MacMost Now 240: Shut Down or Sleep?

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.

Video Transcript
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.

Comments: 116 Responses to “MacMost Now 240: Shut Down or Sleep?”

    Tinu Cleatus
    5/13/09 @ 12:54 pm

    That was a nice advice. Been shutting down my mac every night. Yeah ! Windows refugee.

    Randy Brick
    5/13/09 @ 1:50 pm

    I have a unibody MBP. At the office it is connected to a cinema display and at home it is not. I have been shutting down instead of sleeping due to the mac being confused when adding or subtracting the display. Any suggestions to make it work with sleep. Would love to be a sleeper instead of a shutter.


      5/13/09 @ 2:02 pm

      My previous set up was a MBP and I did exactly the same thing — but without ever shutting down. I just plugged it into the monitor at work and woke it up. Then I unplugged the monitor and put it to sleep. Woke it up at home without the monitor and used it fine.
      In what way is your MBP getting “confused”?

        11/29/12 @ 10:13 am

        I’m not sure how to do an ‘original’ reply to something on this site. But i’ve had to shut down my macbook pro at least every other day for it to function properly. Among other things it slows down after being on for a day, and there are some things that don’t work properly. e.g. i can get audio but no video when i try to play a video, including You Tube. Restart and it’s working again. Not sure how much i can do in one message and/or if you will even get this, but do you have anything on your site addressing problems with TivoTransfer and Mountain Lion?
        Thank you!

          11/29/12 @ 10:28 am

          Just go to the bottom of the page to post something new.
          Sorry, I don’t know anything about TivoTransfer — is that an app? Have you tried contacting the developer for support?
          As for your Mac needing a restart every day — that’s like treating an illness with pain meds. It may make the symptoms go away temporarily, but won’t address the problem. Maybe consider taking your Mac to an expert for a look. Something you’ve got on there is causing problems.

    5/14/09 @ 7:22 am

    Great summary of sleep vs shutdown. I got my first mac in 1999 and have always used sleep but once or twice I’ll use the deep sleep widget (same as pulling out laptop battery once asleep) to preserve battery charge if sleeping for a day or two.

    I gave my old Macbook Pro to my father last year and when I got it back recently I had a peek at the uptime which was showing 134 days!

    I’ve still got a windows (Dell Inspiron) laptop and my workstations at the office are windows but I tell all my staff to shutdown rather than sleep, too many clitches with windows (xp) sleep imho.


    Gerit Baudner
    5/14/09 @ 9:41 am

    The problem is that I have attached two USB – Hub with LED-USB-Cable by Belkin and two USB-DVB-T Sticks and I think this exalt the power-usage.


    5/14/09 @ 11:49 am

    for some reason i can’t watch over 50-55 seconds of the video..
    my DSL cuts it off
    then reconnects immediately but the video stops and will not continue.
    i have this trouble on u-tube also
    whats wrong with my connection ???

      5/14/09 @ 5:38 pm

      How long have you had this issue? How about at non-YouTube video sites like If it happens with any large file at any site, then you might want to call your ISP.

    Amy Ackerman
    5/14/09 @ 10:37 pm

    I am currently a college student who uses a Mac, and I use the sleep mode all the time. I like it for many reasons, one of which is the quick wake-up time. This way, I can get up in the morning and quickly check the weather or my e-mails before heading off to class. This also allows me to open everything I will need for an assignment or to study for a test, and it is always where I want it when I am ready to do homework or study. I shut it down every night when I first got it, but because of the reasons listed above, I quickly realized that sleep mode was the way to go.

    John Whitman
    5/15/09 @ 7:49 am

    Your sleep vs shutdown comparisons leave me unconvinced. You say that putting your Mac to sleep uses less energy than shutting down and rebooting, but you give no figures, no data to support your assertion. Your opinion boils down to just that, your opinion, and unless you can back it up with figures, amounts to no more than anecdotal evidence.

    This in itself isn’t problematic, until you consider the fact that your podcast has the potential to directly affect the behavior of millions of Mac users. A sleeping Mac may use no more that a kilowatt more than a rebooted Mac; not much when you calculate your monthly electric bill, but multiply that kilowatt by millions, and suddenly we’re in need of several new coal-fired power plants.

