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How to disable the screensaver in Gnome Shell

Gnome Shell does not have a “screensaver” in the traditional sense. You won’t find anything like what there is on XFCE4, where beautiful animations are going across the screen. The screensaver in Gnome Shell is different. Gnome Shell offers users a “lock screen” to save your monitor from screen burn-in, when you leave it idle.

The idea of screen locking isn’t new on Linux. KDE Plasma 5, and Cinnamon also opt for the locking route, rather than the dated screen animation style when the desktop goes idle. Still, Gnome Shell’s version of the lock screen manages to be the most annoying, coming up in a matter of minutes, and interrupting computer usage.

In this guide, we’ll go over how to disable the screensaver in Gnome Shell so it does not interrupt your computer usage. We will cover tools such as the Caffeine Gnome Shell extension, as well as the Caffeine application.

Caffeine extension

The simplest, quickest way to disable the Gnome Shell lock screen from appearing while you’re working is to install the Caffeine extension. The reason? It’s a simple program that anyone can install from the Gnome Extensions site that, when enabled, disables the lock screen from ever appearing.

Caffeine is an interesting extension, and it works on nearly every Gnome Shell version, and works quite well, with little issues. To get started with the Caffeine extension, follow the instructions outlined below.

Installation – Gnome Extension site

To install the Caffeine extension on your Gnome Shell desktop, you must enable Gnome Extension support in your default web browser (Firefox, Chromium or Google Chrome). You must also install the “chrome-gnome-shell” program on your Linux PC, as it is a back-end that allows for extensions to be downloaded from the browser to a Gnome desktop.

To get going with the Gnome Shell extension for Firefox, Chrome, or Chromium, and to learn how to set up “chrome-gnome-shell” on Linux, follow our guide on the subject. When everything is set up, open up this link here to go to the Caffeine extension page.

Once on the Caffeine extension page, find the “OFF” switch slider, and click it with the mouse to set it to “ON.” As soon as you click the slider, a pop-up will appear. Click the “Install” button to get Caffeine on Gnome.

Installation – Gnome Software app

To get Caffeine through Gnome Software, do the following. First, open up the Gnome Software app on your Gnome Shell desktop. Then, find the search box, and click it with the mouse.

Search for “Caffeine” in the box, and click on the Caffeine result with the puzzle piece icon to go to the extension page. Then, click the blue “install” button to get the extension on your Gnome Shell PC.

Disable Gnome Shell screensaver with Caffeine Extension

With the Caffeine extension installed on your Gnome Shell desktop, the hard work is done. From here, we can easily disable the screensaver in Gnome Shell by clicking on the coffee icon in the panel.

Want to re-enable the screensaver? Simply click on the coffee icon in the Gnome panel, and the Caffeine extension will no longer block the Gnome Shell screensaver.

Caffeine application

The Caffeine application is a lot like the extension for Gnome Shell. It does the same thing: inhibiting the lock screen/screensaver in Gnome Shell when enabled. However, the difference between the extension and this app is that it can also work on other desktop environments aside from Gnome.

To get access to the Caffeine app on your Gnome Shell PC, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, follow the command-line instructions below to install it.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install caffeine

Debian

sudo apt-get install  caffeine

Arch Linux

The Caffeine application is not available to Arch Linux users via primary software sources. Instead, you must install it from the AUR.

To start the installation, use Pacman to install the  Base-devel, Git, and Python-setuptools-scm.

sudo pacman -S base-devel git python-setuptools-scm

Next, use the Git tool to download the Trizen AUR helper application. It will make setting up Caffeine much easier on Arch.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git

Install Trizen with makepkg.

cd trizen 

makepkg -sri

Finally, use Trizen to install the Caffeine application.

trizen -S caffeine

Fedora

Sadly, the Caffeine application is not supported by Fedora Linux. If you use Fedora, it is best to use the Gnome Extension instead.

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install caffeine

Disable Gnome Shell screensaver with Caffeine App

To disable the screensaver in Gnome Shell with the Caffeine app, press Win on the keyboard to open up the app menu.

Find the search box in the app menu, and click on it with the mouse. Then, type in “Caffeine”. Launch the app with the label “Caffeine.” And the app will start in the background.

Do not worry! Even though Gnome Shell does not support the Caffeine system tray icon, it is running, and will prevent the screensaver from popping up while you use your Gnome PC!

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