NoSleep Featured

NoSleep is a handy menu bar utility that I use each and every day to keep my MacBook Air awake. It’s like speed for your Mac. Even with the lid on the MacBook closed, it stays awake.

The best thing about this utility is that it can be easily toggled on or off by means of a single click on its menu bar icon. NoSleep is a simple tool, yet it does feature a few options to customize the way it works. Have a look inside as I showcase NoSleep on video.

Once you download the NoSleep.dmg, extract the, and drag the app to your Applications folder. It should be mentioned that NoSleep isn’t available on the Mac App Store; it’s unlikely that you’ll see it, or any alternatives there, due to Apple’s stringent sandboxing rules.

After installation, open NoSleep and you should see the “Zz” icon for the utility running in the menu bar. You can force NoSleep to do its handy work on AC power, battery power, or both. You’ll need to open the tool’s preferences in order to independently select these options. If you just want your Mac to stay awake regardless of its power source, a single click on the menu bar icon will enable its non-sleeping qualities across the board.

NoSleep Menu Bar
NoSleep is represented by the little “Zz” menu bar icon

Once NoSleep is enabled, you can close your MacBook’s lid and the device will keep on chugging along as if it was never closed. You can continue to download files, render video, bounce music and anything else that you normally wouldn’t consider doing with your MacBook’s lid closed. The awesome thing about NoSleep is that it still lets the screen go dark when the lid is closed, which, as you would imagine, goes a long way to saving battery life.

I found NoSleep to be particularly useful when mating my MacBook Air with a 27″ Thunderbolt Display. By using NoSleep, I could connect my MacBook Air to the display without having to feed it power from the MagSafe adapter. I did this from time to time so that I would maintain the integrity of the MacBook’s battery; it’s not good to have the battery always connected to a power source.

NoSleep Preferences
NoSleep’s preferences are simple and straight to the point

NoSleep was developed by Pavel Prokofiev. He created the extension because he was disappointed to see that the Mac lacked native power options for “lid closed” states. Prokofiev has generously shared his creation so that all MacBook users can benefit from its usefulness. Head over to his official Google Code project for the free download link. There’s also a donation button available on his project page if you feel like donating.

I know that there are likely other utilities out there for managing lid closed sleep settings on the Mac, but NoSleep has always been my go-to extension. It works just as it’s described and the fact that it’s free doesn’t hurt. What tool do you use to manage these situations? Share your opinions and comments down below.

  • Jo

    This is quite interesting…

  • Alexander Tranceswift Sundiev

    Very cool, so expensive though

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      I don’t get how free is expensive but if you are looking for a free alternative available through the Mac AppStore Caffeine does the same job only closing the lid still puts the Mac to sleep…

      • Alexander Tranceswift Sundiev

        I’m sorry, I was reading 2 posts at the same time and may have commented on the wrong one. I referred to Bartender. (good I’ve found a way around that too ;))

      • Alexander Tranceswift Sundiev

        Thanks for Caffeine! I’ll check it out as well.

  • Alberto Martinez

    Now this is something I needed, this is useful for me for example for when I’m downloading a large game from Steam, before I had to live the computer open so the game could finish downloading, now I don’t have to. Thanks iDownloadBlog!

    • jp2002

      *leave 🙂

      • Alberto Martinez

        Ooops, thanks for correcting me, english is not my first language.

      • jp2002

        no problem 🙂

    • David Villamizar

      Caffeine is good and all, but it’s actually built inside OS X, so no need to download anything else, just open terminal and write caffeinated and press Enter. If you want to specify the time you want your mac up, for example, don’t sleep for 10000 seconds, just write caffeinate -t 100000 then press Enter.

      • Alberto Martinez

        it’s a lot easier to just press a button then to do all that typing, but your info was good as well for an emergency, example: a mac that is not connected to the internet to download the utilities, you can just type the commands mentioned in your comment.

  • Skilachi

    Caffeine is also great, and its cheap

    • Yes, but if I remember correctly, Caffeine doesn’t keep your device awake with lid closed. That’s the big difference between it and NoSleep.

      • Alexander Tranceswift Sundiev

        Do you think it’s better to use both, 1 for the lid and 1 for when the lid is open?

      • Palmer Paul

        Seems a bit redundant to me…

      • PathKiller29

        For external monitors, Apple actually provides a “closed clam shell” feature. as long as a mouse/keyboard (may need to be USB, I’m unsure) is connected, its wake after closing it. for the record Mac OS’s system prefs have a separate setting for display sleep and computer sleep (which can be set to never), but for convenience, this works.

    • Rankiz

      “Caffeine is cheap”, what kind of argument is that? When NoSleep is better and FREE???