    My guess is that most Mac users can multi-task, and can do more than one thing while their computers are rebooting. The image of a Mac user staring at her rebooting screen while precious seconds are ticking away is laughable. The image of millions of Mac users burning up resources unnecessarily may be just as laughable… or is it?

    I enjoy your podcasts, and have actually learned a few things from them. I’d love to see you revisit this issue, after you’ve done your research.

      5/15/09 @ 8:11 am

      You are right. There is no hard data to back it up. You are welcome to perform experiments with equipment yourself if you like. I considered it, of course, but the time and budget would be way too much.
      It is not debatable, though, that a Mac shutting down and a Mac booting up take up energy and that during that time the computer is not in use by its owner. It is also not debatable that a sleeping Mac uses some energy. So it is a matter of where the break-even point is. My background in computer software and hardware and in science suggest that as long as someone is using their computer frequently, as they would if it is part of their job and/or life, that sleeping is the better option.

        3/2/12 @ 1:32 pm

        Hi Gary, I love your website. I am little perplexed about sleep v shut down. Can my computer be accessed during sleep mode, i.e. hackers etc. thank you kindly,

          3/2/12 @ 4:33 pm

          It should be able to be accessed by hackers at any time — awake or asleep! Set your user password and stay off of public networks, etc.

    Blossom Hoag
    5/15/09 @ 11:24 am

    My only concern is when I have a lot of applications open. Shuting down closes them and the computer will run more efficiently when started up if not as many applications are open, isn’t that true?

      5/15/09 @ 1:24 pm

      If you are concerned about that, just shut down some applications. No need to shut them all down and restart.

    5/16/09 @ 12:06 pm

    I am glad that sleeping and shutting down don’t vary much in energy consumption. Thanks Gary!

    5/24/09 @ 8:16 pm

    For <>, in case that you’ll have a chance to see it:

    I’m really sorry m8, for you… but technically speaking, Gary Rosenzweig has right.
    And I’ll tell you why.

    First of all, what you have to know …. is that on booting up process … the computer consumes all most the same power like where it is in the IDLE-ON stage (something between 70-85 W).

    When a Mac is in a sleep mode – SLEEP-WOL off (Wake On LAN) consumes no more than 2 W … yeah ….. you read it right, 2 W.

    And now … for example …. you’re sleeping 10 hr/night … 10 x 2 = 20 W … when you’re turning ON your computer it gets 60-80 W ….

    how come you can tell about that the SLEEP mode is takes almost 1KW ?

    if you don’t know some technical facts …. and because, maybe, you don’t want to know them … is much better, I think ….. to search before writing something like that.

    And to prove you that I’m right ….. check the file below:

    5/24/09 @ 8:18 pm

    the message above is for John Whitman :)

    5/28/09 @ 10:22 pm

    Do you recommend shutting down VMware Fusion prior to putting a MBP to sleep? Is that not necessary as well?

    I dont think you mentioned that MBP’s store a hibernation image when you put them to sleep. This is a wonderful thing to know and seems to be another great thing about sleep mode.

    Lastly, when I don’t enter my password quickly enough after awake from sleep, I sometimes have trouble getting the screen to turn on. Have you seen that problem? Any advise?

      5/29/09 @ 6:45 am

      I’m not sure. I have Parallels and I often leave that running as my Mac goes to sleep. But I’d ask VMware and do what they recommend.
      Haven’t seen the screen problem, sorry. Any other reports of it at the forum?

    Rob Collins
    5/29/09 @ 2:56 am

    Thanks Gary!

    6/14/09 @ 12:09 pm

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for reviewing the sleepmode. its a nice feature indeed!
    I stopt using it though, because both mij iMac and MacBook woke up in the middle of the night to many times. The iMac lit up the sleepingroom, so I woke up too… I did not find a solution for this. Thought it maybe was waking up because of the router, but I am not sure.

    Any sugestions Gary (or anyone)?

    Thanks for your show, I like it very much!

      6/14/09 @ 1:41 pm

      Could be network access. There is a preference for that. But it could also be a USB device or a bluetooth keyboard. You’ll need to experiment.

