Mac Tips And Tricks - Power Problems

Mac Tips And Tricks - Energy Saving Techniques

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A few weeks ago we wrote about protecting your Mac from sudden energy surges, either from the electrical storm type, or the dreaded brownout that is all too common for many people. We wanted to revisit the energy topic again, but this time it’s all about saving energy!

There is a lot of confusion and differences of opinions on energy savings on the Mac. It comes down to three choices: 1) Should you just leave it on? 2) Should you put it to sleep? or 3) should you turn it off completely?


Back in the days of the CRT monitor (you remember those, yes?), it was unheard of to leave your Mac or PC running for hours doing nothing.

The above picture is a CRT monitor from a 1980’s era Ms. Pac-Man game. Notice this monitor is not connected to an arcade, and has no power. You can still see the Ms. Pac-Man maze, because it has “burned in” to the monitor. This screen / monitor is toast.

Screen burn-in was a real concern, and those monitors used a ton of power to run. So early on, Apple built in enery saving technology, more to save your monitor than to actually save on your power bill. Today, it’s more about saving money and energy than screen burn-in.

Sleep or Off

Today, it makes much less sense to shut your computer off every night and restart it in the morning. The energy savings mode built into your Mac does a fantastic job of putting your Mac into a hibernation that uses very little power. There is also the fact that waking your Mac up from sleep takes almost no time at all with modern computers.


With this feature, you can not only tell your Mac when you want it to go to sleep, but also when to wake up. In my case, I am usually in bed by midnight, and if I forget to put my Mac to sleep, it will do so automatically at 12:00AM. I am usually out of bed shortly after 5:00AM, so I have my Mac wake up at that time. It’s perfect, as I always leave my email client running, so by the time I get my first hot cup of coffee, my Mac is fully awake with all my unread message ready for me from the night before.

This is also a great option for backing up your Mac. Let’s say you work every day from 8AM to 5PM, so why leave your Mac at home running all day long? You can manually put your Mac to sleep when you leave in the morning, but have it wake up at noon, run for an hour, and then go back to sleep. That’s when you can have your daily back-up running, be it to a local external hard drive or a cloud service. That way, your Mac is not chugging along doing a back-up while you are doing some work in the evening.

Network Access & Hard Drives

If you have to remotely access your Mac, putting it to sleep is not a problem as long as you make sure to select the “Wake for network access” option. And putting hard disks to sleep when possible is smart, so as to keep it from overheating.

Comments from You!

Do you put your Mac to sleep, or are you firmly in the “turn it off when not in use” crowd? We would love to hear from you! Email us your opinions on Energy Savings, and we will share that in future emails!