Caffeine: Keep Your Screen Awake!

Complete Score: 38 / 42 = 90.5%

Ever watch a video on your computer and get annoyed by having to move the mouse or disable your screen saver to keep the video on the screen? Well, if you’re on a Mac those annoying times are long gone. Caffeine is one of those great programs that I bet nearly everyone would love to have but is truly at home on a Mac. It’s a tiny (only 240 KB) program that sits in the menu bar and allows you to disable or enable your screen saver and monitor sleep mode with a simple click.


Caffeine is free to download and use. It’s got a tiny footprint and uses barely any system resources. It sits in the menu bar out of the way, patiently waiting for you to enable or disable it. It might only save a few seconds when compared to disabling your screen saver manually via system preferences, but having the visual status right in the menu bar is crucial. Sure we could just go to the system menu and turn off the screen saver, but what about remembering to turn it back on?

The vastness of the preferences menu boggles the mind
The vastness of the preferences menu boggles the mind

Over time, Caffeine ends up saving the user resources by easily letting us see if we’ve remembered to re-enable our screen savers. Plus in version 1.0.2, Caffeine adds a sub-menu, accessible by holding down Command before clicking the coffee cup icon, that allows us to set a time limit for how long Caffeine should be active for. Watching a movie before falling asleep? Just set Caffeine and forget it, knowing your screen saver will turn on after the movie ends.

Score: 4.5 / 5


Simple, elegant, and efficient, there’s little to improve upon here. Caffeine only does one small task but it does it damn well and looks good doing it too!

Score: 4.5 / 5


Caffeine is one of those programs you might not realize you need until you begin using it. At first I thought, it’s not that useful, it just saves me a step when watching a video, but after converting my TV time to Hulu time, caffeine has gotten a lot of use to keep my screen saver at bay while I watch The Daily Show. It’s not a world changing piece of software but the design and implementation is perfect.

Score: 5 / 5

Caffeine is so simple, we've shown you all its menus & options
Caffeine is so simple, we've already shown you all its menus & options

Social Benefit

By allowing users better control over their screen savers and monitor sleep modes, Caffeine ends up saving us energy by re-enabling the screen saver and sleep mode after a period of 5, 10, 15, 30, 60, or 120 minutes. The software is also free to download and use. If it was open-source, it might receive a five here.

Score: 4 / 5


If you own a Mac and watch any amount of videos, there’s really no reason not to use Caffeine. It’s free, useful, and simple.

Score: 20 / 22

Caffeine for Macintosh systems is available for free at Lighthead Software.

Complete Score: 38 / 42 = 90.5%

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