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How to keep a laptop on when closed

Extend your workspace without losing laptop functionality, thanks to these nifty tweaks.

Published onAugust 3, 2023

The best laptops have enough processing power to act as desktop replacements, so it’s natural to have these portable machines plugged into a large external monitor. You might want to shut the lid if you’re one of those users, but Windows and Apple laptops are designed to sleep or shut down once the lid is shut. Thankfully, you can override this. Here’s how to keep your laptop on when closed.


To keep your Windows laptop on when closed, access the Power Options menu within the Control Panel. Select Choose what closing the lid does, and adjust your settings accordingly.

If you own a MacBook, access System Preferences by clicking the Apple logo. Then, click Battery > Power Adapter, and toggle on Prevent your Mac from automatically sleeping when the display is off.


How to keep your Windows laptop on when closed

Windows provides a straightforward method to ensure your laptop remains on after you close it.

  1. Open Control Panel.
open control panel 1
  1. Click on Power Options.
power options control panel 1
  1. Click Choose what closing the lid does on the left pane.
choose what closing lid does laptop 1
Andy Walker / Android Authority
  1. Go to the When I close the lid option. Change the On battery and Plugged in drop-down boxes to Do nothing.
control panel laptop closed do nothing 1
  1. Click on Save Changes to finish.

You can access the Windows Control Panel power settings via other means, including the modern Settings app > System > Power & sleep > Additional power settings. Alternatively, you can access Power Options by right-clicking the Battery icon at the bottom right of your screen.

Now, when you close your Windows laptop, it will stay on. If you want your laptop to sleep, hibernate, or shut down, manually select the option from the Windows start menu.

How to keep your MacBook on when closed

apple macbook air 15 inch closed
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

You can keep your MacBook on even if the lid is shut in several ways. We detail three below.

How to keep your MacBook on through system preferences

Apple’s official recommendation is also the most popular method for MacBooks. Importantly, you can only use this method when your MacBook is plugged in — the setting will be disabled once you disconnect from the wall.

  1. Select the Apple Logo in the top left corner of your screen.
  2. Click on System Preferences > Battery.
  3. Click on Power Adapter in the left pane.
  4. Select the box that says Prevent your Mac from automatically sleeping when the display is off.

You can close your MacBook and use an external monitor. Don’t forget to keep it plugged in.

How to keep your MacBook on through Terminal

Macbook Terminal PMSET Disable Sleep
Joe Hindy / Android Authority

If you’re comfortable using Terminal, this method prevents sleep mode on your MacBook even if it’s not plugged in. It may seem advanced, but the process is really simple.

  1. Open Launchpad and search for Terminal. Then, open it.
  2. In the terminal, type sudo pmset disablesleep 1 and press the Return key.
  3. Enter your password or passcode when prompted.
  4. To re-enable sleep, type sudo pmset disablesleep 0 and press the Return key.

Like earlier, you will be prompted to enter your password or passcode. As a side note, you can also press the up arrow key to show and re-enter previous commands in the terminal, making it easier to repeat.

How to keep your MacBook on when closed with third-party apps

Several third-party apps help you keep your MacBook awake using an anti-sleep feature that disables when you close the lid. They provide additional functionality beyond Apple’s stock actions, which could benefit those who prefer more control.

  • Sleep Control Centre: This app provides comprehensive controls to manage your MacBook’s sleep behavior. With the lid shut, you can command your laptop to remain awake and tweak sleep settings using pre-set timers. You need to pay for the pro version to unlock all features. You can find it on the App Store.
  • Amphetamine: Amphetamine helps to keep your MacBook awake in specific scenarios or for specified durations. It uses “sessions” and provides a seamless on/off toggle for your convenience. You can find it on the App Store.
  • InsomniaX: This freely available tool adds an icon in your menu bar, allowing you to thwart sleep mode when your MacBook is idle or the lid is closed. InsomniaX is better used on older maps, as it’s no longer supported. It’s available through GitHub.


In theory, no, laptops were designed to operate at their best with the lid open. You may forget to shut it down when the lid is closed. There’s also the risk of overheating. Your laptop can get hot if it’s closed and performs intense processing tasks or charges. We recommend you keep an eye on its temperature.

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