Sleep Sleep Little Mac

Found a couple of tips about getting Macs to sleep in recent months, one I just find useful and the second you really should pay attention too if you have a Macbook or Macbook Pro.

When using the power button to get your Mac to sleep you get a prompt for “Restart – Sleep – Cancel Shutdown”, it’s pretty quick to choose something but you have to reach for the mouse to click on sleep since “Shutdown” is pre-selected. I can’t remember or find the exact post where I got this but you can hit Apple+Shift+Eject (without touching the power button) to go straight to sleep. It saves fractions of a second!

The important one has to do with how the Macbooks sleep. It’s especially relevant if you had a Powerbook or iBook before. When putting those to sleep, the pulsing white light on the front edge would light up only once the Mac was actually sleeping and it would only take 2-3 seconds so you easily knew where you were at in the process.

On the Intel based laptops, it takes quite a bit longer to get to sleep* but the light comes on right away so you might think it’s gone to sleep. Not knowing wouldn’t have been a problem when it was taking 2 seconds. Nowadays though it can take 7-8 seconds and the hard drive is usually in use during that time. On a couple of occasions I’ve actually heard the clink of the hard drive emergency parking when flipping my Macbook Pro vertically to slide it in my bag. Not good.

The tip is a simple one; the Intel Macs are ready to sleep not when the light comes on but when it pulses so make absolutely sure it does so before moving it around. Hard drives are a lot more rugged then they used to be so chances of damaging them at that moment (especially with the built in accelerometer parking the drive) are slim but you might mess up your session being put to sleep if you don’t let OS X finish the job. Plus, if you remember the time when bumping into a table with a PC on it could result in hdd problems, you’ll also keep yourself from cringe inducing hard drive noises.

* Some people I’ve mentioned this to raise the point that it’s probably that most recent ones have more RAM which is longer to put on disk before sleep but a) sleep doesn’t dump the RAM on the disk, it just keeps the content of the RAM live with very low power. It does do something on the hard drive too because you hear it spinning while waiting but I’m not sure it’s 100% related to RAM. b) I went from 1.5Gb to 2Gb and the time difference is a lot more than 33%.

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