There are a variety of reasons why you would want to keep the lid closed on your MacBook. To free up space on your desk, you might wish to connect to an external monitor and move your MacBook out of the way (although you could always use both screens). Alternatively, you may try to download a software update or play music from your Mac. And discover that the download stops as soon as the lid is close.

When using a MacBook with the lid closed, there are a few things to keep in mind

The good news is that if you have a newer Mac and a newer version of the Mac operating system, this is a lot easier than it used to be. In reality, if you’re having trouble operating your Mac with the lid closed, you might be able to solve the problem by updating to a newer version of macOS – if your Mac supports it; otherwise, try the instructions below.

  • An external keyboard can be connected (can be wireless).
  • An external mouse should be connected (can be wireless).
  • Connect an external monitor to the computer.
  • If you’re using a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard, ensure sure Bluetooth is turned on and the peripherals are connected to your Mac.

After your Mac notebook’s Desktop displays on the external monitor, close the lid.
Your external monitor may briefly turn off, but it will again display your desktop (you may need to wake your Mac by pressing a key on the keyboard or moving the mouse).
Your MacBook may require the use of a power adaptor in order for the screen to appear on the external monitor, but ours did not.

MacBook with the lid closed

To switch on the MacBook with the lid closed, follow these steps.

Without lifting the lid, you may easily wake up your MacBook by clicking or moving the mouse or tapping on the keyboard. But what if you don’t want to open the lid to display the power button in order to start the Mac?

  • Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
  • Select Energy Saver from the menu.
  • Select Schedule from the drop-down menu.
  • Select the days and times you want your Mac to start up by clicking beside Start Up or Wake.
  • The Mac will only turn on when it plug into power, so you can keep it unplugged for a while.  And then plug it in when you want it to start up.

How to keep a MacBook from going to sleep while the lid is closed

Let’s say you don’t want your MacBook to go to sleep when you close the lid. Perhaps it’s busy downloading something and you don’t want it to stop. But you need to transport it, or perhaps you’ve left it overnight downloading an update or syncing your Time Machine backup.  And you don’t want to see the backlit keyboard. Another situation is that you want to listen to music from your MacBook without having to open the lid, which is likely to appeal to a few DJs.

If your Mac does not hook in and attach to an external display. It will go to sleep when you close the lid.

You could make a never-ending list. In the System Preferences, you can choose to never go to sleep. Select ‘Prevent your Mac from automatically sleeping when the display is off’ from the Energy Saver menu.

‘Wake for network access’ is another option in System Preferences > Energy Saver. Which should allow your Mac to run updates in the background even while it’s resting.

Even with these settings, closing the lid will put the Mac to sleep if you aren’t using an external display. Fortunately, there are some third-party apps that can help you avoid falling asleep with the lid closed:


This small tool, which costs 99p on the Mac App Store, prevents your Mac from going to sleep.


Amphetamine is a free application from the Mac App Store that keeps your Mac awake by bypassing the Energy Saver settings.


This programme, which costs 99p on the Mac App Store.   The Energy Saver settings to keep your Mac awake and prevent it from sleeping.

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