        10/19/09 @ 10:25 am

        Hi Gary,

        It took me forever or so it seems… but today I finally found out that my iMac woke up because of a power surge caused by the refrigerator… weird I know. So science says “can you repeat this phenomena?” I shut down the fridge, put the Mac to sleep, turned the fridge back on… and yes the wake-up call for my Mac. I will try another power outlet for the fridge, or by a new one :-)


          Donna Brooks
          11/7/11 @ 11:49 am

          Wow, I would have never thought of the frig doing this! I have also had this problem of my iMac waking up on its own (and waking me up b/c of the screen lighting up the room!), and at times 2 or 3 times a night (upon which I got disgusted & shut the thing down so I could sleep!)! But there was never any regularity to it. Usually it would sleep all night. I thought maybe there was spyware on my computer or some unwanted information exchange over the internet, since I almost always have at least one browser open. Shouldn’t our power strips protect our Macs from power surges, though? Has anyone else found a different cause (& solution!) for this problem? I rent, so I don’t really have the option to buy a new frig or change outlets.

            11/7/11 @ 11:56 am

            It probably depends on the power strip. Some have better surge protection than others. But I would try Pete’s experiment first to see if that is really it.

        Donna Brooks
        11/7/11 @ 11:54 am

        Gary, should I turn off the power on my bluetooth keyboard & mouse when I go to bed or when not using my Mac for a day or more? I know that would make my batteries last longer, and I’ve wondered if maybe they were somehow the culprits in my self-awakening iMac problem (which I’ve never had with any Mac before). Are there any negatives to turning off the keyboard & mouse?

          11/7/11 @ 11:57 am

          The only negatives are longer wait times to reconnect when you start up again. Otherwise, they “sleep” too when not in use. But add that to your list of things to experiment with.

            Donna Brooks
            11/11/11 @ 1:28 pm

            Thanks Gary. I have another suspicion that I am going to experiment with. Firefox has been very buggy on this machine. I can’t even log into Twitter or LiveJournal in Firefox! This has never happened before. IDK if the problem is FF or one or more of my extensions, but I’m wondering if the waking up has something to do with whether or not I have FF open? That might be weird, I know, but not as weird as not being able to log into certain sites or your refrigerator waking up your Mac! Anyway, if anyone else has the self-waking Mac problem, please post about it so we can help each other solve this mysterious & annoying behavior!

    6/18/09 @ 5:46 am

    okay, but what if i need to carry my macbook with me to office ?

    should i sleep it or shutdown it ?


      6/18/09 @ 10:53 am

      I used to do that all the time. Every advantage is to sleep — you go faster, you set up faster.

    the iMentor
    6/24/09 @ 11:05 am

    A good reason to shut the computer down once a week is to reload the OS.
    Since the OS is just another program, it can become corrupted in RAM. Restarting or Shutting Down gives the OS a chance to be loaded into RAM fresh and gives the computer a new lease on life.

      John Forstall
      1/1/11 @ 11:10 am

      The iMentor makes a very good point here. On more than one occasion I’ve had programs like Mail not functioning right and reboot did clear the problem. It is true this is an old classic fix for Windows, but reboot helps Mac also.

    12/3/09 @ 8:50 am

    I tend to shut down my mac before any travel (home to work..etc) but if I do sleep I make sure that nothing that deals with Databases or open files are open. Mail programs…etc also make sure all devices are disconnected (USB devices, monitors..) I noticed that even in sleep mode sometimes it will continue to supply power to the USB ports and drain your battery.

    5/20/10 @ 8:37 pm

    Sounds like good advice, but what about when there’s a chance of lightning during the night? Shut down when lightning is forecast, or not worry about that at all?

      5/20/10 @ 9:32 pm

      See episode 378:
      If you feel there is a real danger of a lightning strike, then shutting down (and unplugging) your Mac might be a good idea. But a good UPS with surge protection is better because it is always working. Otherwise, it is up to you to predict the danger, and it isn’t always obvious.

    5/21/10 @ 3:36 pm

    Great, thanks Gary!

    10/30/10 @ 10:59 pm

    Gary,spunds good advice, will start to ‘sleep” my mac instead of “shut down”. If I do put it into sleep mode, should I turn off Airport??

    11/11/10 @ 4:06 pm

    I am a Mac convert as of 2 years ago and I use my Macbook Pro a lot!

    Does the mac use up ram after been used for so many hours ? I know that windows has issues with that. I just want to make sure I don’t need to shut down my Mac after 14 – 30 hours of hardcore graphics work.

    cheers ;-)


      11/11/10 @ 4:13 pm

      You don’t need to shut down your Mac. Memory is used by applications and then released when it no longer needs it.

