Today I encountered a problem with the screen-saver, in which it couldn't be deactivated in order to return to normal work. Normally, hitting escape will deactivate the screen-saver, but this did not work. I could see the mouse pointer over top of the screen-saver, however.

I use hot-corners to activate the screen-saver, and I could still use those to re-activate the screen-saver, but then the escape key brought me back to the screen-saver "underneath", instead of the normal desktop. I could also activate mission control/spaces, and it looked normal, but choosing a desktop just brought me back to the screen-saver.

So, a summary of strategies I tried to get the screensaver "unstuck":

  • hitting escape
  • moving the mouse
  • re-activating and de-activating the screensaver via its hot corner
  • activating mission control with a hotkey and choosing a desktop
  • hitting cmd-opt-escape to try the force quit dialog

How can the screensaver be deactivated without shutting down the machine? I'm running MacOS 10.13.4.

  • To clarify... you mean the screen had locked but the screensaver was still running, rather than it going to a black screen? If so, I've seen that on a few Macs since High Sierra; for some reason the 'screen off' is not being triggered correctly. – Tetsujin Feb 4 at 7:44
  • @Tetsujin The screensaver was still running, even though I was interacting with the machine and trying to get it to shut off – spinup Feb 5 at 20:32

Lock & Unlock the Mac

Use the key-combo Control+Shift+Power on MacBooks or Control+Shift+Eject on Macs with a full-sized keyboard. This will lock the computer, requiring the usual login and password authentication. After re-authenticating, the machine should be back to normal.

Source: UWGB

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