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How to disable lock screen sleep on macOS

Macs tend to sleep compulsively. If you leave the system unattended, a Mac will sleep after a few minutes. There’s no setting that lets you choose how long macOS should wait before sleeping an idle system’s screen. Getting around this limitation is very easy with the caffeinate command but it only works so long as you’re on the desktop. Once you lock the screen, macOS’ own sleep settings take over and the screen is put to sleep within a minute. Here’s how you can disable lock screen sleep on macOS.

Disable lock screen sleep

To disable lock screen sleep, you need to install a free app called KeepingYouAwake. It’s a simple app with one stand-out feature; it also works on the lock screen.

Install the app and run it. The app doesn’t automatically enable itself. It adds a coffee cup icon to the menu bar and when the icon is just an outline of the cup, it indicates that the app is not active. If you right-click the app’s menu bar icon, you’ll see a menu that lets you set how long KeepingYouAwake should keep an idle system awake. Select a duration that suits you, and click the app icon to activate it.

Once activated, you can lock your screen and it won’t be put to sleep.

KeepingYouAwake has an option to keep your system/screen awake indefinitely and if you select this option, and walk away from your MacBook, its screen will remain awake. If you’re running on battery power, this will cause the battery to drain much more quickly. The good thing about this app is that you can set it to deactivate itself if the battery falls below a certain charge level.

Go to KeepingYouAwake’s preferences and on the Advanced tab, enable the ‘Deactivate when battery capacity is below’ option. Use the slider under this option to set the battery level that will disable the app.

KeepingYouAwake can be set to run on system start up and to automatically activate itself when it is run. These options are not enabled by default. You can enable them from the General tab in the app’s preferences. While you’re at it, you can also change the default duration that the app keeps the screen awake for. It’s set to ‘Indefinitely’ so it’s a setting that you should consider changing.

macOS doesn’t let users set how long their system should be idle before the screen is put to sleep. Anyone looking to control this seemingly simple function will need an app to do the job.

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