    C. Norris
    12/1/10 @ 6:39 pm

    Gary, I have a unibody Macbook pro. Dumb question, but does closing the mac completely, automatically put it to sleep. Since I got the computer I have never shut it down once. Always on sleep or is closed. Can this be detrimental to the mac. thanks a bunch. Love the site!

      12/1/10 @ 6:43 pm

      Closing the Mac will put it to sleep, yes. An exception is if you have an external screen, keyboard and mouse connected. Then it will allow you to keep the Mac awake and use it “docked.”
      Not sure what you mean by whether it can be detrimental. It is supposed to go to sleep when you close it.

    W. Pete
    3/1/11 @ 12:07 pm

    I am having difficultly waking up my iMac or restarting my iMac when I have manually shut it down or put it to sleep. This results in me having to force quit (when in sleep mode) or looking at a blank screen when starting it up (i.e. No apple icon appears). Eventually I get things started again though I have not figured out how. Seems like more random luck than anything I try.

    I have tried unplugging each cable and seeing if it doesn’t make any difference. No luck.

    At this point, I believe the problem does not occur when the computer itself does the task (shut down or sleep), rather it has to do with when I manually do it.

    Any insight barring the suggestion of letting the machine simply do it automatically?

      3/1/11 @ 12:49 pm

      My guess would be that some background process isn’t starting or stopping properly. You could look at your Login items and see what you have there. Also, what happens when you sleep manually, but with no applications running?

    T. Pham
    3/2/11 @ 5:07 am

    Gary, I am definitely a fan of sleep mode but you did not talk RESTART. Is this at all necessary when my iMac is awake, say, like after installing applications?

      3/2/11 @ 7:39 am

      Restart would only be necessary if the installer asks you to do so. Otherwise, no. But if you are having trouble with something, restarting is always a good idea as one way to freshen up.

    4/10/11 @ 5:46 am

    Good advice.

    6/3/11 @ 10:49 pm

    HI Gary
    After reading your great advice I have decided to use sleep instead of shutdown. But I have found one little problem which I hope you can help me with.

    When I do sleep, the iMac goes to sleep, but then I have to turn off the wireless keyboard and mouse or trackpad (to save the batteries). When I do this, the iMac wakes up. How do I get my iMac to sleep and turn off the wireless keyboard and mouse or trackpad?

      6/3/11 @ 10:51 pm

      Just leave them on. I believe they go into a “sleep” mode of their own. I have a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse and I never bother with them. The rechargeable batteries last months between charges.

    F. Torres
    6/5/11 @ 2:43 am

    Gary, I have my imac for more than a year now I always have use the sleep mode, I just have set my preferences at 10 minutes for the display to turn off and 3 hours to sleep. I have heard some comments that sometimes is good for macs to be always on, that the OS is design for that. I’m never more than 10 hours without using it, It’s ok if I just move the slider to never to sleep? I just keep the 10 minutes to go off for the display. If I do that, should I close Mail (I have it always running) for allow the hard drive to go to sleep? Like every 3rd day for some reason I need to reboot my router to get to the internet speed that I should have, I put my imac to sleep while I rebooting my router, is ok to put it to sleep for that?

      6/5/11 @ 8:18 am

      The only reason to leave your Mac “always on” is if you access it fro outside at times (Screen Sharing or File Sharing, for instance). Otherwise, let it sleep. A long time ago Macs wouldn’t perform some maintenance if it was asleep at that time of the day, but that is not how they work now. They perform those tasks when they can, so sleeping is not an issue.
      So having it go to sleep after 3 hours, or 30 minutes or whatever is fine. No need to put it to sleep when rebooting your router, but you can if you want. Won’t make a difference.

    6/12/11 @ 8:51 am

    I called Apple customer service yesterday, as my iMac was slowing down and the pinwheel kept popping up. I have only had my computer for a couple of months. anyway, the customer service rep told me that I should shut down my iMac at least two or three times a week. He said that would refresh things so that any glitches would be resolved.

