Quickly Sleep the Display in Mac OS X with a Hot Corner

Dec 5, 2011 - 13 Comments

Hot corners on the Mac to sleep the display You can quickly sleep the display of a Mac or immediately start a screen saver by setting up Hot Corners, which are activated just by sliding your cursor into the specified corners of the screen. This is a great way to quickly hide what’s on the display, but also as a way to initiate a screen saver or lock screen, which will then require a password to use the Mac again.

It only takes a moment to configure this, though the settings for Hot Corners has been moved in new versions of Mac OS X to become part of Mission Control. Here’s what you’ll want to do to get this working:

How to Set a Hot Corner to Sleep Display on Mac, or Start Screensaver

  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” (or “Start Screen Saver”)
  4. Close out of System Preferences and test the Hot Corner by sliding your cursor into that screens corner

Quick Sleep the Display of a Mac with Hot Corners

In the screenshot example, the lower right corner is set to put the display to sleep, while the lower left corner starts the screen saver. Thus there are two hot corners enabled on this particular Mac setup.

Sleeping the display is more akin to turning it off, and the screen just ends up black, but it’s not the same as putting the Mac to sleep. Basically the display goes to sleep until the Mac is in use again, but the computer itself is ‘awake’ and on the entire time. This contrasts to when the entire Mac itself is put to sleep, which puts the entire computer into a paused sleep state.

This screen sleep feature can also double as a means of immediately locking down the Mac, because the password feature used to enable the Mac OS X lock screen protection functions the same regardless of how the screen is actually locked, whether it’s through a hot corner or a keyboard shortcut. In both cases, so long as you have a password enabled for the lock or screensaver screen, you will need to enter the login credentials again to regain access to the Mac OS X desktop.

Hot Corners work in all versions of MacOS and Mac OS X, including macOS Mojave, High Sierra, El Capitan, Sierra, Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Lion, and Snow Leopard. Aside from hot corners, the newest versions of MacOS also have the advantage of including a keystroke for Lock Screen to instantly lock a Mac, as well as a menu item.

Sleeping a Mac display by Hot Corner is a great feature, particularly if a Mac is in a public setting or office and you want to be able to quickly sleep the screen when you walk away from a computer or just have a bit more control over when exactly a display goes to sleep, even as a power saving mechanism.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. BruceS says:

    Many thanks, Paul. Happily using a PC keyboard with my iMac except….where there is neither an Eject nor Power button on the keyboard, can’t sleep the display from it. Hot Corner does the trick, tho’.

  2. Andrey says:

    Great thing. Thanks for telling. Firstly I was trying to do it through shortcuts.

  3. Bray says:

    Thanks for telling me how to access these settings – you’ve just helped to disable this most irritating feature! It really is not easy to find if you don’t know what it’s called or where to look for it. One would expect they’d be under touchpad or display.

    • Kate says:

      Ditto! I just happened to stumble on this page after months of searching. I don’t even know how the stupid hot corner got activated on my computer. Annoying…

  4. SuperDuperChiQ says:

    Thank you SO much for this!! I was wondering and a bit irritated that the new mountain lion didn’t have this feature and lo and behold it does. Thank you!

  5. […] popular approach is to use a hot corner for inducing sleep immediately, but that’s easier to accidentally trigger than a keyboard shortcut. Similarly, if you have […]

  6. […] Corners are a great feature of Mac OS X that let you instantly enable things like the screen saver, sleep, the lock screen, LaunchPad, Dashboard, Mission Control, and new with Mountain Lion, Notification […]

  7. NumT says:

    Personally I’m not a fan of hot corners either – I find them far too easy to trip accidentally. Anyway, I just wanted to add that the way I do this is through the SHIFT-CTRL-EJECT shortcut. Much easier!

  8. alex says:

    I’ve been using hot-corners since before gestures existed. As far back as Mac OS7. It all comes down to what helps the work flow of the person who has to use the computer. This also opens up gestures to perform other functions. But still, for those of us without touch-pads, or who use both, hot-corners makes more sense. And when I want the Menu, which is rare, i just move the cursor to the Apple; and the tangent of going to the corner accidentally is easily fixed by going back to the same corner.

    Though I do know what you mean, I use them, and every time someone who doesn’t uses my computer normally tries to they end up someplace the don’t mean to be.

  9. Makka says:

    In my opinion Active Screen Corners is the most annoying feature of Mac OS X.

    It’s so annoying when you work as a system administrator at a company which has a few hundred Macs and everyone has set their own Active Screen Corners preferences.

    When I want to click on the Apple logo on those Macs, I just move the cursor to the top left side of the screen, but on every Mac something else happens. Some people configures their Mac to open Dashboard, other people have it configured to open Mission Control, others use this corner to start the screen saver. It’s so annoying. I just want to click the Apple logo, but it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen when moving the cursor to a corner of the screen.

    I know, if Dashboard or Mission Control or a screen saver starts, it means I’ve moved the cursor too far to the corner, but I don’t use Active Screen Corners myself (why should I if I can use gestures?), so I’m used to just quickly moving my cursor to the cursor of the screen.

  10. alex says:

    I use the hot corners for dashboard, mission control, application windows, and launchpad.

    It was the closest I could get to ‘gestures’ before gestures, and I can do it with my mouse. Which works great when i’m in OSX on the desktop where I have yet to buy a track-pad, but like one handed control.

  11. Matt says:

    I forgot these exist, good tip

Leave a Reply


Shop on Amazon.com and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks


iPhone / iPad



Shop on Amazon to help support this site