basic flakes and sleigh bells should work on any Mac except those that use the original 68000 processor (Mac Plus, SE, Portable and the original 128k/512k Macs.) 68000 based Macs. Users of those machines should continue to use version 2.2. Note that the new music files will work fine with this version. The automatic wake-up feature uses system features that may not be present on recent system releases. It doesn’t crash but it is possible that it may wake up when it shouldn’t.

Automatic wake up requires System 7 or later. Music requires at least QuickTime 2.0 but for best results you should be using Apple’s latest QuickTime package. You can download it from the QuickTime site at

Also available is Snow v2.2 for pre-PowerMacs (680×0 processor based Macs (Plus, Classic, II, etc) and Mac OS 6.x).

Price: Free

Product [Snow]

Snow’ed 1.0

Snow’ed is another older desktop application for the Classic Mac OS that puts snow on your desktop, this time in a window frame. From the menu bar you can choose options like different color window frames and how much snow to fall.

The snow in the application is anti-aliased, and each flake has its own speed and brightness.

You have your choice of four window styles : White, Brown, Moonlit, and Walter Mitty.

System requirements:

  • Thousands of colors minimum with millions suggested.
  • Best at resolution of 800 x 600 or higher, will work at a lower resolution of 640 x 480 though.

Price: $1 shareware

Product [Snow’ed]

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