    John M. Hammer
    6/12/11 @ 11:05 am

    Things can happen to corrupt RAM. You might have an application, perhaps even a background application that you’re barely aware of, with a memory leak. Just shutting down that application should be enough to clear the problem it’s causing, but a restart will catch things some users may not know are even running. If you’re having some problem, and you can’t figure it out quickly, then a restart is often a good thing to try. Don’t worry about the power or wear-and-tear, because if you don’t get your computer to function well neither of those things matter. And it’s nearly impossible to “wear-and-tear” your Mac’s components to failure due to “excessive” restarts before it’s time to replace it with a newer model, anyway.

    The more modern your Mac, the less energy it draws. This is especially true for those with the most recent i5 and i7 processors. And there’s a big – HUGE – difference between how much energy any Mac uses when awake and when asleep. The larger that difference, the longer you can leave it in sleep mode and realize an energy savings.

    Two things, though:
    1- The amount of energy savings between sleeping all night, every night (plus weekends sleeping); and shutting down at night and restarting in the morning (plus weekends off); will amount to pennies on your monthly power bill for each Mac. You’ll never notice it among all the other variables which apply to your electric bill unless you run many hundreds of Macs. The effect on the environment is slightly less negligible assuming every Mac owner in the country could be forced to follow identical procedures, but it’s still pretty small.
    2- How many times have you put your computer to sleep/turned it off only to go, “Argh! I need to do one more thing…” and then woke it up/turned it right back on again? Well, I think I’m a pretty organized and efficient worker, but it happens to me all the time. And THIS is why I never shut down during the day (sleep/wake only) and also why I never shut down at the end of the day or before a weekend. It’s not only the time savings – even just one or two “whoopsies” like this will cause your monthly “shut down every night and all weekend” plan to lose whatever savings in money and power consumption it might have otherwise provided.

    In sum, follow Gary’s advice. Restart your computer when it asks you to do so (usually after the installation of some system software) or you detect a problem that might be solved with a restart. Otherwise, just put it to sleep when you won’t be using it for anywhere from a few minutes to a weekend. Shut it down only when you suspect the power might not be dependable or the machine will sit unused for more than 3 or 4 days. You won’t be doing your Mac, yourself, other people, or the environment any favors by shutting it down (or restarting it) more frequently than that.

    7/30/11 @ 5:26 am

    Recently I had the Mac technician around to fix my iMac and I asked him about sleep v shut down mode.

    He said if you are not going to use the Mac for days then you should shut down.

    But if you will use it regularly ie next day etc, then sleep mode is best, but he didn’t like the pre-set sleep mode that comes with iMacs. He said you should change it to go into sleep mode slowly and he set mine to sleep completely over 6 hours. He said the slower it goes into sleep mode the better for the machine.

    I’m not sure how he changed it on my iMac, but perhaps Gary you could give instructions for everyone else.

      7/30/11 @ 7:28 am

      You change it in the System Preferences, Energy Saver. 6 hours seems rather extreme, though. If you are going to have it sleep, I don’t see the point of waiting 6 hours. 1 hour, maybe?
      But it really is a person preference. I wouldn’t say that 1 or 6 hours is “best” — it is what fits your work habits, etc.

    8/1/11 @ 7:12 pm

    New to iMAC and know I am commenting on an old show; however, I have a serious issue that has even stumped the help desk. My MAC, which is only a few months old, will freeze when in sleep mode for several hours. It will get fixed for a few days and then go right back to freezing…any advice?

      8/1/11 @ 9:39 pm

      Do you have any USB devices plugged in? Any bluetooth (besides standard keyboard and mouse)? Any networked devices? Any software running in the background that could be tripping it up?

    8/7/11 @ 1:01 pm

    Obviously you have never worked in a corporate creative environment. Most companies have a policy of logging out of your system. Unless the IT department know enough to make the system go to sleep, putting your system to sleep is not logging off.

    nice advice for the home user though.

      8/7/11 @ 3:01 pm

      Not exactly true. You can easily set your security settings on your Mac to require a login after sleep. I’d do it that way, so you don’t have to go through several steps at the end of the day. Just sleep and done.

        7/16/12 @ 8:18 am

        I understand the sleep vs shut down method, but, my Mac is one of 6 that are under 1 server. My mac is accessible to anyone in my office and anyone walking through the front door. I was always logging out at the end of the day, but leaving on so I could access my computer from home. Our office computer person has the server in her office but for some reason logs on to my computer at night from her home to check our EMR’s. This should be available from her mac/server shouldnt it?
        My question though, isn’t it better to shut mine down for security reasons rather than put to sleep or log off?