  • Ricky

    I use insomniax

    • Henry Binklebauer

      InsomniaX (2.1.3) doesn’t work (goes to sleep) on MBP + Mavericks + on battery + lid closed (disable idle sleep & disable lid sleep).

  • johnnytalks

    Does this also prevent the screensaver like Caffeine?

  • Raúl Díez Martín

    Noob question: What about temperatures? Did not the Macbooks “breath” through the keyboard?

    • jp2002

      nope. The unibody MacBooks have their exhaust vents near the hinges where your screen and bottom panel gets connected. Its ventilated even when your lid is closed.

  • Raj Dangol

    Very useful app for me! Thanx a lot!

  • Huh? You need a separate utility to accomplish this? All this time I thought Mac OS X had “Power Options”…yet another function I take for granted in Windows.

    • CC-Dog

      OSX does have power options, NoSleep is just a shortcut for accessing it.

      • Isn’t it accessible through the stock battery meter in the bar? Does this video (youtube com/watch?v=af1cCkifPQA), showing the list of power managing functions, match what’s in Mavericks?

      • CC-Dog

        Battery meter just tell you how much battery left and which apps are using a lot of power.
        If you don’t want to go to system preference and set auto sleep time to never, you can just click to light up NoSleep icon on the menu bar.
        That’s what it does, a shortcut.

      • According to Apple’s recently updated Energy Saver Preferences (http://bit ly/1k8TJJs) page, it appears to still be the same; surprisingly, this function isn’t part of the preferences (auto-sleep isn’t the same as no-sleep when the lid is closed), AND still no power profiles.

        Use of power profiles? I use it as a fast switch for turning on/off multiple power options…for example, my regular use profile dims my screen after 5 mins and allows my computer to sleep after 15 mins of being idle (that’s on battery, dims after 10 mins and sleeps after 30 mins when plugged in). My High Performance profile never dims my screen and never puts my computer to sleep regardless of it being idle.

      • CC-Dog

        I personally do not like power profiles. I don’t see how performance should be related to profiles. OS should decide when it’s idle and save power, or when it’s engaged.

        When I don’t want my computer to sleep, I click NoSleep. Screen dim is automatically controlled by the app I’m using, and by the light sensor detecting my presence.

      • Performance relation to profiles? You can have profiles controlling the performance of your WiFi/Graphics card, Processor usage, browser javascript timer frequency, etc.

        What you’re describing as per-app screen dim is adaptive display brightness. The Screen dim I’m talking about is just an indicator that the screen is about to turn off…

      • CC-Dog

        So u r using high performance when reading articles or doing presentations? I don’t that fits

      • Nope, I use high performance mostly when I don’t want my computer to Autosleep/Autodim/Autolock/Auto-screen-off. For reading long articles, the screen-dim (which I have enabled in my regular profile) informs me that my screen is about to turn off, so, I just interact with my computer to prevent that. For just the display, there’s dim display, turn off display, then finally sleep (which puts the computer in sleep mode).

        Laugh at it, but I actually replaced my iPhone’s function as a bed-side Alarm clock with my Surface Pro 😛 That’s where I mostly use the high performance profile (don’t want my Alarm going to sleep while I do).

      • CC-Dog

        Actually, I think that even osx’s power settings are too many. I expect my laptop to behave the same no matter whether the power is plugged or not.
        Screen dim is enabled on mac with no configuration, just like on ios.

      • CC-Dog

        On OS X, the whole point is that you don’t need to adjust performance. When usage is low, the clock speed is automatically lowered. When fully engaged, the hardware runs on full speed.
        If you use half speed to run something big, it will take twice the time, but it won’t save as much energy.
        That’s why OS X has such a long battery life.

  • Imahottguy

    Isn’t part of the reason macs do not stay on with the lid closed because they vent through the space where the display meets the body? I swear I have read this in a few articles related to NoSleep and Caffeine (having tried both myself).

    • KewlDewd

      Yep, when I’m rendering video with the macbook pro it heats up a lot. Doing it with the lid closed is asking for trouble. If this was a good idea I’m sure Apple would have included such a simple function.

  • AndroidDogHeatandSteelersFan

    Closing lid keeps heat trapped and heats up your macbook. It may affect your lcd/led screen.

  • Craig Wayman

    Insomnia in the Mac store does the same thing as well. I like it but i will try this out too see what i like better.

