How to keep MacBook active when closed? Anyone who uses this type of computer knows well how once it is closed it allows itself a more or less well-deserved nap.
Still, closing the device in question can be useful in several cases. From the need to connect an external monitor, to simply moving the MacBook. Until recently, the actions to be taken were rather limited, unless you adopt a specific software (developed by third-party developers ).
Keep your MacBook active when closed? Some clarifications for using it with an external monitor
Even before delving into this issue, a clarification must be made. What actually happens when we close a MacBook?
A device of this kind, when it is in its “dormant” state, is not completely turned off. In fact, it still keeps both the USB ports and the Bluetooth system fully active. This can be valuable when connecting an external monitor, as theoretically it allows you to use the MacBook as a normal computer.
Having a separate display and ports capable of reading keyboard and mouse, you can also use the Apple product as a common desktop PC. So let’s go see what are the specific advice in this regard from the company.
The official Apple method for using external monitors
Apple, already with updates of its MacOS operating system a few years ago, has provided for the possibility of using MacBooks with closed integrated displays and with connection to external displays or projectors.
This mode of use is defined as indoor closed or closed-display and requires the use of external peripherals, such as a mouse, keyboard, and monitor. If you use your MacBook with an external display, we recommend that you take a look at the selection of the best monitors with 4k and 5k resolution for use with Apple products.
Premise: to use the closed MacBook with an external display, you must always leave it connected to the power supply.
We, therefore, connect the Mac to the external display and wait for the desktop to be displayed on this, in case of non-display it is necessary to restart. We can now proceed with the connection of the keyboard and mouse (via cable or Bluetooth). In case we choose to use Bluetooth devices we must make sure that the appropriate technology is active in the Bluetooth panel of System Preferences or with the icon of the Bluetooth menu.
Subsequently, once the mouse and keyboard have been paired, let’s go back to the Bluetooth panel of System Preferences, click on Advanced and make sure that the check box next to Allow Bluetooth devices to bring the computer out of sleep is selected. After these precautions and after seeing the active desk on the external monitor we can proceed with closing the MacBook and using it in closed-display mode.
How to keep MacBook active when closed?
In case you have no intention of connecting a monitor, it is still possible to keep a MacBook active when closed by exploiting the potential of InsomniaX. This is free software that allows you to keep the laptop running, even when the lid is physically closed.
To use InsomniaX it is necessary to download the file (available in .tgz format), unzip it and drag the execution file to the Applications folder, and then activate it from the menu bar.
Once this is done, it is possible to view the many options proposed by InsomniaX, and select the one that will be used to keep the MacBook active when it is closed, which is Disable Lid Sleep.
What options can you use to customize your wakefulness activity?
We talked about “many options” not by chance. InsomniaX is a feature-rich tool that allows you to customize the activity of your “sleeping” MacBook. Specifically, it is possible to set values such as the minutes during which to keep your MacBook active from the moment it is closed. This is possible by simply clicking on Disable Lid Sleep for…, a very useful option, for example, to listen to music or to download something from the web.
Going to Preferences, then, you can further customize the program: for example, the Safety CPU option will send the MacBook to sleep in case it overheats. And you can also create some handy shortcuts to activate your MacBook with a simple click, without always having to fiddle with the application settings.
Finally, it is good that you know that InsomniaX is a “passive” software: this means that to use it, you will always have to activate it again once the MacBook is turned on. The reason is due to the fact that, otherwise, its activation could be forgotten and cause excessive consumption of hardware resources.
Of course, Insomnia isn’t the only useful app for keeping your MacBook active when it’s closed. Other developers have gone to great lengths to offer similar software.
For example, Insomniac is an app available on the App Store for free. This is a mini-application that takes up about 500 KB and runs on OS X 10.8 or later operating systems. Insomniac is, as expected, a basic solution, easy to master even for less experienced users.
Another useful software to the cause is Amphetamine, another very valuable free solution. In this case, we are talking about a slightly more elaborate app. Despite this, its basic use is quite simple. The same can in fact is activated with a simple on / off switch. Amphetamine also offers advanced functions, while maintaining an interface that is simple to decrypt.
Finally, the Caffeinated – Anti-Sleep App is the only paid app on the list ($ 3.99). Despite this, it must be said that this is an amazing solution when it comes to keeping the MacBook active when closed. In fact, this software offers a series of advanced functions such as integrated timer (with possible notification), optimization for Retina screens, optimized battery management, and much more. Caffeinated is compatible with all the latest versions of macOS.