Is it a good idea to constantly put the screen to sleep?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 25, 2006
I have my options set to turn off the screen after one minute. Even if I'm just going upstairs or something, I'll turn it off after a minute. Is this harmful in the long run? Should I just let a screensaver run? Or is it not a big deal?



macrumors 603
Apr 29, 2005
San Francisco
I would imagine in the long run (years long) that that much turning on and off of the screen would wear it out before letting it just sit there with the screensaver. If anything just get a screensaver that turns the screen black.


GimmeSlack12 said:
If anything just get a screensaver that turns the screen black.
Wouldn't that just do exactly the same thing to the pixels/backlight as setting the screen to turn off after a minute?

I heard the opposite (on this forum somewhere) — that having a screen saver going all the time shortens the life of the backlight, and so setting the screen (through Energy Saver) to dim and then turn off after a reasonable amount of time will prolong its life.


macrumors 68020
Dec 4, 2005
Still here.
I wouldn't worry at all about it. If anything, I would imagine it would preserve the life of the backlight.

I do, however, think that 1 minute it a bit much. I have mine set to 20 minutes, so if I am reading something, it doesn't shut off on me, but if I get up and walk away and start watching TV or something, it goes off on it's own.

For information's sake, my PowerBook monitor is turned off and back on 8-10 times each day. I very rarely sleep the machine, but I always let the monitor relax. :)

Anonymous Freak

macrumors 603
Dec 12, 2002
Nuks, you don't mention what kind of screen.

If it's an LCD/flat panel, then don't worry about it. Either way, it won't make much of a difference. I'd say set it to 5 minutes, just so you don't have to worry about the screen turning off while you're in the middle of reading a long article or something. The power used by an LCD for those occasional 4 extra minutes isn't going to amount to much.

If it's a CRT, then it's a little tougher. CRTs do tend to have the most 'stress' while warming up, so having them turn off and on more often can cause more wear, shortening their life. But unless you're having it go on/off a hundred or more times per day, and are concerned about the long (years) term effects, I also wouldn't worry about it too much, and would set the timer for 5 minutes, for the same 'ease of use' reasons above. Even a 32" TV doesn't exactly use kilowatts of power. (I've measured my eMac, I've calculated that the CRT uses about 80 Watts. Leaving an incandescent lightbulb on is using more power.)

In my house, I leave 6 computers turned on 24/7 (doing distributed computing when not actively in use,) including some power-hungry Pentium 4s. Yet my 1500 Watt space heater uses twice as much energy when it is running than every other device in my house combined.
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