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When I step away from my computer, I want to turn the screensaver on. Any suggestions for how I could do that?

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Do you have the screen saver set to automatically turn on after a couple minutes when you walk away? (Desktop and Screen Saver Preference Pane in System Preferences) – Chealion Aug 26 '10 at 23:56
up vote 16 down vote accepted

If you don't want to use Expose, there's another option:

The screensaver is actually an application located at:


You can just make an alias/shortcut to this app, drag the shortcut into your dock or wherever you want it and when you want the screensaver you can just launch the app.

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Settings -> Expose and Spaces -> Expose -> Acive Screen Corners -> Pick one of the corners and choose Start Screen Saver.

I chose top left and set a password for my mac so whenever someone is around and I need to step away I simply slide my mouse to the top left and bam..screensaver innocently starts hehe :D

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that's what I do, too .. and I have the upper-right corner be the screen off option. – warren Aug 25 '10 at 3:34
You can also access the active screen corners from Desktop and Screen Saver -> Hot Corners... in System Preferences. – Scott Aug 25 '10 at 11:42
+1, this is my preferred method – spectre256 Aug 27 '10 at 0:03
You can just press ⌃⇧⏏ (Control-Shift-Eject) to turn off the display, or ⌥⌘⏏ (Option-Command-Eject) to sleep. Also, if you have a magic mouse you can use to e.g. activate the screensaver by touching the apple stem. – Mk12 Aug 31 '10 at 18:22
Unintuitively, setting a password for the screensaver is not in the Screen Saver control panel, but in the "Security & Privacy" control panel. – MarkHu Mar 8 '13 at 19:04

You can also make an app in Automator.

  • Open a new workflow. Choose "Application"
  • Browse to "Utilities" in the "Actions" pane
  • Drag the "Start Screen Saver" action to the workflow window on the right
  • Choose "Save As", name it "start screensaver", file format is "Application"
  • Save it in your applications folder

The bonus to this is that you can launch it via Spotlight just by using the spotlight shortcut and typing "scree" for it to appear

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This is my preferred method over an alias because, unlike an alias, an automator app can be dropped into "Applications" and run from Spotlight without receiving the "This application is used by Mac OS S and can't be opened" error. Win! – chuckg Dec 20 '11 at 20:14

You could consider combining ideas. Have a very short delay before your screen saver starts up (<5 mins) Use the 'hot corner' mentioned earlier. And for extra geeky fun - you can have your mac watch for a bluetooth signal (from your phone in your pocket) and when it goes out of range - start up your screensaver.

These links explain in more detail:

But then you have to make sure you keep your phone in your pocket and not sitting on the table next to your mac! :)

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I use LockTight at work which is kind of like "windowskey + L" for Macs' :-)

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