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When I close the lid of my Macbook Pro (Lion), it goes to sleep, which is good: it powers down without closing my applications.

But if I just leave the computer unattended for a while without closing the lid, it attempts to shut down instead. It usually fails at this, because there's often a program such as Photoshop (which doesn't use Lion's autosave feature) blocking shutdown with a "Save as" dialog. But it does always succeed, annoyingly, in closing my browser etc. It does this even when the computer is plugged in and fully charged.

When I leave my computer unattended for 15 minutes, I want it to behave exactly as if I had closed the lid: it should go to sleep, not shut down.

How can I do this?

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Does your laptop typically try to shutdown at a certain time of the day? If so, it could be that you have the schedule in the energy saver preference pane set to auto-shutdown your computer on a specific time interval. Check System Preferences > Energy Saver > Schedule to see if that is the problem. – Bryan Luby Apr 11 '12 at 17:21
No, I've checked there; there's definitely no scheduled shutdown. Thanks anyway. – callum Apr 11 '12 at 17:36
An app that doesn´t solve your problem but is somewhat related and is very useful is, Caffeine. Very nifty widget, but wont solve your bug... – Fredrik Nordström Apr 11 '12 at 19:03
@callum Have you taken a look in the Console for any potentially relevant messages either before or after the computer shuts down? If not, click All Messages in the left-hand pane then scroll down to the approximate time period and see whats there. Alternatively, filter the log for "shutdown" or something similar. – binarybob Apr 11 '12 at 19:43
I have the same problem! – jlarson Aug 28 '12 at 20:30

Try going to System Preferences and choosing Security & Privacy. When that application window opens, choose "General" tab and then look to the lower right corner and click on "Advanced". Uncheck "Log out after _ _ minutes of inactivity.

Not sure but this might be the cause.

Good luck

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Yes, indeed, the "Log out after 60 min" had a check mark. That was the problem. I was just lucky that the OS was unable to Quit certain applications that do not use the built-in Autosave feature, but many times I found myself at the Login screen when coming back to the puter.

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It could be the SMC, or a bug in the firmware. Try these two steps:

  1. Reset the SMC, see:

  2. You may need a firmware update, see:

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I know this might not be very helpful... but my guess is that you have an app or widget that has scheduled a shutdown... either that or the energy preferences but you checked that already...

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Thanks for everyone's advice on this. When I asked the question I thought this auto-shutdown thing was some feature I must have accidentally enabled somewhere... But after a lot of searching, update-installing, settings-tweaking, etc, I concluded it was just some rare bug in my system.

In the end, I just re-installed OS X. That fixed it :)

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This did the trick, thanks callum ! I upgraded to Maverick in 2014 and suddenly my mac was constantly logging off and shutting down all apps after 15min. I had that security setting enabled after the upgrade. Thanks for the tip ! – user71316 Feb 24 '14 at 21:12

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