Sleep setting for Mac is to save energy and to turn on quickly when you come back after a while. The sleep settings do not turn off the Mac but it is on and consumes less energy. The sleep mode does not have to load all the data as it is not turned off so it is quicker. Let us find out the different sleep modes for Mac and how to change the sleep mode in Mac.

sleep mode on mac

Sleep Mode

This sleep mode is the default sleep mode on Mac. In this sleep mode the RAM is kept powered on so that when you come back it turns on very quickly. The RAM isn’t sleeping in this mode so need to copy any data because its already loaded in the RAM.


Hibernation mode copies the content of RAM to the drive before going to sleep. When the Mac goes to sleep the power is cut off from the RAM. When you come back and turn on your Mac the RAM is turned on again and contents are copied back from the drive. So its takes a bit time to turn on so this process is little bit slower.

Safe Sleep

In this mode the contents are copied to the drive before going to sleep. But in this case the RAM’s powered is not cut off but it is powered on. The RAM is turned on so when you turn on your Mac it is really quick and fast to come back. The data information is already loaded in RAM but the purpose of copying it to drive is in case your Mac encounters battery failure the data is not lost.

Standby Mode

There is another mode for Mac other than sleep mode that is called standby mode. It is used to save the battery power. The Mac can remain in standby mode for more than 30 days when it is remained idle. However the standby time for Mac is almost 15 to 20 days for Mac with good battery condition. Newest versions of Mac from 2013 onwards supports standby mode and when your Mac is idle for more than 3 hours then it is sent to standby mode by default only when it is not connected to some external devices.

Checking the Sleep mode in your Mac

The Mac default mode is Sleep mode. However to check the sleep mode in your mac you have to type the command in terminal window. Terminal window is accessed through /applications/Utilities/. You have to enter the command pmset -g | grep hibernatemode in the terminal window. The response will be one of the following.

  • First option is hibernatemode 0, it is the default sleep mode for Mac.
  • It can be hibernatemode 1, it is the hibernate mode and it was default mode for portable before 2005.
  • Or  hibernatemode 3, it is safe sleep mode and it was default sleep mode for portables after 2005.
  • hibernatemode 25, it is hibernate mode and it is also the default mode for portable after 2005. This mode has longer battery life but slower turn off and on time.

Command to Change Mac’s Sleep Mode

The sleep mode of Mac can be changed easily for Mac’s portable version from 2005 onwards. The older versions doesn’t support it and should not be tried. The administrative password is required to change the sleep mode.The command for this is sudo pmset -a hibernatemode X. Here X is variable and you can replace X with number 0,1,3 or 25 depending upon your choice.