How often should a Mac be rebooted?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Libertine Lush, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. Libertine Lush macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2009
    Being accustomed to Windows I use reboot the PC at the least every few days. And I've certainly read of and been told of Mac users sometimes rebooting as infrequently as once a year.

    So long as there are no problems with the OS (I'm using Snow Leopard), is it okay to not reboot until slowdowns or problems occur, even if that means you haven't reboot for as much as a year?

    I ask this as I wonder if perhaps minor issues could be accumulating in the background that may not necessarily manifest into problems evident to the user over such extended usage.

    Or perhaps memory leaks. For example, I notice the memory usage of Firefox over the course of the day goes up to nearly 1gig. I don't notice it slowing down the OS or Firefox, but I do usually restart it at some point during the day so it goes back down.

    I like to inspect the data from Activity Monitor, leaving it on and visible in the Dock, and I notice that the amount of "Free" memory at the start of a fresh boot is still always a good bit more than the amount of Free memory after some hours of use (even after I've closing all open programs so the number of processes open then is the same as during a fresh boot). So I also wonder if the amount of "Free" memory will continually, however gradually, diminish through weeks or months of simply putting the Mac to sleep?

    Thanks for any insight.
  2. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    Your real available memory is Free + Inactive memory. Although rebooting gives you more "Free" memory, Inactive memory is a cache of previously used things and usually speeds up your work flow.

    However, errors can occur in memory over time and rebooting flushes them away. I like to reboot once a week and then run Disk Utility to verify my disk. If you are not using Time Machine this is also a good time to back up.
  3. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    Unless programs or hardware are giving you problems I would just reboot whenever the computer asks you to due to a software update.

    Personally would say everyday just because there is no need to have the computer sucking up electricity when you are not using it, I turn off my main desktop two or three times a day. Standby still uses power. I also flip the switch on my power strip cutting power to my stereo and other devices on standby.
  4. MacDawg macrumors P6


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    There is no set time frame for a restart, so it is mainly dictated by the behavior and performance of your system or personal preference

    Some system software updates require a restart, so you will of course restart then

    Other than that, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, so to speak

    I find myself restarting every couple of weeks
    Usually after I have run VMware Fusion and Win7 just to flush it out of the system :)

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  5. colourfastt macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2009
    In my case, I 'sleep' my iMac when I'm done for the day, but if I'm going to be away for a day or more then I do a shut down.
  6. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I reboot perhaps once a month, if then, or after a software update if it's required.
  7. Libertine Lush thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2009
    Ah that's good to know.

    That's what I thought might possibly occur, so I'm thinking I'll stick with my original intent to reboot roughly once a week or so. That's only about 25 seconds lost per week.

    Thanks everyone for your replies.
  8. glowfly macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2010
    i reboot when ever there is a software update.. its pretty easy that way.. macs are hard and steady
  9. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Why? My 9-year-old iBook regularly pulls months of uptime with no ill effects.
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G4


    Feb 20, 2009
    I shut my systems down completely at night (even turning off the power strip to which they're connected) and reboot in the morning.

    Less wear and tear on the hardware. And a "fresh start" for the OS each day.

    It's kept this mid-2004 g4 MDD going with the _original_ system software installation (notwithstanding updates through "software update") for nearly _6_ years. Never done a "full re-install". No need to.

    I don't use many 3rd-party system enhancements either. Somehow, things just work better that way...
  11. harleygold macrumors regular


    Nov 1, 2009
    So must you Mac users never turn your Mac off at all?
  12. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    I have had my MBP for almost a year and a half, and it is only turned off to reboot when i need to (ie; software update or when i installed a new HDD). It runs all the time and I have had no ill effects. If something goes wrong, I have AppleCare. Until I am told differently, I will keep on doing the same thing.
  13. Habitus macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2009
    Where ever my life takes me...
    I reboot at least once a day. I suggest the same.

    Habitus :apple:
  14. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Well, there are occasional cases where software updates or installs will require a restart, but otherwise, not usually. My Intel iMac restarts whenever I want to run Windows, though.
  15. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    Same here.

    Except for using Boot Camp or system updates I never reboot my iMac. It is OS X after all, not Windows. There is no need.

    At night or when I am going to be away from the machine I put it into sleep mode. This has worked fine for me with no related performance issues whatsoever in 4 years of Mac usage.

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