Most of the time, using the computer means staring at the computer screen, one hand clasped around the mouse, the other standing ready at your keyboard. However, a lot of us use our computer for more than just Internet browsing. We use it to convert video, render images and compile code. Sometimes, we even use it to charge a cellphone.
At times like those mentioned above, you won’t necessarily be sitting behind your computer, eyes fixed on whatever relevant process indicator. More likely, you’ll get a warm beverage (like coffee), stretch your legs, and go to sleep.
It’s quite a source of frustration to then find out that your computer has fallen asleep mere moments after you stopped giving it your undivided attention. After several hours (or maybe an entire night), the process indicator shows a measly single digit – likely not what you imagined. For times like these – batch processing, big transfers and the charging of cellphones – you should be able to keep your Mac from sleeping.
If you’ve looked for these kind of utilities before, chances are you’ve laid eyes on Caffeine. It’s the most popular utility to keep your Mac from falling asleep. Usage is very simple. Installing Caffeine adds a small cup of coffee to your Mac OS X menu bar. From this menu, you can direct Caffeine to keep your computer from falling asleep indefinitely, or for a specified amount of time.
Caffeine has always been the most popular kid in class. Jackson reviewed the app for MakeUseOf back in 2008. However, starting with Mac OS X 10.7 (Mountain Lion), and similarly with Mac OS X 10.8 (Lion), some users are having less success with the utility. Don’t worry, there are a lot of great alternatives.
As an alternative to Caffeine, Sleep No More works essentially the same. It, too, adds an inconspicuous icon to the Mac OS X menu bar. Clicking it, you can specify how long you want the utility to postpone computer sleep, display sleep, or both.
Sleep No More is singular in its functionality, only allowing you to postpone sleep for a given amount of time. This makes Sleep No More a breeze to use. It also doesn’t hurt that the application is beautifully designed.
For more information, take a look at Justin’s Sleep No More review.
The two apps above work very similar to one another. Now for something completely different, Should I Sleep? attempts to automate the entire process using sensory input from your computer. Instead of specifying the amount of time you want to keep your computer from sleep, Should I Sleep? looks to see whether you’re still using your computer.
Should I Sleep? is initially free to download, but requires small in-app purchases to activate the different sensors and detection features, like Face Detection, Camera Motion, Sound Activity, External Display, Download Monitor and Processor Usage. For just under $3, you can activate all the sensors in one go, and make sure your computer never skips out on you again.
If you want to keep your laptop awake to use it with your media center, or otherwise to use it with the lid closed, that’s exactly what NoSleep is here to do. Normally, your laptop goes into sleep as soon as you close its lid, unless it’s outputting to an external display and charging. NoSleep allows you to keep your computer awake, even after closing the lid!
This is ideal if you’re looking to use your laptop as a media server, broadcasting files to other computers. Are you worried about power consumption? I would too. Luckily, NoSleep lets you make the distinction between adapter sleep and battery sleep.
Why do you want to keep your Mac from sleeping? Let us know your reasons (and your preferred solution), in the comments section below the article!