How to set the GNOME idle delay from the command line


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Management how lengthy of an idle delay timeout GNOME has earlier than it locks your display with a single command.



Just lately, I discovered myself in an odd state of affairs. Working from residence implies that I spend a number of time on my own. Due to that, I usually don’t have any want for my desktop display to lock after 15 minutes of idleness. 

Personally, I desire a thirty-minute timeout, so I needn’t log again in with such frequency. That is solely advantageous, as a result of I do know my cats aren’t going to offer the keys to my digital kingdom away—no less than I am pretty sure that is the case.

SEE: Selecting your Home windows 7 exit technique: 4 choices (TechRepublic Premium)

No matter feline propensities, I would like that timeout set to thirty. Factor is, inside the GNOME Settings software, you don’t get the 30-minute choice. Actually, the one out there choices are (in minutes) 1, 2, three, four, 5, 6, 7, eight, 10, 15, By no means. See? No 30.

Luckily, that is Linux, so the place there is a will, there may be most actually a approach. Stated approach is due to the command line. With the assistance of a single command, you may set that timeout to no matter your productive coronary heart wants.

Let me present you ways.


The command in query is gsettings. The gsettings command presents an easy interface to the GSettings software. What’s GSettings? Consider it as a type of Home windows Registry Editor for GNOME, solely from the command line. From inside GSettings you will get extremely granular with GNOME settings. Factor is, nevertheless, there isn’t any GUI software for GSettings. Actually, in case you open the person web page for GSettings (man GSettings), it shows the person web page for gsettings. When you open the person web page for gsettings (man gsettings), it refers to GSettings.

It is a convoluted mess.

Altering the timeout with Gsettings

So, how do you modify the timeout with the gsettings command? It is fairly easy. When you’re in any respect accustomed to the Home windows Registry Editor, you understand it requires that you just navigate by a hierarchy to get to the setting you need. With Gsettings, it is the identical factor. The hierarchy we’d like right here is org | gnome | desktop | session. In fact, Gsettings would not learn the pipe character, so the precise format is org.gnome.desktop.session.

Throughout the session part, we’ll set the idle delay to 30 minutes. Nonetheless, gsettings would not learn in minutes, however somewhat seconds. So our time-frame is 1,800. With that data in hand, open a terminal window and subject the command:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.session idle-delay 1800

That is it. Your idle delay for the GNOME desktop is now set to 30 minutes.

What’s fascinating about that is when you set it that 30-minute choice will now present up in Settings | Energy (Determine A).


Determine A: The GUI now has the 30 minute choice out there.

Nonetheless (you knew it was coming), the second you shut the Settings window (after altering it from 30), that newly added choice disappears. In an effort to get it again (you guessed it), you must add it from the command line.

Give your desktop a timeout

Because of the Linux command line, you can provide your desktop the exact timeout you need. Or, in case you desire, you can provide it no timeout, with the command gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.session idle-delay zero. It doesn’t matter what idle delay you give your machine, it is a good factor you might be in management. That is the Linux approach.

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