I had my MacBook Air 13" 2011 for almost 2 years now. And right from the start I kept having this weird issue: sometimes while I'm working on it, the screen (and the monitor attached via displayport aswell) randomly shuts off (or goes to sleep). The computer is still active and everything is still running normally, so If I hit a key it goes back on normally... It happens even if my power cord is plugged in. It's not a big deal, but it sometimes gets very annoying when it happens while I am typing.
Any clues?

  • yes I am running on OSX Lion
    – b0nd
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 22:55
  • I have the same issue now with my iMac 27' (mid 2011), suddenly the screen shuts down and I have to press 'Ctrl + Shift + Eject' to supposedly turn off the screen and press any key to wake it up :/
    – naoxink
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 8:48

5 Answers 5


Assuming it only happens sometimes and only when you are actively using the computer (key board & Mouse)

Lets find out if it is you doing it.

Check your settings for Display Sleep in:

System preferences> Desktop and Screen saver> Hot Corners!

In here look if you have a setting to put display to sleep.

  • 1
    Haha I think this is it! Can't believe it. Thanks!
    – b0nd
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 22:58
  • OMFG. Same problem, same solution. 8 years later, this reply is still doing good in the world. Have a very late upvote.
    – John Smith
    Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 3:50

Mine did the same. Apple fixed it four times and even replaced the computer without resolution of the problem. I finally discovered that it was the magnetic clasp on my Apple Watch band triggering the magnetic sensor in the upper left portion by the keyboard. This is normally triggered by a magnet in the lower left portion of the display that the tells the computer when it is shut.


Make sure that your Display's sleep settings are set to "Never" on both battery power and AC power. Also, another setting might be affecting the sleep function. Go to System Preferences, then Security and Privacy, then click the Privacy tab, and then Click the Lock to Make Changes. That will allow you to click on "Advanced" in the lower right corner. This will open a pop-up; be sure to UNCHECK "Log out after ___ minutes." That's what was constantly putting my MacBook Air to sleep and logging me out of all open applications. Lots of GRRRR moments trying to figure it out, but once located, it took care of the problem.


Seconding Jerry Mazza's answer above. The same thing was just happening to my Air. The screen just blacked out and would not return until I jiggled everything around for five minutes.

Turns out my ipad pro with magnetic cover was sitting right next to the upper-left section of the keyboard (until my jiggling separated them). I can do it reproducibly now just by sliding the ipad into position... poof: screen goes black.


Make sure the upper left corner of your MacBook air doesn't touch any magnet. Turns out my kindle's magnetic cover is coming into contact with the laptop leading to the screen turing off.

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