Restarting/Sleeping Your Mac: What You Must Know!

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Do you restart your Mac quite often? Then this post is for you. Here, I will address questions like whether it is bad to restart your Mac too often, how often you should restart your Mac and other related topics.

Is It Bad to Restart Your Mac a Lot?

As a general rule, restarting your Mac a lot wouldn’t have any significant impact since these devices are made to be turned on and off. However, if you get obsessed with restarting your Mac and do it multiple times in a minute, then it may impact the mechanical components to some extend.

How Often Should You Restart Your Mac?

As a general rule, you should restart your Mac once every few days, especially if you use a variety of applications. But rest assured, you should restart your Mac only if you want to fix any issues or update a problem that requires you to restart the system. 

Note that you should shut down your Mac only if it needs any update, it is running slow, or if you aren’t going to be using it for a few days. Otherwise, restarting your Mac won’t make much sense, and instead, you should put it in sleep mode.

Generally, most laptops use lithium-ion batteries. To get the maximum life out of these batteries, you have to discharge them slowly. So sleep mode is a good option for this purpose.

When we allow our laptop to discharge – which is to let the battery run down, and that will keep the electrons moving. In turn, it helps maintain the charge capacity and prolongs the battery life.

Remember that you should not leave your laptop plugged in to the charger for longer as that won’t allow it to discharge.

Learn more about whether or not leaving the MacBook Plugged in hurts the battery in my detailed guide on MacBooks battery charging.

Should You Restart Your Mac Every Day?

There’s no need to restart your Mac every day unless there’s an update in Mac that needs to be installed or if you need to fix some issues. It is recommended to keep the Mac in sleep mode instead of shutting it down if you would be using it again within a short time.

Restart your Mac if you want to do any troubleshooting steps or required for the updates. Rest, unless you are not going to use your Mac for long, it is generally advised just to put your Mac to sleep.

When you don’t use your Mac, you can put it to sleep, and although doing that, your Mac remains turned on but consumes much less power.

Another benefit you can have from keeping your Mac in sleep mode is it will take much less time for your Mac to wake up, then it would start again after you turn it off.

In addition, some Mac notebook computers also have a feature called “Safe Sleep.” 

What this safe sleep feature does is save the current state of your Mac each time you put it to sleep. (Example open documents or apps).

Why is this feature helpful? Well, it saves your information from getting lost in case your Mac gets completely shut down during sleep (that can occur if the battery runs down or if you replace it).

Is It Better to Restart or Shut Down Mac?

As a general rule, you should shut down your Mac when you won’t be using it for a long time, that too keeping the battery at 50%. Whereas you should restart whenever there is any update, your Mac is acting sluggish, or if you want to fix some issues.

In Macs, whether you shut down or restart, everything gets cleared. These processes help clear all the functions and cache and refresh the machine.

So for us Mac users, there’s no noteworthy difference between shut down and restart, considering that both will help clear the RAM.

Shutting down flushes the Random Access Memory (RAM) of the Mac. Although this can be good in certain situations, more often than not, it is completely unnecessary.

Flushing your RAM means it will take longer than usual when you restart your Mac and start loading the programs. Also, the programs won’t perform at optimal levels until you use them for some time and the relevant data is loaded back into RAM.

After you restart, all the temporary data stored in RAM that allows us to multitask efficiently needs to be reloaded.

Since macOS manages its RAM quite efficiently, it is not required to flush your RAM constantly. However, you should do it (through a restart) only if you are experiencing system slowness or any other issues.

Your Mac would often prompt you to make a restart when an update is released. If you are interested in using the benefits of that update, you will have to restart your Mac. It’s because your Mac can’t replace files while they are already in use.

Hence, the Mac would need time to swap the files while not using the computer. However, you would require fewer restarts with the latest OS versions than the previous versions. So you can expect to see fewer restart prompts in the future.

I have written a post on how often you should shut off your Mac. I highly encourage you to check it out if you are interested to know more about it.

Is It Safe to Leave Mac on Sleep Mode?

It is safe to leave Mac on sleep mode, mainly because the Macs and computers nowadays have Solid State Drives (SSDs) that are like chips and don’t have physical moving parts. Hence, these components are less likely to wear out than Hard Disk Drives (HDDs).

Previously, in computers, many mechanical components like Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) were used. As a result, many users preferred to shut down their computer devices instead of allowing the machine to keep running, as they could wear them down.

But nowadays, most modern laptops and Macs have replaced the HDDs with the SSDs, the solid-state drivers. It is important to note that the SSDs are more like chips than disks.

Moreover, SSDs don’t have physical moving parts, so they are much less likely to wear. In addition to that, they are faster and have more storage capacity.

So long story short, keeping them running while your Mac is in sleep mode won’t be an issue.

Remember that this doesn’t mean you should rarely shut down your Mac.

Though macOS can manage Memory usage quite efficiently, it is recommended to shut down your Mac at least once in a while.

Shutting down your Mac will help clear out the RAM and ensure everything runs appropriately or not.

You can choose never to shut down your MacBook depending on your personal preference, but there are some factors that you need to take into account.

If you keep your Macbook on in sleep mode, it can drain the battery over time. So a better option would be to shut it down sometimes between your usage periods. 

Shutting down and saving your battery power might benefit you, especially when you don’t have charger access near you. And if you do have, remember that keeping your Mac plugged in all the time can shorten the battery’s lifespan. 

When you restart or shut down your Mac, your RAM gets freed up, making the applications run quicker. (RAM used for temporary storage is nothing but the cache).

However, if you don’t restart your Mac, your Mac will start becoming slower over time. 

Although the macOS is efficient enough and always frees up RAM and other resources, why take the chance and let the cache build up. Right? 

Another factor you should note is that if you don’t shut down your Mac and keep it running, then most of its mechanical parts, like the hard disk and fan, will still keep on running.

Although if your Mac has an SSD for the hard drive, you would have to worry less about getting worn out. But if you have older Mac versions that use the HDD, it is not recommended to leave it switched on as the HDD may get worn out.

As a general rule, you should shut down if you will not use your Mac for not more than 36 hours. Also, keep in mind that your battery should be at 50% before you shut down your Mac.

Learn more about how often you should shut down a MacBook here in my article.

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