MacBooks and Macs are designed to enter sleep mode when inactive to conserve battery life and energy usage.
However, you may want to disable sleep at times to maintain active processes. Here’s how to prevent your Mac from automatically sleeping.
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Why Your Mac Sleeps
By default, Macs are configured to sleep after a set period of inactivity. For laptops on battery, this may be 10-15 minutes. For plugged-in computers, around 30 minutes.
The display turns off first, then after continued inactivity, the Mac will enter a power-saving sleep mode. All open apps and activities are suspended.
Sleep saves energy and prevents battery drain when you step away from your computer. But sometimes you want to keep the Mac awake longer.
Changing the Inactivity Timeouts
The timeouts that trigger sleep are configurable in your Mac’s System Preferences. Here’s how to adjust them:
Go to System Preferences > Battery
For battery power, adjust “Turn off display while on battery power” and “Put hard disks to sleep when on battery power”
For plugged-in, adjust “Turn off display while on power adapter” and “Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when display is off”
Increase the times or set to Never to make your Mac stay awake longer before sleeping.
Preventing Sleep on Power Adapter
The most direct way to stop sleep is using the “Prevent computer from sleeping” option while plugged in.
Enabling this in Battery preferences will keep your Mac awake even with the display off, as long as it’s connected to power.
This is useful for long downloads, rendering projects, or other tasks you don’t want to interrupt if you step away from the computer.
Why You May Want to Allow Sleep
While disabling sleep can be useful temporarily, there are downsides to leaving a Mac perpetually awake:
- Drains battery rapidly when not plugged in
- Can overheat device if running resource-intensive apps
- Some processes may freeze or get stuck without sleep/reboot cycles
Use good judgement when disabling sleep. Letting your Mac nap regularly is healthy! But for short term needs, you have control over the inactivity sleep settings.