How to use a screen saver on your Mac

Learn how to choose a screen saver, control when it turns on, and set it to require a password.

Choose a screen saver

Your Mac comes with several screen savers that display photos, messages, and more. 

  1. From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Desktop & Screen Saver.
  3. Screen savers appear on left side of the Screen Saver pane, and a preview of the selected screen saver appears on the right. To see a full-screen preview, move your pointer over the preview, then click the Preview button that appears within.


[update for Mojave, including to show a slideshow screen saver selected, and the "Preview" overlay on the right]

If you select a slideshow screen saver, you can use the Source pop-up menu to choose your own photos or one of the built-in slideshow collections.

Choose when and how to start the screen saver

Use the “Start after” pop-up menu to choose how long your Mac needs to be inactive before the screen saver starts. If you don’t want a screen saver to start automatically, choose Never.

The Hot Corners button gives you options to start or stop the screen saver or put your display to sleep by moving your pointer to one of the corners of the screen. Choose an option from the pop-up menu that corresponds to a specific corner.


[Show "Put Display to Sleep" selected in a third pop-up menu]

Require a password after the screen saver begins

You can set your Mac to require your login password to unlock your screen and exit the screen saver. C

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Security & Privacy.
  3. From the General pane, select the option to require password after sleep or screen saver begins.

Turn off your display or put it to sleep

Your Mac uses its processor, graphics chip, and display when it shows a screen saver. To save energy, you can use Energy Saver preferences to choose how long your Mac needs to be inactive before the display turns off or goes to sleep.

  1. From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Energy Saver.
  3. Use the slider to choose the time of inactivity. If you set your display to turn off before the screen saver starts, the screen saver won't start after a period of inactivity. If you're using a notebook computer, such as a MacBook Pro, you can set different times based on whether you're using your battery or a power adapter.

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