          7/16/12 @ 9:00 am

          I don’t see how shutting down helps. If you set it so you need to log in again after sleep, then that puts it in the same state as if you shut it down, and someone simply presses the power button for it to boot up again.

    8/10/11 @ 9:49 pm

    Hi Gary! I bought a MBP 13″ with OS x Lion a few days ago. Today morning my battery level was at 95% and then I closed it. I opened it now (9 hrs later) and my battery level is now at 86%. Is this normal?

      8/11/11 @ 7:27 am

      9 hours? 95% down to 86%? Sure, that’s reasonable. After all, there are still things your MBP is doing even while it is sleeping (keeping memory, etc). Any reason you didn’t just have it plugged in for those 9 hours? If you can, just plug it in. That way it would be at 100% in the morning. But of course if you are traveling and such then sometimes power isn’t available.

    8/11/11 @ 6:07 am

    Is it safe to sleep my MBP when I travel from home to work? I feel like the movement can damage HD or something…

      8/11/11 @ 6:33 am

      Absolutely. Hard drives in the MBP were built to be moved around. Even when awake, they will handle movement fine. Having it sleep while commuting is perfectly fine.

    8/22/11 @ 10:56 am

    I have often heard people arguing about how much energy is saved by sleeping a computer or shutting down. Yes I guessing shutting down rebooting takes more energy, but the way some people go on about it you’d think it takes more energy to do that than it takes to get a Boeing 747 in the air. Come on! How much energy does it really take to boot up a computer?

      8/22/11 @ 11:04 am

      I agree. It is no big deal. It is more about your energy — the time you spend waiting for boot up, or the time you lose when you shut down and then realize you need to do one more thing. Or, the time you decide not to do that one more thing because you have shut down, so you add it to your list of things to do tomorrow.

    9/16/11 @ 3:35 pm

    The problem I have is that since i upgraded my 2010 Macbook Pro to OSX Lion, I have lots of spinning balls and hang ups – at least every other day – upon waking. I have to restart at least every other day. Anyone else experience this? Hoping 10.7.2 will fix things.

      9/16/11 @ 4:00 pm

      It is most likely a conflict with something you have. Do you have the latest versions of all of your software? Utilities? Flash? Other browser plug-ins?

    10/7/11 @ 12:42 am

    how can i solve my problem i want to make my mace never shut down when i don’t work with it’like xp propertis screen saver power options and then make time never but HOW IN MAC!!!!!?

      10/7/11 @ 6:43 am

      If you don’t want it to sleep, then go to System Preferences, Energy Saver and set it to never sleep.

    10/7/11 @ 10:18 am

    WOw thanks gary really thanks:) another question is there any solution if my mac freezes for exm safari is freezed and i can’t close it even when i want to shut it down or restuart it’s canceled!how can i force it to close ?

      10/7/11 @ 10:23 am

      If an app freezes, press Command+Option+Esc.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    10/7/11 @ 2:59 pm

    You could write a book about this topic. This lad who used to teach me Photoshop said he always puts his to sleep,and he mentioned some of the things that you do. I said to him give me an answer in dummies language,and he couldn`t just like some of the comments above. He set my computer up,and i have just went down to see what he set it at. It`s set for 15 mins,and something about putting the hard drive to sleep when ever possible. After all that i switch mine off. It`s like saying how long is a piece of string ?

    10/17/11 @ 5:18 am

    Dude!! This was a great video… I’ve always shut down my imac since i first got it (2006), but coming from a windows machine, i didn’t know how much better macs were at energy saving… and of course there’s been always the fear of it blowing up on me… but I’ll definatelly try to put it to sleep now. THANKS!!!!

    11/16/11 @ 9:14 pm

    Hi Gary! I have a concern about something that is happening to my macbook pro (late 2008) but never thought about its possibility. The thing is that I almost never shut down my mac and always let it to sleep mode. One day I shut it down and when I tried to turn it on it did not have display. The problem was fixed with a new led display. After a few days I shut down the computer and I could not turn it on again! I went to the “genius” and he told me that the graphics card (logic board) was faulty. This problem is intermittent, but I noticed that when I leave the macbook pro in sleep mode I can use it without any problem! Do you know about another case like this? What is happening!?

