How Long Should A iMac Be On For? The Complete Guide

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

iMac desktop computers are beautiful all-in-one setup computers with a keyboard, mouse, and screen. However, you might think leaving an iMac on all day could be doing more harm than good, decreasing your Mac’s performance, making it degrade faster.

In this article, I’ll clear everything up.

Want the best iMac accessories in time for Christmas? Treat yourself or a friend to the iMac products on Amazon by clicking here or the button below

How Often Should I Shut Down My Mac Desktop?

You should restart iMac computers once every three weeks. Only shut down your iMac if you’re experiencing significant slowdowns, applications crashing, or if you are leaving your iMac for weeks unattended. 

Surely shutting down your Mac makes your computer work less, right? While this makes sense, you’re mistaken. It decreases performance instead!

Every shutdown or restart of a computer refreshes the device’s RAM (Random Access Memory). Think of it as your computer’s memory getting wiped, similar to the movie Memento.

If you shut down your computer, all the background application settings or web pages are lost. Your computer has to boot up from 0 again, which takes longer and increases the Mac’s internal components’ stress. Why make your computer go through the struggle of opening all these programs again for no reason?

Mac OS, the operating system of your iMac, is very efficient. There is no need to refresh the RAM if your computer is operating normally, only if programs aren’t working correctly or you get the error, or your computer does not have enough RAM.

My M1 MacBook kept running out of RAM. After a quick restart, this issue is fixed; you shouldn’t shut down your iMac without a good reason. Shutting down a computer increases the stress of the internal components like the internal drive, motherboard, and power supply.

When a computer is turned on, POST (Power-On Self-Test) starts a diagnostic testing sequence to know if the computer’s keyboard, RAM, disk drives, and other hardware are working correctly.

POST is not damaging by itself, but if done too often over the years, ironically, testing its components increases the wear & tear of the elements it’s trying to test!

Worst, you will waste time waiting for your iMac to return instead of waking the iMac instantly from sleep mode.

Keep reading, and I’ll explain how sleep is crucially important for healthy electronics like living life.

Curious why iPhones are the best phones on the market? Discover more in my detailed article.

Is It OK to Leave the iMac on All the Time?

It is okay to leave an iMac on the majority of the time although you should restart your iMac once every three weeks. Keeping your iMac on sleep mode is fine iMacs run background tasks & scripts, index files and clean up Mac OS and more during sleep mode fixing minor errors.

Apple computers, especially older Macs from 2009, are designed to last just like us. Computers need their sleep to run properly. While sleep is so crucial and you’re doing the right thing leaving your iMac on.

All computers run background tasks & scripts to clean up Mac OS, fixing any minor software issues that might have occurred during use. During sleep, the Mac index files, which happen whenever a file is renamed, moved, or created, are crucial if you use Spotlight or Alfred to find files quickly.

When the iMac is on, it doesn’t have the time to do these tasks. If you turn off your iMac overnight every night, your Mac will run slower & slower with increased wear & tear and start time.

However, if you’re worried about your electricity bill, you shouldn’t, as the difference between shutting your MacBook and letting it sleep in power is only about $1.

The lithium-ion battery of your iMac is designed to discharge to maximize its longevity slowly. It is BEST done why the iMac is in sleep mode.

I never turn off my iMac iPhone or M1 MacBook Air unless there is an issue. If you find Windows not overlapping properly or your iMac begins to freeze, restart your iMac.

Naturally, these software/hardware issues will occur once every three weeks. So restarting your iMac to fix these issues is all you need to do to keep your iMac healthy.

However, unlike MacBooks, you need to sleep your iMac manually. So keep reading to ensure you are making your iMac sleep correctly.

How To Put Your iMac To Sleep
  1. Choose Apple menu > Sleep.
  2. On a Mac notebook computer, close the display.
  3. If you have the option on your keyboard, press Option-Command-Media Eject key. Tip: If your Mac has a Touch Bar, you can add the Sleep button to the Control Strip.

Do you wonder if there is any benefit to buying Apple products on or your nearest Apple store? To know for sure, I suggest you read my in-depth blog post.

How Long Can an iMac Stay On For?

iMac works until hardware components fail. You should restart your iMac every three weeks, although many people use it 24/7 and go months between restarts. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences for more energy efficiency, then click Energy Saver. iMacs use 1.22W of power. Turning the iMac off, keeping it plugged in uses 0.24W.

Ironically the people who always turn off their iMacs after use are doing MUCH more damage than letting the iMac rest.

Notice how a computer or phone takes a lot longer to restart or turn on than waking from sleep?

When a computer is turned on, POST (Power-On Self-Test) starts a diagnostic testing sequence to know if the computer’s keyboard, RAM, disk drives, and other hardware are working correctly.

POST is not damaging by itself, but if done too often over the years, ironically testing its components increases the wear & tear of the features it’s trying to test!

It is completely fine if you leave your iMac on for months without restarting. However, organically using the computer will force you to restart the iMac whenever you encounter a hardware or software issue like overlapping windows or a slow computer enough for POST to diagnose any problems.

Can I Leave My Mac on 24/7?

You can leave your Mac on all day without encountering any issues. Months of users go months without restarting their Mac. You should restart your iMac once every three weeks. Keeping your iMac in sleep mode is fine. iMacs run background tasks & scripts, index files, clean up Mac OS, and more during sleep mode, fixing minor errors.

All modern electronic devices, game consoles, laptops, phones, and your Mac are designed never to be turned off. Only turn off a modern device if you encounter software or hardware issues like apps taking forever to load or a screen issue.

By default, your iMac goes to sleep after two minutes of inactivity, ensuring your iMac gets the rest of sleep. Next, it needs to run crucial background tasks fixing any potential issues your computer might face.

I still recommend restarting your iMac once every three weeks so the Mac’s Random Access Memory (RAM) can refresh. I didn’t restart my M1 Air MacBook for months. I started to notice problems with the RAM, with the Mac telling me I needed to close applications to keep running.

I should have restarted my MacBook a LONG time ago. However, when I restarted the MacBook, everything ran perfectly; it was the MacBook I REMEMBERED!

If you find your Mac not running as it used to and you haven’t restarted it in a while, give restarting a try. It resets the computer’s settings, likely fixing any issues you were having.

It was SO stressful. To prevent stress, if it happens to you, please read my detailed guide on everything you need to know about Apple account recovery.

Latest posts

  • Why Isn’t My Fitbit And MyFitnessPal Syncing?

    MyFitnessPal is perhaps one of the most practical and accurate apps on Fitbit that lets you track your daily diet and activity. By syncing your MyFitnessPal account with Fitbit, you can make the most of both these tools and stick to a healthy lifestyle. However, some Fitbit users have complained about Fitbit and MyFitnessPal not…

    Read more

  • Why Is My Fitbit Not Working?

    According to Fitbit, one of the most common reasons a Fitbit tracker is not working is due to syncing issues. These fitness devices sync with Android or iOS devices via Bluetooth, a technology that is not always reliable. Also, the charging problem is another common issue for Fitbits not turning on. In addition to syncing…

    Read more

  • How Wide Are Fitbit Bands? 

    Fitbits are well-known for their accurate activity and sleep tracking ability. But one issue that many users face with these devices is the band’s short lifespan. When it unravels, you have to replace it in order to continue using the tracker. Fortunately, there are many aftermarket bands available for various Fitbits. But, in order to…

    Read more