Energy Saver Preferences

Learn about the Energy Saver system preferences. You can set an amount of time before your Mac goes to sleep or puts the display to sleep. This will help conserve energy and prolong your battery charge. There are also other settings that can help, and even a way to schedule your Mac to sleep or wake up. You can have different settings for battery versus being plugged in.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Energy Saver Preferences.

Hi this is Gary with On today's episode let's take a look at the Energy Saver Preferences.

So to get to your Energy Saver Preferences open System Preferences and then go to Energy Saver. Click on that and it takes you to the Energy Saver Preferences which are divided in two parts if you've got a Mac that has a battery. So you've got the Battery tab and the Power Adapter tab. They are very similar. If you've got a Mac that doesn't have a battery, like an iMac, a MacPro, or a Mac Mini, then you won't see this battery section here and it will all be just for Power.

The two separate tabs basically let you set different preferences for different modes. So, on this, my MacBook Air, I can set up a different time for computer sleep on Battery. I can set that down for 15 minutes or even something a little bit better like 5 minutes. For Power Adapter I can say Never or do it only after an hour of nonuse.

So what does computer sleep do. Well it puts your Mac to sleep; it turns off the screen and turns off the hard drive. Basically turns off the Mac but doesn't forget where it is. It can wake up very easily and quickly. You can set it to do that after a given amount of time. So if you walk away from your Mac without putting it to sleep manually then it will automatically go into sleep mode. So it helps to save energy. For a desktop Mac it helps saves power on your energy bill.

But also on a battery powered Mac it will help save battery power if you set, under Battery, this pretty low. So here, after five minutes, if I walk away from my MacBook, it will go to sleep instead of continuing to use battery power.

Now a big drain on battery is the Display. It takes a lot of power to run that. So you've got this kind of secondary sleep mode here, the Display sleep, which usually you want to have set lower than computer sleep. So here I have it going to sleep after three minutes whereas the computer goes to sleep after five minutes.

Display sleep basically just turns off the display but the computer is still on. It is still using some power but not nearly as much. It is much quicker to wake up from. It may take a few seconds to wake up from a full sleep, but a display sleep you tap the keyboard and it should instantly come on. So you want to set this lower, especially under battery, to conserve your battery power.

You can even, say if you are writing, you can have the display go to sleep while you are pondering your next sentence and then as soon as you tap the keyboard and start writing the display will wake up again and that could extend the battery life of your Mac by minutes, or even hours depending upon what you are doing.

You've got a few other settings here. For instance, you've got this checkbox here which will put hard disks to sleep. The hard disk is another major use of power especially in older Macs that aren't using solid state drives but the drives that actually spin. It will put it to sleep and you don't always need to access your drive to be doing things, say if you are writing something. It is not accessing the drive all the time so it can put it to sleep for long periods of time and save battery.

Also I've got it set here on Battery to slightly dim the display. So the display is a tiny bit dimmer but that will extend the life the battery for a little bit longer.

Notice if I switch to Power Adapter mode that is not here and there is instead another option here to Wake for Wi-Fi network access that replaces it.

So you've got different options in the different modes.

You've also got this option called Power Nap. So basically that is for either battery or regular power. Your Mac, even though it is sleeping will every once in a while will wake up partially. You won't even notice it. It checks the network for various things like say email. This is handy because it could save battery life.

If you consider you have your MacBook plugged in and it is checking for email here and there. Then you grab your MacBook to go and you open it up and you see that you've got some email. Whereas otherwise you might have to wait a few minutes for it to check the servers, if you have several email accounts especially, and grab all of your new email which could waste more battery than simply having it check periodically while it is plugged in and sleeping.

Now another thing you can do is set up a schedule. So you can set up you Mac to Start Up or wake or go to sleep at certain times during the day. So, for instance, you can have it start up or wake every day in the morning just before you get into work and start using your computer. Likewise you can have it sleep or shut down at the end of the day.

So for instance you can have it set to automatically go to sleep at 6:00 pm if you know you leave work between five and six.

Comments: 3 Responses to “Energy Saver Preferences”

    Janette Andrews
    4 years ago

    Re: battery energy saver preferences
    Your example has both computer sleep and display sleep. My MacBook Air
    only has “turn display off after”…so I can’t put it to sleep automatically I guess.

    4 years ago

    Hi Gary,

    Although I have my iMac energy saver computer and display sleep prefs. set for 15 minutes, the mac goes to sleep after only 2 ; Irritating when I am reading an article. Any explanations ?

    Thanks in advance.

    4 years ago

    I have mid 2010 MBP and I am wondering how to configure it to sleep when I close the cover. It stays awake right now.

    Any help?

Comments Closed.