Here are two Caffeine alternatives for keeping your Mac awake

By , Feb 17, 2016

caffeine app keep mac awake menu bar icon

Yesterday, my colleague Anthony ran an informative tutorial that does a good job covering two ways to keep your Mac from sleeping, dimming or showing a screensaver: one is based on a little bit of Terminal magic and the other involves using a free of charge utility, called Caffeine.

As easy to use as Caffeine is, it suffers from not having been updated in years so it has some issues with OS X Yosemite and El Capitan.

Its icon, for example, is not Retina-compatible and looks odd in Yosemite’s dark mode. That said, I want to share with you a pair of apps that one-up Caffeine at its own game.

Amphetamine, a full-on Caffeine replacement

Created by William Gustafson, Amphetamine supports high-resolution Retina displays, looks good in Yosemite’s dark mode and features a bunch of options to customize it to your liking. Oh, and if you’re unhappy with its menu bar icon, you can use your own custom icons for Amphetamine’s menu bar images.

It basically does everything Caffeine does, and then some more. For instance, Amphetamine features system-wide hotkey support and supports scheduled activation and deactivation for specific times of the day.

Amphetamine for Mac teaser 001

You have numerous activation time presets at your disposal and can create your own, too. Amphetamine can automatically kick in upon yours connecting to a specific Wi-Fi network and will keep your hard drives and solid state storage awake, too.

It can auto-deactivate itself when your Mac’s battery drops below a set threshold and re-activate when you connect the Mac to power. You can even use custom notification sounds and customize Amphetamine with full AppleScript support.

The app is free and contains no ads or In-App Purchases.

Download Amphetamine at no charge in the App Store.

KeepingYouAwake, an up-to-date Caffeine clone

If you’re a believer in Apple’s official command line utility, you’re going to love this nifty utility. KeepingYouAwake is basically a wrapper around the “Caffeinate” Terminal command which can be used to alter your Mac’s sleep behavior.

KeepingYouAwake for OS X Mac screenshot 001

It also does everything Caffeine does but also is Retina-compatible and looks good in Yosemite’s dark menu bar mode. You can also deactivate it when your Mac’s battery capacity drops below a custom threshold. The most recent latest pre-release version of KeepingYouAwak comes with an experimental Notification Center integration.

KeepingYouAwake for OS X Mac screenshot 002

You can download KeepingYouAwake for free on GitHub.

Wrapping it up

For me, Caffeine doesn’t quite cut it anymore and I don’t see any advantage to using it over Amphetamine, which I’ve been using happily for quite some time now.

Pictured top of post: Caffeine for Mac in action

Do you know of other apps for keeping the Mac awake aside from Caffeine, Amphetamine and KeepingYouAwake? If so, tell us about them in the comments.

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  • Thanks, will be checking it out today

  • triggerhappypunk

    Thanks for this great write up. I’ve been using Caffeine since like the Pac-Man days. I just installed Amphetamine and really like the trigger feature to activate/deactivate while an app is running. Most days I need about 8-12 hours of no sleep, so with Caffeine I either had to set it indefinitely or set it again after 5 hours passed. With Amphetamine, I set it up to trigger with RDP application, and so far in testing it’s been perfect! And the “heartbeat” sound effect has some great bass depth, bonus 🙂

  • Zohar

    InsomniaX is excellent too. It has many options and can prevent your Macbook to sleep when the lid is closed. It’s basically a supercharged KeepingYouAwake. Love it.

  • DrPeril

    I switched from Caffeine to Should I Sleep for everything but the server (only because Caffeine uses almost no resources). It’s great. You can set it to stay awake for an amount of time or to not sleep based on CPU, bandwidth or application usage, as well as motion and sound detection. It’s great knowing my system will stay awake for a data transfer and then go to sleep once everything is done. Super handy.

  • toedjoetiga

    InsomniaX is good!

  • I’m a bit sad Coca did not make it into the article. 🙁

    It sticks more closely to the design of Caffeine. Also it can be downloaded for free from the App Store.

  • Timothy

    What do these tools offer that the Energy Saver preference pane or Hot Corners don’t?

  • BrS

    Caffeine doesn’t seem to work properly on newer versions of OS X either.

  • Cheers for your Article, mate. Amphetamine is really dope 🙂