Friday, November 11, 2011

How To Create Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcut for Screen Saver (Lock Screen)

This article will show you how to easily create a Mac OS X keyboard shortcut to open the Screen Saver application (and lock the screen).

For Apple Magic Trackpad users, it will also show you how to setup a gesture to instantly activate the Screen Saver (and lock the screen).

- Mac OS X
- Quicksilver (free download)

Optional: (For Apple Magic Trackpad users, to setup a gesture to active Screen Saver.)
- Apple Magic Trackpad
- BetterTouchTool (free download)

Other methods to do this include pressing CTRL-SHIFT-EJECT (has a longer lag time to start up compared with activating Screen Saver), setting up Keychain Access to "Lock Screen" (requires click from menu bar and another click to activate) and setting up Hot Corners (many people prefer other methods than this, for various reasons), but we feel our method works the best (quickest, easy and free).

How To Create a Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcut to Open Screen Saver Application (Lock Screen)

  1. Enable password for screen saver. To do this:
    Open System Preferences and click Security & Privacy. Check the "Require password after sleep or screen saver begins" box.
  2. Copy Screen Saver application from "/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Versions/A/Resources/" to your Applications folder.
  3. Download Quicksilver and install.
  4. Open Quicksilver and setup desired trigger (keyboard shortcut) to open Screen Saver application (the one copied to Applications directory). Ensure Quicksilver application is set to "Start at login", from the preferences menu.
And there you have it - simply use the keyboard shortcut you have setup to activate the Screen Saver (and lock the screen)!

How To Setup a Gesture to Quickly Open Screen Saver Application (Apple Magic Trackpad Users)

  1. Download BetterTouchTool and install.
  2. Setup Magic Trackpad gesture to activate the Custom Keyboard Shortcut that you have just setup above.
And now all you have to do is use your gesture to activate the Screen Saver (and lock the screen)! I personally use the "5 finger click" gesture.


Anonymous said...

Rather than copying to the Applications folder, it's somewhat cleaner to just add an entry to Quicksilver's catalog that contains it.

alcheme said...

Great solution. Works!

John said...

Good to know this is possible. However Mac OS has a built in shortcut which is CTRL-SHIFT-POWERBUTTON

Luke Kowald said...

That's great John. Thanks for the share. Makes it super simple.

Luke Kowald said...

Although when MacBook Pro is hooked up to an external monitor with external keyboard and mouse/trackpad, this shortcut is unfortunately not available.

Luke Kowald said...

So depends on one's setup.

In my scenario I use MacBook Pro in closed position when hooked up to externals.