      11/17/11 @ 12:00 am

      Sorry, I don’t have any advice other than to take it to a repair shop.

    12/26/11 @ 9:18 pm

    This video was so helpful! I recently switched from a PC to a Mac and I was constantly shutting down my new Mac. It got to a point where it would not turn on anymore, and i had to take it to the apple store, and i lost everything. Now, I put my computer to sleep every night and leave it plugged in. Although, i feel like it affects my battery life? Anyways thanks for the help!

    1/2/12 @ 3:57 pm

    It seems to me that the terms “sleep” and “shutdown” are sometime being used interchangeably. Please walk me thru the settings. If I want to prevent my MBP or iMac from shutting down on its own after any period of time, what do I do? On the Systems Preferences/Energy Saver window does “Computer Sleep” actually mean shutdown? Also should I check “Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible”? Thanks.

      1/2/12 @ 4:26 pm

      Your Mac won’t shut down on its own unless you specifically schedule it to. Sleep means sleep, not shut down. Click on the Schedule button if you want to schedule a shut down. Hard disk sleep may save some power, and the trade-off is slower response time if your drive goes to sleep and you suddenly need to access it.

    1/5/12 @ 3:24 pm

    When I put my iMac into sleep mode, I had problems getting it to wake up. After more testing, I found that somehow the usb keyboard stops working when the iMac goes to sleep. Unplugging the usb keyboard will wake the iMac.

    Have you encountered this before or do you know why sleep mode seems to be interfering with USB devices? Do you have any solutions for this problem? Thanks.

      1/5/12 @ 4:05 pm

      Don’t know. Maybe a bad USB keyboard? Or something else interfering entirely.

    natasja dames
    2/1/12 @ 4:02 am

    hey uhm i’veplaced my computer on sleeping mode,so i cannotl place it on awake mode or ‘on’ mode

    2/12/12 @ 1:09 pm

    if i using my mbp everyday then should i put it to sleep or shutdown when i’m not using it?

      2/12/12 @ 1:25 pm

      What the video.

        2/14/12 @ 12:40 pm

        sorry,did u mean “watch the video”

          2/14/12 @ 1:42 pm

          :) Yes. Sorry.

            2/16/12 @ 11:47 am

            never mind,that’s fine but thanks a lot for the video,that’s very useful….thanks for the advice gary!

    2/13/12 @ 12:24 am

    I have a SSD MBP. Takes 5 seconds to start up and 2 to shut down. .5 seconds to sleep and .5 to wake up, so no complaints either way lol but any other advantages/disadvantages on the SSD?

      2/13/12 @ 7:44 am

      Lots of little things. Restarting means documents get closed and then re-opened. Older apps (with no resume feature) are a bit harder to deal with this way. Web pages get reloaded on open windows. Things like that.

    Anne Layzer
    2/23/12 @ 1:48 pm

    What about MacInsomnia? Too often I come back to find my iMac has woken up and the fan is roaring. I’ve wondered whether iCal reminder messages are the culprit.

      8/30/12 @ 12:16 pm

      I have the same problem with ‘MacInsomnia’, @Anne … when it’s been asleep for a little while I’ve noticed, with no help from me, it wakes back up on it’s own, but not always. Any thoughts on this question from both Anne and myself, Gary?

      I’ve also noticed recently that the light on my external hard drive (Seagate) does not shut down when my Mac (Snow Leopard Mac OSX 10.6) was in sleep mode, where it had always done so before. I tried closing the folders I was using out of it, but still the light stayed on. (??) Thanks again, Gary, for all the help and knowledge you share with us!

        8/30/12 @ 12:39 pm

        The cause of this is usually some peripheral that keeps the Mac awake: could be USB, Bluetooth, wifi, etc.

    3/3/12 @ 8:35 pm

    So putting my Macbok Pro to sleep at night instead of shutting it down before I go to bed is more recommended in your opinion?

      3/3/12 @ 9:57 pm

      That’s what I do. I never shut down any of my Macs.

    3/12/12 @ 12:06 am

    Gary, my son refuses to put his iMac to sleep because it disconnects his Minecraft server. Is this correct? Is there a way around this? Thanks!

      3/12/12 @ 6:38 am

      Don’t know. You’d have to ask the Minecraft developer about that. But a “server” would disconnect if a computer is “sleeping” most likely.

