How to disable sleep on a macbook when the lid closes

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How to disable sleep on a macbook when the lid closes
Use an external keyboard with a MacBook in clamshell mode. (keyboard image by Eisenhans from

Apple MacBook computers can operate with the lid closed. This is known by Apple as "clamshell" or "closed display" mode. The three critical ingredients to enable a MacBook to run in clamshell mode are an external keyboard, mouse and display. Without these external peripherals, it is not possible to use a MacBook in clamshell mode. The process simply requires connecting these peripherals and closing the lid of your MacBook. Closing the lid on a MacBook automatically puts the system to sleep, so you must first wake it up to continue using the system in clamshell mode.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • External keyboard
  • External mouse
  • External monitor

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  1. 1

    Connect an external keyboard and mouse to your MacBook. These can either be wired with USB or Bluetooth devices.

  2. 2

    Connect your MacBook to an external display. Be sure to check that the desktop of your MacBook shows up on the external monitor.

  3. 3

    Close the MacBook's lid. It will go to sleep when you close the lid.

  4. 4

    Wake the computer up, either by moving the external mouse or by pressing a key on the external keyboard. Once the system awakens, you can use it as normal.

Tips and warnings

  • When using a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard with a MacBook in clamshell mode, verify that the Bluetooth preference, "Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer," is enabled.
  • Your MacBook will run at a higher temperature with the lid closed.

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