Can't believe that I have to ask this question, but...

How to I disable the screen saver on my 2014 MacBook Pro, running MacOS Sierra 10.12?

I have a need occasionally to keep the screen display on, but I might not use it for 20 minutes at a time. I want to disable the screen saver, but the button to adjust the time (I presume it has a 'None' option) is disabled.

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How can I enable that dropdown, in order to change the 'Start after' time? Or is there somewhere else I should change it?

I know that I can use hot corners to disable screen saver, but that's too hacky - if I forget to put the cursor in the corner, it doesn't do it, and I only know when the screen saver comes on - which is frustrating.

4 Answers 4


Check out this discussion: Screensaver "start time" option grayed out

  • The system administrator has probably set the screensaver timeout in a user profile. You can't change it without removing the profile, which will probably cause you to lose network access.

  • Check if you have a profile (overriding your personal settings) by Apple > System Preferences > Profiles

screenshot of system preferences ("Profiles" is in the bottom right)

  • if you have a profile, one of these files has its settings: ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/ look for a file with a long name that begins "com.apple.screensaver". There may be two such files. Move the one without the word "slideshow" in the name to the Trash.

It most probably applies to your problem too...

  • 2
    Thank you! Found that corporate had put a setting in the profile forcing a screenscaver timeout; I can take it up with them now.
    – PeteCon
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 20:41
  • 1
    Note I'm seeing four plists with "com.apple.screensaver" at the beginning of their filenames, and only one says slideshow in it. Looking inside each of them, it's not clear if any of them have a setting that has to do with the setting to start the screensaver after a certain amount of time. Deleting them doesn't seem to have any effect.
    – shim
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 21:52
  • I just did this on my machine and now instead of showing a screensaver it just goes to a black screen :( Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 21:30

On Mac VNC even if you disable screen saver it can appears and lock yours machine then you can try: Ctrl+Cmd+Q

This command disabe screen saver

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.screensaver loginWindowIdleTime 0 


  • 1
    Thanks for posting this, it worked great. Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 17:10

It seems that this is unfixable unless you contact your company's sysadmin. A possible workaround is to either use the OSX built-in caffeinate command from the terminal or use the 3rd party software that doesn't allow your machine to be idle. Some examples are:


I used this github blank screensaver project to achieve it. You can follow steps in repository or listed below:


  1. Download the screen saver project
  2. Unzip and open Blank.saver using right click because it need permissions for items downloaded from internet.
  3. Set this screensaver

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