Although part of my problem is covered here - Powering on while the lid is closed in clamshell mode, it alone doesn't solve my query.

I'm trying to turn my MBP into a server, and because of that I want to keep the lid closed. I'm using InsomniaX to keep it from going to sleep, which usually works for just keeping the computer awake.

I want to be able to restart my computer remotely (I already have this implemented), in its lid closed state, and have it not go to sleep after the boot.

I've heard I could connect an external monitor, but I don't exactly have one laying around to use, so is there a way to mimic one?

Is there an app to disable the sleeping that happens on a MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010) after the computer is booted up with the display shut completely?

  • 1
    Do feed your mac's serial number into support.apple.com/manuals and update the question with the exact marketing name of your specific mac since the sleep capabilities do vary by model.
    – bmike
    Jan 25, 2012 at 4:55
  • I updated the question
    – Charlie
    Jan 25, 2012 at 4:59

2 Answers 2


An easy way to spoof a monitor connector is to use a VGA adapter, and connect a VGA Dummy-plug (sometimes called a "VGA Terminator").

There are a number of tutorials on how to make your own - here and here are other (though these involve soldering).

You can also buy them in DVI-A and VGA flavors.

If you want something that spoofs a DVI-D interface into thinking there is an attached monitor, it is a lot more work.

  • Is this the best way to boot up in clamshell mode though? If it is, I'll take a closer look at the first option.
    – Charlie
    Jan 25, 2012 at 5:11
  • It's certainly a way to mimic a monitor. To be honest, I'm not too sure what it will do with regard to making the mac not sleep when closed, though. As I understand it, it should work, but I have not done it, so I cannot state it will work with any certainty.
    – Fake Name
    Jan 25, 2012 at 6:21
  • Attaching a monitor is the 'official' way to put a machine into clamshell mode. I've not tried this either but I can't think of an easier way to disable the hardware detecting the lid is closed -> put the machine to sleep.
    – Robin
    Jan 25, 2012 at 8:10

Two problems must be overcome in general.

  1. no controllable power button
  2. preventing sleep on a hardware level

In specific, your Mac's battery isn't easily removable nor is the power circuitry easily modified so you'll likely want a wired connection to ensure wake on lan (WOL) works to wake the machine if and when it falls asleep.

You mentioned you had solved the power issue - so I'll assume you either modified the internal switch, have a controllable power source or a mechanical lever that can push even with the lid closed (a portable slim jim!)

Since the sleep happens in EFI and at the OS level, looking for an app to run is unlikely to be able to prevent sleep unless that app modifies the OS / EFI. Until someone makes or links to such app, you'll need to provide the mac with the signals it looks for to prevent sleep.

I've had success with an USB mouse or keyboard and viable monitor connector will keep the display off in clamshell mode, bypassing the sleep sensor. Have you tried the VGA adapter for mini Display Port? I just tape a rubber bumper on both sides of the palm rest to keep the lid open a crack as that takes less space overall than leaving the adapter dongle on the desk.

  • Would a USB mouse just work to keep the computer awake? The other idea that I got from your comment was to keep the screen open just enough so that it would not fall asleep. And my solution to power it on off is a remote applescript commands that I can send to the computer
    – Charlie
    Jan 25, 2012 at 16:53

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