Should you shut down your Mac or put it to sleep at the end of the day? Gary Rosenzweig looks at the different advantages of each, and reveals which one he favors.
Hi this is Gary. On today’s episode of MacMost Now, let’s take a look at one of the biggest dilemmas to face Mac users. To shut down or to sleep.
Well, I’m often asked should I put my Mac to sleep at the end of the day, or should I shut it down? Well, I definitely fall on the side of putting your Mac to sleep and never shutting it down. Matter of fact, recently I have been very surprised when I’ve heard some experienced Mac users actually shut down their Macs all the time and don’t use sleep mode. I think the majority of Mac users use sleep mode and I want to tell you why I think it’s the best option.
Well, the first argument in favor of shutting down your Mac is energy savings. Your Mac definitely uses less power when it’s completely shut down than when it’s sleeping, but the difference is actually very little. And then you have to weigh it against the fact that you’re using energy when you shut down your Mac and when you boot it up again. And this is time when you’re not actually doing anything with your Mac, but your Mac’s using everything in it – fans, hard drives, the works. So, how much more energy are you using during those times compared to simply having it sleeping for say 8 or 12 hours. Also on the energy side of things, is concern about batteries in MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Well, the truth is you have your MacBook plugged in and it’s sleeping. It’s not actually using the battery at all, so you don’t have to worry about that. Now if you’re actually using the battery and don’t have it plugged in, putting it to sleep is actually better for energy savings because if you need to wake the Mac up, it doesn’t — takes a second. But if you have to boot it up, it takes a long time to use a lot of battery power. Now, if you’re going to put it to sleep for say the entire day, and you’re using battery power, then maybe shutting down would be a better option. But, if you’re just doing it for a few hours, or a plane flight or something, then definitely you want to put it to sleep so you can wake it up instantly and save on your battery.
Now, some people argue that shutting down you’re creating less wear and tear on the parts inside your Mac, and this is kind of true. Things like RAM are still active. However, lots of things like the hard drive and the light on your screen, things like that, are completely shut off while in sleep mode. So, it’s not a very good argument. As a matter of fact, you’re creating a lot of wear and tear by booting up and shutting down as well, so it’s probably even.
Now one of the best arguments for sleep mode is the fact you can instantly wake your Mac up. I mean, why spend an extra 30 seconds or 2 minutes booting up your machine every morning and even the extra minute making sure it shuts down every evening when you can instantly get it on and turn it off. There are also some good organizational reasons to use sleep instead of shut down. After all, you’ve put your machine to sleep and still have the browser open with multiple tabs, you can have word processing document, you’re right in the middle of writing a paragraph; you can have to-do lists open, calendars, email, everything on your screen, and you can return to it instantly, pick up where you left off. If you shut your machine down, you have to re-launch those applications, remember what you were doing, and where you were inside uh different documents and things you were working on. So it takes longer not only to boot up your machine in the morning, but you have to boot up your mind as well and remember exactly what you were working on. And the same thing at the end of the day, you have to clean everything up, make sure you close all your documents, and you’re at a good stopping point to shut down. But putting something to sleep, you can do that in an instant.
Another advantage of sleep mode is how easily it’s reversible. So, you say you’re at the end of the day, you decide you’re done, and you put your machine to sleep, to take a few steps away from your desk, and you realize ah, you forgot to send that email, you forgot to get that phone number, do something. Well, if your machine’s asleep, you press the spacebar, you’re back to work. But if you shut your machine down, and you forgot to do something, well, now you’ve got to go ahead and reboot the entire thing and open up the application to get to what you wanted.
Now, one of the reasons people may shut down instead of sleep is because they’ve switched from pc to Mac. Now, pc’s traditionally have not had a very robust sleep or hibernate mode. Sometimes this is caused problems in the past. It’s a lot better now in current versions of Windows but definitely in the past there’s been issues with putting your machine to sleep and using many applications. Mac OS X doesn’t have this problem. You should be able to put your machine to sleep without any fear of anything going wrong.
There’s also a lot of history on your side. There are tons of people that use sleep mode and have used it since the day they got their Mac. For years and years, Macs have been running, never being shut down, only being occasionally rebooted when installing a software update or a new application. So, you can go ahead and know that others are using only sleep mode and suffering no ill effects at all.
So there are my arguments for sleep rather than shut down. I suggest if you’re one of those people that likes to shut down your Mac all the time, that perhaps you take a few weeks and switch over to sleep mode and see if you like it better. And then after you’ve tried both sides of it, then you can see which one you really want to do. Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.