I use rMBP with the latest Mavericks 10.9.2.

I often download something in background, so I can't just press "poweroff" button, because these downloads stop working in sleep mode. However, I have checked "disable sleep mode when display is off" in energy saving settings.

How can I turn display off without putting system into sleep mode? I only found a way just to leave macbook and don't touch it, it turns off just as selected in energy saving settings.


4 Answers 4


You can use Hot Corners to put your display to sleep instantly. This article on OSXDaily walks through the steps, Quickly Sleep the Display in Mac OS X with a Hot Corner.

  1. Launch System Preferences and click on “Mission Control”
  2. Click on “Hot Corners…” in the lower left corner
  3. Set the screen corners you want to use to “Put Display to Sleep”
  4. Close out of System Preferences and test the Hot Corner by sliding your cursor into that screens corner

Hot Corners in OS X 10.9


I believe you can also use the short cut CTRL + Shift + Eject. On a Retina MacBook Pro there is no eject key, if I recall you use the power button instead?

Someone correct me I'm wrong.

Also the lowest brightness setting turns the screen off (again, someone correct me I'm wrong).

  • Substituting a power key for eject (with a retina MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air) does work but only in 10.8 and later. Setting the brightness to zero bars sets the brightness to maybe 1% on my MacBook Air and to maybe 10% on my iMac.
    – Lri
    Mar 26, 2014 at 5:44
  • @pknz does not look like it is turned of on lowest brightness but not far off. Usually the way I go.
    – tidbeck
    Mar 31, 2014 at 10:22

I used Shift ⇧ + Control ⌃ + Power button for putting my displays to sleep. Please check Mac keyboard shortcuts.

  • that did the job well.
    – Maverick
    Nov 4, 2015 at 15:14
  • Correct answer for keyboards with a power key in the top right.
    – Duvrai
    Nov 10, 2018 at 18:38

If your keyboard has an eject or power key, you can press control-shift-eject or control-shift-power. control-shift-power only works in 10.8 and later though.

Another option in 10.9 and later is to run

pmset displaysleep now

If your keyboard does not have an eject key or a power key, you can assign a shortcut to pmset displaysleep now with for example Alfred:

Or use a private.xml like this with KeyRemap4MacBook:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <autogen>__KeyToKey__ KeyCode::ESCAPE, VK_CONTROL | VK_SHIFT | ModifierFlag::NONE, KeyCode::VK_CONSUMERKEY_EJECT, ModifierFlag::CONTROL_L | ModifierFlag::SHIFT_L</autogen>
  • 3
    According to Manual pages of pmset, it should be pmset displaysleepnow.
    – Ivan Chau
    Aug 10, 2014 at 10:15
  • You can get the displaysleepnow command to work in Mountain Lion by taking a copy of pmset file from Mavericks(/usr/bin/pmset), renaming it pmset2, and putting that in the /usr/bin of your Mountain Lion Mac. The call of course changes to "pmset2 displaysleepnow". I tried, but this trick will not work on OS < 10.5 Nov 21, 2014 at 13:15

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