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

  • 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, 2010 at 23:56

5 Answers 5


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

On Sierra or lower, the screensaver is actually an application located at:


On High Sierra it is 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.

  • 2
    It's not there anymore on Sierra.
    – Bastien
    Nov 11, 2016 at 21:14

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

  • 1
    that's what I do, too .. and I have the upper-right corner be the screen off option.
    – warren
    Aug 25, 2010 at 3:34
  • 1
    You can also access the active screen corners from Desktop and Screen Saver -> Hot Corners... in System Preferences.
    – Scott
    Aug 25, 2010 at 11:42
  • 1
    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 magicprefs.com to e.g. activate the screensaver by touching the apple stem.
    – mk12
    Aug 31, 2010 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, 2013 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

  • 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, 2011 at 20:14
  • This is definitely the way to do this so you can run it from Spotlight! Feb 21, 2020 at 18:33

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: http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/33239/proximity%2c-bluetooth%2c-screensaver-security

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


I use LockTight at work which is kind of like "windowskey + L" for Macs' :-) http://www.gkoya.com/2006/11/23/locktight-for-mac-os-x-intel/

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