Energy Saving Settings

Your options for Energy Saver will differ depending on the kind of Mac that you have. We’ll look at desktop machine (for example, iMac or Mac Mini) options first, then the laptop (for example, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air) options after.

Before we go any further, let’s clarify what it means for a computer to go to sleep. When you shutdown a computer, everything inside will power off . No processing will happen, nothing will appear on the screen, and you won’t be able to do anything with it until you power it on again.

In Sleep mode, your Mac is still powered on, but various aspects of it (that you set up) will no longer be running until it wakes up.

Energy Saver on a Desktop Mac

To open the Energy Saver window, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Apple icon  at the upper left corner of your screen in the Menu Bar, then click on System Preferences in the drop-down menu. The System Preferences window will appear.
  2. Click on the Energy Saver icon.
  3. Review the options discussed here to determine how you would like to set up your Mac.

The Energy Saver options for desktops can seem a bit overwhelming at first. Let’s look at them as they appear on the window.

The two most basic options are COMPUTER SLEEP and DISPLAY SLEEP.

COMPUTER SLEEP shuts down all of the major functions of your Mac, including the display.

This option will save the most power. Outside entities will not be able to communicate with your Mac, however, unless you provide additional access for this.  In other words, if you are on a network and someone else wants a file on your Mac, they won’t be able to get it until you come out of Computer Sleep mode.

To wake up your Mac again, simply press any key on the keyboard.

DISPLAY SLEEP blacks out the display, but the rest of your Mac is still operating and alert.

If you’re on a network, it will still be available to anyone else. Since displays take up a large percentage of your Mac’s overall power, this option does save quite a lot of energy, but not as much as the Computer Sleep option. As with Computer Sleep, to wake your Mac from Display Sleep, simply press any key on the keyboard.

The other Energy Saver options allow you to control various aspects of Computer Sleep and Display Sleep:

Network Access – Remember how Computer Sleep shuts down the major functions of your Mac and doesn’t allow others on your network access? Checking this box enables access again. If someone on your network wants to connect to your computer while it is in sleep mode, this now allows them to do so. Your computer will wake up while they are accessing it, then go to sleep again at the preset time that you indicated with your Computer Sleep slide bar.

Power Button for Sleep – Some people like the option of pressing the power button once (without holding it down for several seconds) to put their Macs to sleep. Checking off this option enables that functionality.

Reduce Brightness – Checking this option will cause your screen to dim for several seconds before it goes to sleep. It serves as a brief warning that the sleep mode is about to happen. If you don’t want it to sleep yet, just press any key on the keyboard or wiggle the cursor on the screen. Any interaction with the Mac will keep it from sleeping.

Automatic Restart – When your Mac has shut down due to a power failure, checking this option will enable it to restart again once the power is restored The last option with Energy Saver is the Schedule button. Clicking on this brings up a window allowing you to schedule specific times when you want your Mac to either wake up or go to sleep. This option is often useful in an office setting when someone is working a regular schedule and would like their Mac to be on (or off) at certain times of the day or night.

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