Any downside to leaving iMac in "Sleep" mode for weeks?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jman995x, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. jman995x macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2007
    I tend to leave my iMac in Sleep mode (sometimes for weeks at a time).
    Is there any downside to doing this?
    I know a lot of people will ask why I just don't turn off the computer...and the reason is I don't want to close all of the windows and webpages I have open...I want to have them available at a moments notice.
  2. ghboard2010 macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2010
    Dont look now, I'm right behind you
  3. OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2011
    Lucky Country
    The only part about your question is "weeks at a time". If by that , you mean you are away from your residence, I hope you have a good surge protector protecting against those evil power surges.

    I only turn mine off during storms - having been struck once.
  4. g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2003

    I left my 17" in sleep for several months.

    Forgot date/time.

    Got confused when I attached charger and rebooted. First time booted fine, but 2nd reboot did not.

    Fortunately was able to then boot from another external drive.

    Somehow I did something wrong as the disk did get corrupted. All the files and folders seemed to be there, but user settings and login info was missing.

    Fortunately was able to recover entire disk from a time machine backup.

    Your mileage may vary.

    I agree with OP. Shouldn't make a difference, and my experience may be an anomaly.
  5. B1ueB1aze macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Your experience was definitely an anomaly. I've only heard of Windows computers having issues when not rebooted for months lol. I've never had an issue with my Mac or any UNIX or UNIX-like system when left in sleep mode for extended periods of time.
  6. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    I hope you leave it plugged in to a good ups. That way you have the surge protection plus it won't have issues if there is a power glitch.
  7. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I wouldn't leave it on for weeks in sleep mode, unless you have very good power protection. Power outages in any 'mode' always run the risk of causing problems. So, it's not the 'sleep' that would cause a problem... it's just the heightened risk of the computer being 'on' when the power is borked.
    Different situation. In 'sleep' mode a laptop is still pulling power from the battery, though at a very small rate. First of all the main battery was drained. At some point it would have attempted to write the contents of the RAM to the HDD - which works well if the battery has enough power to complete the write process. Then the system would have drained a small secondary battery that maintains date/time and other system settings.

    It should have recovered itself after being plugged back into the power, though it can take some time - and if it is left to sort things out on its own. Unless the secondary battery had gone bad, which it might do if it is drained entirely too many times.

    For lap tops, either leave them plugged in if left in sleep mode for extended periods, shut them down entirely if left for a while and not plugged into power. The time/date and other settings still need power, but it can take the power from the main battery - which will last a lot longer. Plus it is not holding anything in RAM when you shut it down.
  8. magilla macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2013
    OK ... so maybe I'm just officially dumb but again, WHY leave it on if you're not using it? How many hundreds/thousands of windows/applications do you have up and running at any given time?

    Any browser you're using knows what webpages you last had open. If you're not THERE to use the applications that you have running, again, they'll call up what you last had up and open, why in God's name would you leave them open and the machine running on the off chance that you'll return from who knows where and want to use them "at a moments [sic] notice?

    I mean it's not like we're talking about a Sperry Univac that took a half hour just to heat up before you could start doing anything with it. And given the all-over general state of the world/country economy, why would you burn electricity needlessly if you're not there. Do you leave all your house lights and appliances on when you're not at home just so when you return you have them "at a moments notice?"

    What am I missing here? Electronics have a finite lifetime and they're built with a certain MTBF factor already accounted for in on/off cycling.

    Please tell me that your NOT an attorney who bills four figures an hour and restarting your computer when you come home to work on a client results in you billing the poor schlub $150 while you wait until your computer comes back up.:confused:
  9. g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2003
    You may forget. Especially true if you have several laptops. No indication that computer is sleeping when closed like they use to do.
  10. g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2003
  11. Arfdog macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2013
    I'm not sure if you're dumb, but you're definitely confused. Sleep uses almost zero power. No harm whatsoever in leaving it in that mode, even for months.

    Given this, why would you want to close applications that you want to use at a moment's notice? Computers have more than enough capacity to do so, why not use it?
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    As long as it's plugged in. In sleep mode it will drain the battery in weeks or even days, depending on the health of the battery.

    There is a risk, by the way… if you are sleeping it, and keeping it plugged in so it doesn't drain the battery, then it is at risk of being spiked by a power surge… even if it is a very small risk (in some places). Honestly, if I was leaving it for more than a few days I'd shut it down and unplug it. But I'm conservative with my data.
  13. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    If you're using the computer more than once or twice a day it uses less power to just leave it in sleep mode as opposed to restarting it every time you want to use it unless something has changed in the last couple years.

    For the OP, there aren't any problems that will be caused by leaving your computer up and just putting it to sleep. I only turn my computer off when there is an update that requires a restart, or I'm going to be away from it for a couple days, although I don't always turn it off even then. And I've had no problems with it.
  14. SmokingKipper macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2013
    Hi, do you have any figures to back this up, or is this just your personal observations?

    Thanks :)
  15. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
    None at all.
  16. magilla macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2013
    I agree completely. Even in sleep mode, it's still sucking power if it's plugged into anything. And if it's run off an internal battery, it's sucking power from THAT.

    Transient voltage spikes do both instantaneous as well as cumulative damage and buying the best surge suppressor you can afford is cheap insurance.


    I understand that for the use once or more a day but the OP's post made it sound like they'd be "away" for more than a day or two.

    If that's so, still, would you leave house lights burning all the time if you weren't there? Most people would at least put them on a timer.

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