Mac not going to sleep? This might fix it!

Mac Not Going To Sleep? This Might Fix It!

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For the past few months, I have struggled with an issue that would prevent both my iMac and MacBook Pro from going to sleep or activating the screen saver.

The fact that the display on neither of my two Macs would turn off after a set time drove me nuts, but the worst thing was that none of the solutions that have worked for other users fixed the problem on my machines.

In my particular case, a configuration setting in an application called Bartender caused the issue.

But since issues related to sleep or wake can have numerous causes, the below tips and tricks on how to fix Mac sleep issues cover every solution I have come across. I hope that one of them will fix the problem on your Mac!

Symptoms Of Mac Sleep And Wake Issues

Before we dive into the potential solutions of Mac sleep and wake issues, let’s discuss how those symptoms present.

On my iMac, Bartender prevented the screensaver from coming on and the display from dimming and, ultimately, turning off. On my MacBook Pro I experienced the same issues, but additionally, my computer also refused to go to sleep, unless I closed the lid.

Screen burn-in - Wikipedia

Besides consuming more energy than necessary, my primary concern was “display burn-in,” which is still an issue on LCD panels.

What Can You Do If Your Mac Doesn’t Go To Sleep?

The good news is that in many cases, the cause of a Mac refusing to go to sleep is incorrect configuration settings. So let’s cover the basics first before we jump into more advanced troubleshooting techniques.

Energy Saver Settings

Mac Energy Saver settings
Mac Energy Saver settings

Open System Preferences and navigate to the Energy Saver settings to confirm that:

  • Turn display off after is not set to Never
  • Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off is not checked
  • Wake for network access is not checked

The three settings above can prevent or disrupt your Mac from going to or remaining in sleep. Additionally, you might want to click on the “Schedule…” button to make sure you haven’t accidentally set a schedule for when your Mac goes to sleep or wakes up. Worst case scenario, hit the “Restore Defaults” button to restore all settings to their default value.

Mac Energy Saver - Schedules
Mac Energy Saver – Schedules

NVRAM and SMC Reset

The next step is to reset the NVRAM and System Management Controller (SMC). These two steps are part of my Mac First Aid procedure and can fix common Mac problems.