Sleep or shut down?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by hello1982, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. hello1982 macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2006
    What is better for the computer: sleep or shut down?

    I'm mainly referring for use with laptops? I have an iBook and am trying to decide if it is best to shut it down or put it to sleep when I'm not using it. Is it fine to transport the iBook with me around in sleep mode? Or would it be better to shut it down completely?

    What's the difference between shut down and sleep, anyway?
  2. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    i might be wrong here, I think sleep is just save all your data in memory to hard disk, when next time open machine, the data will be read back to memory.
    Since restart has many advantages, such as release the cache, clean cup the system, or whatever, I would suggest to shut down rather than sleep, OSX boots very fast anyway.
  3. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    What you're referring to is what PCs call "Hibernate". Macs don't quite do that.

    Plain Sleep doesn't use your HDD at all and just trickles enough current to keep the RAM in the current state. "Safe Sleep" will save to your HDD when the battery is close to running out. Safe Sleep wasn't implemented on iBooks, but IIRC there's a hack for it.

    EDIT: Yup

    FWIW, my iBook (and iMac) are usually in Sleep. I move the iBook around in Sleep mode all the time since the HDD isn't spinning it's safe.

  4. Allotriophagy macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2006
    My iMac (and currently my PowerBook) was left on 24/7, not going to sleep or being shutdown. I only had the screen set to dim then turn off after a set time.

    Never had any problems.
  5. pianoman macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    i read a sleep vs. shut down thread here before. if i recall correctly, the responses were that putting the computer in sleep allows the OS to do some maintenance which cannot be done if it is off. whether or not there is any merit to this, i'm not sure.

    putting your computer to sleep definitely does not harm it; although, a restart is always good every once in a while.
  6. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Not true, the OS can't do anything when the machine is asleep. From a purely physical point of view, sleep is identical to shut down for all but the RAM. The RAM remains powered to save the contents of memory, everything else (CPU, screen, GPU, hard drive, etc) gets powered down completely. So in terms of physical wear and tear on the parts, sleep and shut down are basically identical.

    From a software point of view, it could be argued that shutdown is better because it allows the OS to "start fresh." However, I've seen very little practical benefit to shutting down and starting up as opposed to sleep. I leave all my Macs asleep. They get restarted for updates as necessary. The only time I shut them down is to unplug them during lightning storms. My PowerBook never gets shut down.

    Apple put the sleep feature in for a reason. There's nothing harmful about it, and (IMO) it's much more convenient.
  7. raleigh1208 macrumors member

    Aug 1, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    The user's guide for my mac mini says if you're not going to be using the computer for a "few days" then shut it down; otherwise put it to sleep. I use my mac every day since I got it a few months ago, and I just put it to sleep at night. I think the only time it's been restarted has been with a couple of software updates. I've seen no problems with sleep; in fact I like being about to press a key or move my mouse to wake up my mac and go.

Share This Page