Keeping an iMac on all day, possibly longer?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by oosk2k8, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. oosk2k8 macrumors member

    May 25, 2011
    hello I have the mid-2011 iMac, not that it matters tbh, and I have been wondering bout this for over 10 years now with any computer I've owned.

    is it bad for the computer to leave it on (screensaver only, not sleep) 24 hours a day even when not in use? does it wear the CPU etc faster?

    I'm asking now coz when I go to uni with my Retina laptop with the tiny SSD, it'd be nice to activate remote login so I can access any file I want on the iMac.

    Cheers, mucho appreciata

  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    No, it's not bad for it. Many Mac users run weeks or several months at a time without shutting down, restarting or sleeping. They're designed to handle such use.
  3. Tankmaze macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2012
    Before I have the iMac, the MBP was my main machine. and it never sleeps for months, because sometimes I left it for downloading and stuff. and the MBP is hooked to an external monitor with ext keyboard & mouse, so yeah I can speak for this that your mac (iMac/MBP) would be ok to run 24/7.
  4. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Seems to work ok for me :)
  5. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    My iMac gets turned off when a storm takes out the power.

    It gets rebooted for OS X updates.
  6. Smashnet macrumors newbie


    Apr 28, 2012
    Some people even say it's better for the hardware to stay turned on as a constant temperature causes less harm to the hardware as changing temperatures - and yes, cooling down to room temperature when turned off, and again heating up when turned on _is_ a change in the temperature ;-)
  7. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    I used to put mine to sleep, but was having problems waking it for remote access. It has been on constantly for about 2 months or so now with just a few reboots to install ML and a couple other pieces of software.
  8. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    Both my iMacs are on 24/7. Only time restarted is for upgrades. Have a backup battery so it is even on during storms. The only one I shut down regularly is my MBP. Have never had any problems with any of them.
  9. sukai macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2012
    HOw much energy is consumed monthly leaving it on all the time. is there an estimate of some sort?
  10. cheesygrin macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2008
    My iMac stays on most of the time, frequently gets an uptime of a month or more, without any real issues.

    The main hardware components (CPU, RAM, HD, etc.) won't wear out any quicker particularly, but be prepared for fans to get noisier with age and maybe eventually need replacing. If your machine goes onto screen saver for long periods, then I'd maybe consider setting your display to go to sleep after so long on screensaver, partly to save power and partly to save some wear on the display.
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  12. freedevil macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2007
  13. Puckman1 macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2012
    I've been wondering about this actually. When people refer to leaving it on 24/7, are you just changing the Power Settings slider to Never sleep?
    I guess being new to this, I'm wondering what the actual definition of "always on" means here.
  14. G51989 macrumors 68030


    Feb 25, 2012
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    I leave all my main computers on, all the time. Weather it be my iMac ,or my PC gaming rig, or any of my home media servers. They never get turned off. You'll be fine.
  15. Razorhog macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2006
    Ditto. If the power goes out, it's set to shut itself down before my UPS dies. Otherwise, it's up 24/7. I don't even put it to sleep.
  16. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    My 2008 iMac stayed on for years because it would never sleep properly until Mountain Lion. It is used as a sort of household server, so it was somewhat preferable to keep it on, although I do suggest having it turn off the screen after 10 minutes or so, which on mine, reduces power consumption from ~112w (screen dimmest) - 126w (screen brightest), to ~46w (screen off). As I said, it now sleeps under Mountain Lion, and Wake On LAN seems to be basically working, so I'm letting it sleep for the time being, although waking up for AppleTV or iTunes access is definitely a bit slower. But having it asleep using less than 1w for 12-18 hrs a day is a lot of power saved, so I'm trying to make it work.

    As far as longevity, I actually think that in some respects, a computer will last longer if permanently turned on than if it was never turned on.
  17. kuzao macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2008
    My MBP stayed on for 5 years and except that the battery is long gone and he feels the age he is perfectly fine. i also keep my home PC on all the time, partially as file server,streaming server and so on..
    recently went out of the country for two weeks to visit family and switched my home pc off. came back, plugged everything in and pushed the power button - pistol shot like explosion sound from the PSU and computer is dead -.- lesson learned ^^
  18. Dane D. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2004
    Before using my current B/W G3, my old B/W G3 ran for months at a time, re-booting for up dates at the time till my OS was considered obsolete. It served as a Unreal Tournament server, crunched SETI and never had a hiccup. To the poster that had a power supply go out, I too, had that happen to my G4 Digital Audio unit. Turned it off for the weekend and it never booted again, PSU died. Parted it out, only thing left is the case and the motherboard. So I'm not one to turn off my computers unless it is up date related.
  19. Miat macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2012
    I have a refurb mid-2007 24" iMac that has been on more or less continuously since I got it in early 2009. No problems with it yet.
  20. Nova Sensei macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2012

    We can buy a new planet once this one runs out yeah??
  21. David085 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 9, 2009
    Keeping it on 24/7 shouldn't hurt a computer.
  22. janderson0719 macrumors 6502


    Aug 25, 2011
    I would think constantly turning it off and on would be more harmful than leaving it on.
  23. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    Macs are mostly fine with this, but I personally would recommend a reboot at least every week just so the system gets a refresh. Also, put it to sleep rather than screensaver if at all possible, as this is closer to shutting it down, and stores your session in physical memory. This means that CPU, GPU, HDD and other components can be disabled :)

    (A sleeping Mac uses almost the same energy as a shut down one. 0.4W for shut down, 0.8 for sleeping :) )
  24. bmcgrath macrumors 65816


    Oct 5, 2006
    London, United Kingdom
    Yah I've had my iMac for 9 months now and I think in that period it's been off on maybe 3 occasions when I went on holidays. Only need to restart when there's an update or something has gone a miss.
  25. Shivetya macrumors 65816

    Jan 16, 2008
    Mine restarts for two reasons

    1) Bootcamp for times when a VM won't do.

    2) Apple updates. I swear they send updates just to make me boot it

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