Put to sleep or shut down?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
graybalanced Veteran Member • Posts: 6,924
Re: Put to sleep or shut down?

4x5joe wrote:

I bought a 2019 iMac new last year when it was released. Apple support suggested I turn it off whenever I am not using it.

It's kind of shocking that they said that. Apple of all people should know that macOS is based on Unix, which was designed for servers that rarely get turned off.

A properly running Mac should have no problem staying powered for months at a time. Some people say you have to restart it to clear out the RAM or some such, but from what I have seen, that's bunk. Sure, I've seen RAM use build over time, but if you wait enough days, the Mac does housekeeping and clears itself out.

My Mac laptop often goes a couple weeks between restarts. Sometimes I don't bother unless there's a system update. I leave it running if I am in the middle of projects involving multiple applications and windows open to specific pages or scroll positions in documents, or with tools in a certain state...I hate to throw all those workspaces out and have to rebuild them in the morning just because I shut down the machine. Would much rather just open my laptop lid and find every document in the exact state it was when I closed the lid last night. Also, it's much nicer to "instant on" from sleep rather than sit through the startup and login delays. Would much rather avoid shutting down.

The Mac can be set to "reopen all windows" on restart, but it doesn't do an exact restore of all document and tool states.

For desktops, it's different. It might be better to turn off a Mac desktop when not using it, unless it is plugged into a good voltage regulated UPS. Many of the replies above talk about thunderstorms, but our electronics are constantly exposed to damaging voltage surges and drops all day long. A running desktop Mac not on a UPS would at some point get a unexpected power cut.

If on a UPS, it is probably OK to leave a desktop Mac powered, and sleeping overnight, to take advantage of instant-on restoration of everything that was open from the last session. Under the protection of a UPS I have run a desktop Mac for over 10 months of continuous uptime, not kidding. It runs an older version of macOS that no longer gets updates that require a restart.

But, if you only work on one or two things at a time and don't mind starting them up every time, shutting down at night is fine. Either way, a desktop computer should be on a voltage regulated UPS to help the electronics last longer.

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