What are the advantages of putting a Mac to sleep instead of shutting it down? We explain what each method has to offer. […]
While Windows users often turn off their PC at the end of the day, Mac users often leave it on for several days. Many Mac users do this because they want to pick up where they left off, but also because they have had the experience that Macs cope well with this kind of behavior – probably because Apple has designed macOS and Macs to be very efficient in terms of energy consumption and performance. But is this really a good idea?
Each user has three options when he no longer needs his computer for the day: he can leave it on, put it to sleep or turn it off.
Do I need to turn off my Mac or MacBook?
Over time, processes and applications can clog up your RAM and slightly decrease performance, especially on older Macs. If it’s been a few days since you last shut down your Mac, you may feel that your Mac is slowing down or no longer working optimally.
You can fix the problem by closing and restarting applications, closing some of the numerous browser tabs you have open, or restarting your Mac.
macOS is good at managing memory usage, but sometimes the only way to really give your device a fresh start is to shut it down and restart it. This will empty the RAM and restart some processes that may have become stuck.
In addition, some updates can only be installed after restarting the Mac. So turning your Mac off and on again from time to time can help you make sure that everything is working as it should.
But how often should you turn off the Mac?
Should I turn off my Mac at night?
Turning off your Mac every night probably won’t do you any more good than leaving it on to preserve all the things you were working on at the end of the day. However, it is advisable to restart your Mac every few days. So if a couple of times a week you can complete the tasks you are working on before the end of the day so that you can shut down your Mac, he will thank you for it.
Is it better to put a Mac to sleep than to turn it off?
When your Mac is put into sleep mode, it consumes less energy and can be “woken up” much faster than it is with a Mac turned off. The new Macs, equipped with a variant of Apple’s M1 processor, wake up almost instantly due to the system configuration, which makes them an even more tempting option.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re only away from your Mac for an hour or two, or even overnight, it’s probably the best method to get it to sleep. In case of prolonged absence, you should turn it off for the reasons mentioned in the next section.
Turning the computer off and on again can waste more energy than leaving it at rest.
If you are worried about the power consumption of an iMac or MacBook, there is no need to do this: it is really minimal when the screen is turned off and the Mac is put to sleep.
Laptops consume extremely little power both when turned off and at rest. 0.21 W at rest on an M1 MacBook Air is equivalent to 0.77 kWh in a year if it rests for 10 hours every night instead of being turned off.
An iMac consumes a little more power both when turned off and at rest, but 1.36 W at rest is still not very much. 10 Hours of rest per night corresponds to an electricity consumption of 5 kWh in a year.
But if you are worried about the power consumption of your Mac, you should of course turn it off when you go to bed.
How to Schedule when your Mac goes to Sleep or Shuts Down
Instead of relying on your own memory, you can also set specific times when your Mac goes to sleep or shuts down and wakes up again. This can be a useful way to mark the end of the working day and have the calculator ready for use again when you come to work in the morning.
To do this, perform the following steps:
- Open System Settings > Save energy.
- Click the Schedule button in the lower right corner.
- You can now click on the “Start or Stop Hibernation” field to specify when you want the Mac to be ready for use (whether on weekdays, weekends, every day or on certain days).
One thing you need to remember is that open programs often prevent macOS from shutting down, because the operating system does not want you to accidentally lose important work that may not have been saved.
To make sure that the automatic shutdown works, you need to close everything when you stop using your Mac.
Do you have a Mac in the box about the holiday season?
If you’re storing your Mac for an extended period of time, Apple recommends that you leave the battery not fully charged (100%) or fully discharged (0%).
If the battery is stored fully charged for a long period of time, it may lose capacity, which can shorten the life of the battery. If the battery is stored completely discharged, it may fall into a deep discharge state, in which it will no longer be able to recharge.
Apps that improve performance and drain memory
If the main reason for shutting down your Mac is to improve performance, maybe you should also consider Mac cleaning software that automatically keeps things tidy and prevents applications from wasting their resources. We have had good experiences with the Mac Cleaner Pro from Nektony (€ 49.95) and CleanMyMac X from MacPaw (€ 29.95).
Also, there are some great programs that can empty your RAM without you having to shut down your Mac. One option is the Parallels Toolbox, which contains more than 30 tools – including a handy tool for freeing up RAM. You can try the software for free for 7 days, after which it costs 19.99 per year.
*Martyn Casserly writes regularly as a freelance journalist for our US sister publications TechAdvisor and Macworld, among others.