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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Troubleshooting a too-sleepy Mac

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Of the three Macs in my house, the Mac mini is the glue that holds my computing infrastructure together. It’s my central repository for my data, my entertainment center, and it also acts as a portal from the outside world. (I can ssh or sftp into it from anywhere in the world, which turns out to be quite handy on occasion.)

But lately, the mini’s been dozing off like a narcoleptic koala on Ambien. Despite Energy Saver settings instructing it to never sleep and a deactivated screen saver, it seemed to go into sleep mode any time I left it alone for more than a few hours. More to the point, it also refused to wake up when I tried to initiate a network connection, which was irritating when I tried to retrieve a file from one of my other local Macs and downright frustrating when I was trying to retrieve some files while I was in another city.

I checked out pmset -g1 in the command line to see if anything looked out of order, but didn’t notice any glaring issues. After some further searching, I found a recommendation to trash the Energy Saver preference file at /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ and manually restored my settings. I threw in a system restart for good measure, and all seems to be ticking along for the moment.

Obviously, this may not fix all sleep-related problems, but if you’ve got a Mac that’s sleeping too much or not at all, it might be worth a shot.

  1. This gives you a rundown of the power management settings for your Mac, and can sometimes suss out something that’s incorrectly configured. But it does largely look like gibberish, even if you read the manual page.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]

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