    3/22/12 @ 5:55 pm

    I would generally put my Windows XP laptop into hibernation instead of shutting down and when I came back to it a few days later it would have only lost 5-10% battery life. Fresh out of the box I noticed my Macbook didn’t last longer than a day when putting it to sleep. I put the machine to sleep when I’m plugged in and I shut it down when I’m trying to stretch every last mile out of the battery. I can’t believe how much this thing drains while only sleeping. I’m looking forward to eliminating Apple from my workflow.

      3/22/12 @ 8:48 pm

      Sounds like there is a problem with that particular MacBook. Maybe some software on it is still running, or the battery is too old. I wouldn’t expect to lose more than 10% of my battery if it slept for 24 hours.
      “Hibernating” is closer to shutting down than sleeping. But it saves memory to the disk first and then reloads it when you start it again. A slower process than sleeping. And with Mac OS X Lion you get most of the benefits of that by using the resume feature (defaults) and shutting down.

    3/25/12 @ 3:25 pm

    For my iMac, with regarding to the internal backup battery, is there a difference whether the computer is shut down or put to sleep? Also, does the iMac use the backup battery when it’s shut down if it is still plugged in?

      3/25/12 @ 3:32 pm

      Internal backup battery? Not sure what you mean by that. There’s no battery that the iMac uses when it is in sleep mode or shut down.

    3/25/12 @ 3:42 pm

    Thanks, Gary. So the iMac only uses its battery when unplugged?

      3/25/12 @ 4:31 pm

      Your iMac doesn’t have a battery. Well, not the sort of battery that people usually talk about when it comes to computers. Sure, there is a tiny little battery for keeping the clock going and PRAM value when it is not in use. But that’s nothing you need to worry about — it should last many years past the useful life of your iMac.

        3/25/12 @ 4:34 pm

        Thanks for the reply. But still, strictly out of curiosity, does an iMac use that battery when shut down but still plugged in? Or only when unplugged?

          3/25/12 @ 7:06 pm

          I don’t know. I’d imagine it doesn’t use it while plugged in. But either way it doesn’t matter. Why would it not be plugged in?

            3/25/12 @ 7:12 pm

            I’ll be away from my apartment for a while. Wasn’t sure whether to leave the computer unplugged.

              3/25/12 @ 7:23 pm

              Well, you might want to unplug it if you don’t have a good surge protector and your area gets thunderstorms or power outages.

    4/1/12 @ 12:35 am

    Hello Gary thank you for the info as I am a new iMac owner. But I have one question that I don’t believe was answered in your video. My wife and I are going back and forth on if our iMac hard drive will have damage from not shutting it down. I prefer place our iMac on sleep mode but my wife is trying to explain to me in the long run it will damage our hard drive. She tells me that our hard drive needs a break and even in sleep mode it will run. So will it cause damage to our iMac in the long run. thank you

      4/1/12 @ 9:17 am

      Look in the System Preferences, Energy Saver. You’ll see that there is a setting for hard drive sleep. It is on by default. This means your drive will sleep even before your display or whole Mac does. When it is asleep your hard drive is also asleep. So it does not run when in sleep mode. Using sleep mode will not damage your drive in the long or short run.

    5/4/12 @ 4:49 pm

    Gary, you are VERY helpful !!!! A “joint issue” has NOT been mentioned so far, namely, the “joint use” of (1) TIME MACHINE and (2) an EXTERNAL HARD-DRIVE, to BACK-UP my software and data. Does my external-drive continue to run when my iMac is SLEEPING and does it stress my external hard-drive to be running all the time ??? When I choose to SHUT-DOWN my iMac, I also make sure to shut-down (turn-off) my external hard-drive and give it a rest.

      5/4/12 @ 5:39 pm

      If your Mac is sleeping or shut down, then your external drive should be off (or in its own sleep mode). Of course that depends on how the manufacturer made it, but all the drives I have seen recently will shut down when not in use and use power wisely.

        5/6/12 @ 11:08 pm

        Gary, you are correct; the “running light” on my external hard-drive gets turned OFF when I put my iMac in SLEEP MODE. Thanks for helping me discover the many advantages of SLEEP MODE … ((<: }

    Jesse Laird
    5/10/12 @ 5:40 pm

    Should I ‘quit’ the browser (Safari) before putting my iMac to sleep?

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