Ryan Carmelo Briones

mostly harmless

Blank Screen Screen Saver in Leopard November 05, 2007

This quest actually started out as a possibly lame attempt to consider how much energy my monitor is using just leaving it on with the screen saver. Before Leopard I was using Sleep Display and it worked pretty well for what I wanted, except that it didn't lock the display like a screensaver does. After Leopard I found out that Sleep Display just plain doesn't work. Turns out I don't REALLY care about the energy aspect, although it'd be nice to contribute in a small way like that, I just hate the wall display my 24" monitor displays when the screen saver comes on. So really I just wish that Apple shipped OS X with a "blank screen" screen saver. Wouldn't that make life a little simpler? Enter Quartz Composer. With a little Google searching I came up with this howto on quartzcompositions.com, which wasn't EXACTLY what I was looking for, but pointed me in the right direction. So, without further ado, a how-to on making a blank screen screensaver for Leopard with Quartz Composer.


  1. Install XCode Tools from your Leopard CD, or download it from the Apple Developer Connection

  2. Open up "Quartz Composer" from /Developer/Applications/Quartz Composer.app

  3. Create a new "Blank Composition". You can do this by choosing the "Blank Composition" template or you can File->New Blank

  4. In the Patch Browser search type "Clear". It's likely there should only be one patch in there of the type "Renderer". Drag that patch to the Root Macro Patch space

  5. Save your composition; It's probably helpful to name it "Blank Screen"

  6. Copy your composition to /System/Library/Screen Savers

  7. Open up Desktop & Screen Saver pref pane from System Preferences and choose "Blank Screen", or whatever you named your composition, from the list



And there you have it. I personally have my top-right hot corner setup for screen saver, so this works perfect for my usage pattern, blank screen and lock the machine. Note I also have to my Energy Saver setting to sleep the display after 1 hour to feed my inner tree hugger, but it's all preference I suppose. Hope this helps someone out!