How to Temporarily Prevent a Mac from Sleeping

To prevent a Mac from sleeping immediately, move the mouse or press a key on the keyboard to indicate that a user is still present. If you want to make changes to the settings, go to the Energy Saver section of System Preferences.


1. Click the Apple menu. This is in the upper left corner of the screen.

2. Click System Preferences.

3. Choose Energy Saver.

The options displayed here for Mac laptops will have two separate tabs for Battery and Power Adapter. If you want the behaviour to be the same whether your computer is connected to power or on battery, you must set them both.

4. Drag the “Computer sleep” slider to the right. The numbers beneath the slider indicate how much time must pass without any activity on the computer before it sleeps.

5. Drag the “Turn display off after” slider to the right. The numbers beneath the slider indicate how much time must elapse between no activity on the computer and the screen going to sleep (the hard discs will remain active).

On some older Mac OS versions, this option may appear as “Display Sleep.”

6. Check the box next to “Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off.” When only the display is asleep, this option prevents the computer from going into full sleep mode.

For laptops, this option will appear in the Power Adapter tab.

7. Uncheck the box that says “Put hard discs to sleep when possible.” If the hard discs are not allowed to sleep, the computer will not go to sleep. When the computer is in regular display sleep, it will respond more quickly to a waking action.

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