Put your Mac to sleep

Nov 08, 2019  For Apple displays and built-in displays, this also means that the backlight on the LCD is turned off to save energy. When your display goes to sleep, the screen goes dark or turns off, but apps that are still busy on your Mac stay active. If you're running your Mac most of the day, it might be necessary to find ways to save battery. Some of the best ways to save battery on your computer include adjusting your 'Energy Saver. “Battery life” is the amount of time your device runs before it needs to be recharged. “Battery lifespan” is the amount of time your battery lasts until it needs to be replaced. Maximize both and you’ll get the most out of your Apple devices, no matter which ones you own.

You can save energy by putting your Mac to sleep when you're not using it. When your Mac is sleeping, it's on but consumes less power. And waking your Mac from sleep is quicker than starting it up after it's been shut down.

To put your Mac to sleep immediately, do one of the following:

  • Choose Apple () menu > Sleep.
  • If you use a Mac notebook computer, close its built-in display.
  • Press Command (⌘)–Media Eject (⏏).*
  • Tap the power button on your computer.*

*These options don't apply to MacBook Pro models with Touch ID.

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Adjust settings in Energy Saver

When you don't use your Mac for a while, macOS can automatically turn off features that you aren't using. When the computer needs to perform a task, related components power back up.

You can adjust energy-related settings in the Energy Saver pane of System Preferences:

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences.
  2. Click Energy Saver.

Display sleep

You can tell your Mac how long to wait before it puts its display to sleep. Turning your display off is useful if your computer is performing a task (such as playing music) but you don't need to see anything that the computer is doing.

Putting your display to sleep stops the video signal to any internal and external displays. For Apple displays and built-in displays, this also means that the backlight on the LCD is turned off to save energy.

When your display goes to sleep, the screen goes dark or turns off, but apps that are still busy on your Mac stay active. If your display has a power indicator, it may change to indicate that the display is in low-power mode. To wake your display, move the mouse, touch the trackpad, or press a key on the keyboard.

Put hard disks to sleep when possible

This setting powers down the hard drive motor when you aren't reading or writing files from the drive. Solid-state drives (SSDs) don’t have moving parts, so this setting doesn’t affect Mac computers that use only SSDs to store data.

Consider deselecting this option if you have an internal or external non-SSD drive and you use apps—for example, pro audio or video editing software—that work better with continued read and write access to the hard disk.

Wake for network access

Select this option if you want your computer to automatically wake up when someone accesses its shared resources, such as shared printers or iTunes playlists.

This setting applies to wired connections from other computers, such as Ethernet connections. It also applies to Wi-Fi connections if you use a properly configured AirPort base station. Some tasks might prevent the computer from sleeping when idle.

Enable Power Nap

Power Nap allows your Mac to occasionally wake from sleep to perform tasks such as checking for new email or software updates.

During Power Nap, your Mac leaves its displays and other hardware that isn't needed for these tasks powered down to save energy. After it's finished, your Mac automatically goes back to sleep to save energy.

If you don't want your Mac to wake up on its own to perform these tasks, deselect this option.

More options

You might see more options in Energy Saver preferences depending on whether you use a Mac desktop or notebook.

iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini

When you use a desktop Mac, you can control when your computer, display, and hard disks are put to sleep to save energy.

These options are available on iMac and Mac Pro:

Mac mini has these options:

Turn display off

With some Mac desktop computers, you can set how long to wait until the computer enters its lowest idle power mode. This setting is different from display sleep because other parts of the computer also sleep.

If you set the computer to never sleep using this slider, the display and other elements of the computer remain in a fully powered state.

Start up automatically after a power failure

You can set your Mac desktop computer to automatically restart if its AC power connection becomes unavailable. For example, if there's a power outage, or you inadvertently disconnect the AC power cord, your Mac starts up again on its own once power is reconnected.

You can automatically re-open windows, apps, and documents on your Mac after it restarts, which is useful if you have your computer set to perform tasks when it's left unattended.

MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook

With Mac notebooks, some options are available when the computer operates on battery power, and others are available on AC power. For example, you might want your computer to never sleep when you are connected to AC power. But when it’s on battery power, you might want it to sleep when it’s been idle for only a short time so that the battery remains charged longer.

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In the Energy Saver preference pane, select the Battery or Power Adapter tab:

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Automatic graphics switching

The automatic graphics switching option appears on Mac notebooks that have more than one built-in graphics chip. When you select it, your computer uses its low power graphics chip for tasks like text editing to save energy. For higher-intensity tasks, like playing games or compressing video, macOS automatically switches to another more complex graphics chip.

If you deselect this option, your computer always uses high-performance graphics, which uses more energy.

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Other sleep modes

Some Mac computers enter special sleep modes when you leave them idle for a long time, helping them conserve even more energy.

Standby Mode

For Mac computers that start up from an internal SSD, macOS includes a deep sleep mode known as Standby Mode.

Mac computers manufactured in 2013 or later enter standby after being in sleep mode for three hours. Earlier models enter standby after just over an hour of sleep. During standby, the state of your session is saved to flash storage (SSD). Then, the power turns off to some hardware systems such as RAM and USB buses.

Standby extends how long a notebook computer can stay asleep on battery power. A notebook with a fully charged battery can remain in standby for up to thirty days without being plugged in to power.

Safe sleep

macOS also includes a deep sleep mode known as safe sleep. Your Mac might enter safe sleep if your battery begins to run low, or your computer is left idle for a long time.

Safe sleep copies the contents of memory to your startup drive and powers down the computer, allowing you to pick up where you left off without losing your work.

To wake your Mac from safe sleep, press its power button. If you use a Mac notebook and its battery is low, connect the AC adapter first.

When you wake your computer from safe sleep, a progress indicator appears. This indicates that the previously stored contents of memory are being read from the startup disk and copied back into RAM.

Waking your Mac

To wake your Mac from any of these sleep modes, do one of these:

  • Tap the computer's power button.
  • Click your mouse or trackpad.
  • Open the lid on your Mac notebook.
  • Press a key on a connected keyboard.

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If you use sharing features on your Mac, other computers that use these services may be able to wake your computer on demand.

Learn more

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  • You can also save energy by adjusting your display’s brightness and the brightness of your backlit keyboard.
  • Learn what to do if your Mac doesn't sleep or wake when expected.