Make Minute Adjustments in Your Mac’s ScreenSaver Time

Sometimes you want more granularity than a drop-down menu supplies.  I found myself in this situation with start times for the screen saver on my Mac at work.

I use the initiation of ScreenSaver as a means to lock my machine (since Apple still ignores this vital business-environment feature).  If I’m not actively using that machine I want it to lock as soon as possible.  I also found that the controls in the GUI (the aforementioned drop-down menu) were too limiting.

After some hunting I found the controls necessary.

First, take a look at your current evocation time:

defaults -currentHost read com.apple.screensaver | grep idle

Mine is currently set to 120 (or two minutes).  I understand that anything below 60 will default to 60 so that seems to be the bottom limit.  Here is what you need to do to change your idleTime variable:

defaults -currentHost write com.apple.screensaver idleTime 180

As you can see I specified 120 seconds.  Feel free to test out different times as would be appropriate to your situation.  (Zero (0) means never.)

If you are seeking a command to initiate ScreenSaver directly (perhaps for scripting purposes) this works:

open ‘/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app’

Thanks to this thread for most of this information.

Have fun with that.

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