The Fedora Workstation has a number of features in the GNOME desktop environment to conserve power and increase security. These are both important considerations for desktop and laptop users. One of these features is the automatic screensaver lock function. By default, if idle for 5 minutes, the screen locks. This causes two things to happen:

  • The display goes into a low power mode. This works for both desktops and laptops, causing most screens to power down.
  • The screen saver and lock dialog covers the active user session. To unlock the session, you must input your password.

These are useful functions in many situations. For example, you might walk away from your computer without locking it yourself. Or you might take your attention away from your laptop for a while even if it’s near you, causing it to use up more battery power. Having a screensaver in these cases is helpful.

But sometimes you might want your screen to stay on even when the computer is idle. GNOME has a built-in detector for turning off the screensaver when you make an app full-screen. Chances are you’re doing that for something like playing videos, when you don’t want the screen to lock.

But what if you’re not running a full-screen app? For instance, you might run several long-term apps in a demonstration. Or you might give a presentation and not touch the keyboard or mouse for long periods. In these cases you don’t want the screen to lock.

There’s a handy GNOME Shell extension for this purpose, called Caffeine. The Caffeine extension allows you to toggle the use of the screensaver, so you don’t need to worry about your display locking.

To install it using the Firefox browser, visit the GNOME extension site and install. You’ll see a small coffee cup icon appear in the top bar to show the extension status.

Caffeine icon in the top bar status area

Using Caffeine is easy. Click the icon to disable the auto-suspend and screensaver function in GNOME. You’ll see the coffee cup full of steaming hot caffeinated beverage, meaning it’s on.

Caffeine extension enabled

To turn off the extension, and re-enable the GNOME functions, click it again.

Image courtesy Mike Kenneally — originally posted to Unsplash here.