Keep Your Mac Awake with Wimoweh

We’ve probably all set an app to perform a task, convert videos or download a big file, and then walked off to do something else. When you get back, though, the worst possible thing that could happen did; your computer went to sleep, you lost all of your progress, and you have to start over.

Sure, you can change when your Mac goes to sleep in System Preferences, but you have to remember to change it back or you could end up in worse trouble. Let’s face it, though, you’re not going to remember to constantly change those preferences. You don’t have to, though, because Wimoweh is going to keep your Mac awake. Let it know what applications to be on the look out for, and it won’t let your Mac sleep. But how does it stand up to competitor Caffeine? We’ll find out!

The Lion Doesn’t Sleep Tonight

Wimoweh is an app to keep your computer from going to sleep when you don’t want it to. I didn’t get the joke in its name right off, so I’ll put it out there, in case you’re in the same camp as me: it comes from the old song, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Wimoweh, wimoweh… Get it? Clever!

Probably the best way to use Wimoweh is keep it always running in the background. On your first launch, find it in your menu bar and select Open at Login from the dropdown. Wimoweh is meant to be the sort of app you don’t ever think about, it just works without you doing anything, and it always helps when the developers let you keep it running from startup to shut down.

Wimoweh is a menu bar app, and there's not much for you to do.

Wimoweh is a menu bar app, and there’s not much for you to do.

Next you’ll need to tell Wimoweh what apps to look out for. The way Wimoweh works, and what sets it apart, is that rather than just keeping your Mac awake for an hour, two hours, or indefinitely, it relies on your running applications to tell it when it should keep everything going and when it can put your computer to sleep. If one of the predefined applications is up and running, Wimoweh keeps your Mac awake, but if everything Wimoweh’s looking for is closed, it will let your Mac go to sleep like normal.

To set the apps that keep your Mac awake, click the Wimoweh icon in the menu bar. In the Never Sleep Whilst Running menu, select the currently running applications that just have to keep going no matter what. A check mark will appear next to each, and even if you close the apps yourself, when they reopen, they’ll still be included in Wimoweh’s watched applications. It’s not something you’re going to have to define over and over again, or worry about setting each time you want to perform a time consuming task.

Select the apps you want to place on Wimoweh's watchlist.

Select the apps you want to place on Wimoweh’s watchlist.

Compare and Contrast

I think this is pretty cool, because without Wimoweh, you might set an application to run, expecting it to complete a specific task, and walk away from your desk only to return and find your Mac fell asleep at the wheel and all your progress is lost. I hear you saying Caffeine can do all of that, but the big difference is that you have to turn Caffeine on. Even if Caffeine launches at login, you still have to activate it, or it won’t do anything, and if you’re going to be done in two hours but your project runs long, Caffeine may have already deactivated and won’t keep your Mac awake.

Caffeine may have one up on Wimoweh, though. If you’re converting a bunch of videos or uploading a bunch of files and you want your Mac to stay awake the whole time, Wimoweh seems like a great deal, but not if you want your computer to eventually go to sleep. Set your application to perform a three-hour task just before bed, and Wimoweh’s going to keep your computer up all night, whereas Caffeine would put it to sleep when its timer was up.

Wimoweh tells you which apps are keeping it from letting your Mac sleep.

Wimoweh tells you which apps are keeping it from letting your Mac sleep.

Unfortunately, Wimoweh only watches the apps you find in its Never Sleep Whilst Running list in the the menu bar dropdown. That list, you’ll find, is incredibly limited. Only open apps show up there, and not even half of what I actually had running were in there. I’ll admit, anything I’ve got open that I could possibly want to keep my computer awake for was on the list and selectable, but there’s lots of stuff I’d like to add I’ll have to open specifically to get it into Wimoweh. It’d be nice to drag and drop them or otherwise get inactive apps into Wimoweh’s watchlist, too.

Final Thoughts

Despite my annoyance at how you get Wimoweh to actually start looking out for your running applications, once you’ve got Wimoweh set up, it’s pretty much hands off from there. You won’t ever have to tell Wimoweh to keep your Mac from sleeping, as long as one of your watched applications is running. Sure, you may inadvertently keep your Mac up all night, and it’ll be all out of sorts the next day, but I never remember to activate Caffeine in the first place.

What I need is something that’s going to keep my computer going without me having to do anything. That’s what Wimoweh does. If I’m ever unsure whether it’s going to let my Mac sleep, I can check in its menu bar dropdown and see what apps are preventing it from sleeping, allowing me to either close the app if I’m not using it or briefly remove it from Wimoweh’s watchlist. If you just need an app to time when your Mac goes to sleep, Caffeine may be the one to help with that, but if you need to keep your Mac awake while you’ve got important apps open doing important tasks, Wimoweh can do the job.


Great app to keep your Mac awake when you're working but need to step away.