  • Matt Taylor

    I have been explicitly told by Apple geniuses in the past that this is Not a good idea because the heat from the running unibody can and will warp the shape of the lid and over time, so much so that there can be problems in the lid shutting flush with the unibody! Do this at your own risk! Well done for the great advise Jeff and ps, the posts are so interesting these days 😉

    • Henry Binklebauer

      Total BS. It’s a solid block of aluminum, which is an excellent thermal conductor. The whole body will quickly equalize to a similar temperature, and the temperature needed to do as claimed would cause the “magic smoke” to be released from the electronics burning up anyhow.

  • abdullah575

    like my PC !!

  • jfutral

    Interesting. As far as using a closed Macbook with an external display, that has been a feature of Macbooks for so long now, I can’t remember when they started doing that. I do it all the time. Apple has long since reconfigured heat dissipation accordingly, so don’t worry about that.

    But I can think of a few times where I wanted to go from one room to another but couldn’t because I was waiting for a download to complete.

    Good stuff.

  • Jakob Se.

    Hey Jeff, what is the cover for your mac called. The mate black looks really cool!!

  • Evan_Beezy

    I had this on my Mac a few months ago. It use to work perfect then after updating something it no longer keeps my computer on 10sec after I close the lid. It was cool when it worked.

  • Jerwyn Feria

    I have insomniaX. Taskbar tool to keep my mac on with lid down and never sleep.

  • Henry Binklebauer

    “NOTE: THIS APP DOES NOT KEEP LAPTOPS AWAKE IF THEIR COVER IS CLOSED.” it says right at the top of the Mac App Store page for NoSleep. Bottom line: Don’t waste your time, NoSleep won’t work on Mavericks to do what this blog article claims. Caffeine also no longer works.

  • Scott A. Rossell

    Curious Mr. Binklebauer, I’m running Mavericks on my MacBook Air with InsomniaX v.2.1.2 and it’s working just fine. Perhaps there’s a functional difference between the Pro and Air? Anyone?

    • Henry Binklebauer

      Try this experiment:

      1. Set sleep to 1 minute on battery in Energy Saver.
      2. Set InsominaX to Disable Lid Sleep and Disable Idle Sleep.
      3. Unplug power and close the lid.
      4. Wait 60 seconds.
      5. Does the sleep indicator light stay solid or does it cycle on and off?

      • Scott A. Rossell

        It must be a Mac Pro thing, weird. I followed your instructions to the letter and InsomniaX performed perfectly. The MacBook Air does not have a Sleep Indicator Light, but when I opened the lid, everything was working as expected.

      • Henry Binklebauer

        Then it’s probably sleeping. I can open the lid too, which wakes the machine and everything “looks fine.” Except that this box here was clearly just asleep (SIL light glowing on and off).

        One way to tell if a macbook air or any box is sleeping would be to ping it from another computer.

      • Sam Griffiths

        Play music while the MBA is closed, that’ll tell you.

    • Henry Binklebauer

      10.9 & MD101LL/A (MacBookPro9,2)

      • Scott A. Rossell

        10.9 & MacBookAir4,2 / 13-inch, Mid 2011 / 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5 on this end. Very strange. It shouldn’t make a difference, should it?

      • Henry Binklebauer

        So I uninstalled InsomniaX, Caffeine and NoSleep with AppZapper and reinstalled NoSleep 1.3.3. NoSleep finally works SIL solid > 1 minute when Energy Saver set to 1 minute. Can now use MBP as a glorified iPhone charger. Yay.

      • Scott A. Rossell

        Ah, looks like you cracked it! Just reinstall the app then. I commonly run utorrent with the lid closed with InsomniaX and it works great. Cool, well problem solved then. Cheers!

  • Robert Goldberg

    Nice! Thanks Jeff!

  • Luis Martinez

    I love that you’re wearing your Pebble in that photo 🙂

  • ccg

    hi, i just downloaded nosleep on my mbp and when i control/click the zzs, and try to go to preferences, it says that i am not able to view preferences at this time and i may need to have a device attached. what does this mean?

  • Freethinker

    Exactly what i was looking for. thanks

  • Nice utility, but I wish it had options for forcing a shut down if the temperature goes up too much. Twice, I’ve used this and Caffeine together, only to forget to disable NoSleep, close the lid, hide my MacbookPro in my closet because I was going out, only to come back hours later to find it cooking hot

  • naz

    I want to keep my video or my voice recorder on while the lid is closed it doesn’t seem to work for that purpose. im trying to record the 100 times my husband abuses me. he’s very slick he checks my cellphone before he does anything and i can’t keep any other recorder in the house or else he’ll find it. but laptop he doesn’t care really. so how can i find a voice recorder or a video recorder where i can keep it on while the lid is turned off?

  • Kelvin Appelgren

    Great app, thx for the share. Exactly what I was looking for.

  • Warmachine69

    Thanks for this jeff!