Mac Software

How do I stop my Mac from sleeping?

stop Mac sleeping
In the dark: keep your MacBook's screen alive

When you’ve got your MacBook unhitched from a mains socket and you’ve wandered off for a cup of tea, the idea of the Mac going to sleep automatically to save precious battery sounds a great idea. But when you have it plugged in and you’re just staring at the screen, trying to read something, and it switches off… well, that’s more annoying.

Tweak your Mac’s sleep settings

Head to System Preferences > Energy Saver and macOS will let you define separate power settings for battery and mains use, whether it’s turning off the display or hard drives.

You need Caffeine and Amphetamine!

No, really! If you don’t want to sleep that’s exactly what you need.

The macOS settings are great, but it’s not particularly convenient for ad-hoc overrides. Instead, you can install one of two free apps that I’d highly recommend – Caffeine came first, with Amphetamine taking a slightly more drug-inspired spin on the name.

Both do the same thing – they sit in your task bar and you click on them to toggle between your default settings and an “always on” option – with this activated, your Mac won’t sleep.

This is pretty much all Caffeine does. Amphetamine, on the other hand, has a plethora of additional customisation options, which is why it’s my personal choice of the two.

These options include automated switching, hot keys, user-generated triggers, and lots more.

Even if you don’t think you’ll need it very often, I would highly recommend installing one of these on every Mac, because when you do need them, they’re invaluable.

NOW READ THIS: Our printable list of Mac keyboard shortcuts

About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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