If I were to list some of the simplest, yet most useful apps that I have downloaded on my Mac, a nifty little program that lives on my menu bar called Caffeine would definitely be in the top 5. As it is aptly named, Caffeine is an unobtrusive app that acts as a toggle for the Mac’s “sleep” functionality. By activating Caffeine, the app overrides any “sleep” timer that you might have put on your Mac through the System Preferences, allowing your computer to stay on until you choose to disable Caffeine again.
How might this be useful, you might ask? One of the frequent ways that I use Caffeine is when I need to keep my computer on for long downloads (perhaps a video game or movie.) When your Mac goes to sleep, it automatically stops all downloads that are in progress, so leaving your computer idle while you wait to finish downloading that new game will stop the download the moment your Mac goes into sleep mode. Of course, you can simply disable sleep mode in the System Preferences, but instead of going through all that trouble, Caffeine allows you to do it with a simple click of a button, right from the menu bar.
Another way that I frequently use Caffeine is for when I’m watching movies on my Mac. Because I don’t usually touch the mouse or do anything interactive with the computer when I’m watching a movie, after some time I see the screen dim (warning me that I’m about to go into sleep mode) and I have to wiggle my mouse to brighten the screen again. This problem is completely eliminated with the use of this nifty app.
Perhaps the biggest issue users have reportedly had with the Caffeine app is that it doesn’t allow you to keep your Mac active even when you close the lid. However, it is important to note that although doing this is possible, one of the biggest problems that is created is the potential risk of causing your Mac to overheat. There’s really no advantage to getting your Macbook to stay on, even when you close the lid.
Caffeine is available as a free download on the Mac App Store. You can get it using the one of the download links conveniently located on this page. Get Caffeine.
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Charles is the founder and administrator of iTracki.com. After years of following and keeping up with Apple products, he founded this website and worked with others to bring the best news, reviews, tutorials, and editorials straight to you.