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ALOHAPPLE

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 3, 2014
35
4
Brand new M1 MacBook Air, set up as new. This is the second time it has happened. Just using Safari... and all of a sudden, this weird screen. The only way I've found to revive it is to close the lid, open it back up and it's right back to where I was. Has anyone else seen this? Video attached.
 
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adamlbiscuit

macrumors regular
Sep 22, 2008
219
169
Brand new M1 MacBook Air, set up as new. This is the second time it has happened. Just using Safari... and all of a sudden, this weird screen. The only way I've found to revive it is to close the lid, open it back up and it's right back to where I was. Has anyone else seen this? Video attached.
View attachment 1685172
Hmmm, that’s definitely one of the default screen savers in MacOS (drift I think it’s called). But it shouldn’t be coming on mid use like that, and when you shake your mouse pointer as in the video, it should stop regardless.

what happens if you go into System Preferences, Desktop & Screen Saver, and then turn the screen saver off altogether? It may stop this from happening. I know it’s more of a band aid solution (if it works at all that is) but at least it may give you a reprieve until there’s a more permanent fix.
 
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ALOHAPPLE

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 3, 2014
35
4
Yeah, you're right that is the screen saver-- Drift. It was set for 20 minutes... I've changed it for Never (Display is set to turn off, through the Battery Setting before that, anyway). Will report back if it happens again. Thanks!
 
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circatee

Contributor
Jul 18, 2020
925
569
There have been a few posts about this issue. Not sure of the solution.
Merely noting, you are not alone in this...

 
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ALOHAPPLE

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 3, 2014
35
4
It's happened to me twice-- including just now-- even after turning off screensaver, completely.
 
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edhchoe

macrumors 65816
Oct 28, 2011
1,286
757
Hotspot (not internet hotspot) activated?
Mouse cursor at certain corner can do that if set up that way
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 68000
Aug 27, 2015
1,666
608
on the land line mr. smith.
If it is related to SMC-like functions, and is a widespread issue, we might see a firmware update to address this. If that is the case...likely nothing to be done other than letting Apple know. Reports/Requests to Apple Support from anybody suffering from this issue would help to escalate it.
 
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Beppy

macrumors newbie
Dec 8, 2020
5
3
Just got my MacBook Air M1 yesterday. Spent hours and hours setting it up. It happened like 3 times. Once on my daughter's account and a couple on my own. We have 4 accounts setup. Screen saver was set to never and none of the savers selected. It was the swirly wormy things that kicked in. Control-Command-Q sometimes worked but otherwise Power Button and get back to the logon screen with the 4 accounts and re-sign in to get out of it.

Was on the phone with Apple. My tech didn't know about it. We tried a few things, asked a bunch of questions. And escalated it. In the mean time I actually selected 1 hours and picked words of the day screen saver. It hasn't happened since (about 2 hours). So maybe all the default settings are causing it until you set it and pick another screen saver.
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 68000
Aug 27, 2015
1,666
608
on the land line mr. smith.
Just got my MacBook Air M1 yesterday. Spent hours and hours setting it up. It happened like 3 times. Once on my daughter's account and a couple on my own. We have 4 accounts setup. Screen saver was set to never and none of the savers selected. It was the swirly wormy things that kicked in. Control-Command-Q sometimes worked but otherwise Power Button and get back to the logon screen with the 4 accounts and re-sign in to get out of it.

Was on the phone with Apple. My tech didn't know about it. We tried a few things, asked a bunch of questions. And escalated it. In the mean time I actually selected 1 hours and picked words of the day screen saver. It hasn't happened since (about 2 hours). So maybe all the default settings are causing it until you set it and pick another screen saver.
If the fix holds, that sounds like a corrupt preference. It would be interesting to trash the preference, to see if that would also fix this.

Thanks for the insight.
 
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anshuvorty

macrumors 68000
Sep 1, 2010
1,672
1,480
California, USA
This looks like it is due to a corrupt macOS install. If there wasn't the formatting issue with M1-based Macs, I would've suggested reinstalling macOS Big Sur on the computer and testing it out again.
 
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Agusto

macrumors newbie
Dec 16, 2020
1
0
Having the exact same problem. I'm a new Mac convert and it's really frustrating. M1 Macbook Pro. Screensaver will just pop on....even though I have been actively using it. Have to close lid and open to get it back. Have noticed that it will still play audio and video behind the screensaver
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 68000
Aug 27, 2015
1,666
608
on the land line mr. smith.
Having the exact same problem. I'm a new Mac convert and it's really frustrating. M1 Macbook Pro. Screensaver will just pop on....even though I have been actively using it. Have to close lid and open to get it back. Have noticed that it will still play audio and video behind the screensaver

I know it is no help...but I would suspect it is teething pains with the new M1 Macs. So much new...and in this case, likely the issue is with what has replaced the old SMC. If so, it may take an update, or perhaps a firmware update to resolve.

On 10.15 and back you could try deleting the preference file(s) that holds sleep setting preferences (no worries, the OS would generate new default files). They live in this directory:

Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences

The files are probably:

com.apple.PowerManagement.plist
com.apple.PowerManagement.[unique identifier number here].plist
com.apple.powerlogd.plist

Any .plist file is just a preference...they can be deleted safely in all versions of MacOS 10 to generate new default preferences. I don't have an M1 Mac with OS 11, so I can't say if preferences are any different now. If you want to view or edit a .plist file manually, it can be done via command line, or, you can use any text editor.

You can also move the .plist files out of the directory, and not delete them. New prefs will be generated once they are gone (moved or deleted), and you open and set the corresponding System Preferences.

This may help...but some functions are beyond preferences, so the only way to know (unless you find someone else that has) would be to try it.
 
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weimenglee

macrumors newbie
Jan 4, 2021
1
0
Not sure if a fix has been listed here. But here is what works for me. Press Alt-Cmd-Q and you will be brought back to the login page. Click Cancel. Then login one more time. Works for me. Hope this helps whoever has the same problem.
 
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Beppy

macrumors newbie
Dec 8, 2020
5
3
Have a case open with Apple, was on the phone with them several times. They collected logs. So form a fresh reboot, my experience is it happens only with multiple accounts and when at least two accounts are logged on. The last tech call with Apple sent me this term server command to run. Once I ran this I hanse't experienced it again. Although I haven't spent a lot of time trying to:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.screensaver loginWindowIdleTime 0

And MacRumors published an article today:
 
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