Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In today's age with low power standby modes & the advanced OS X that is Mountain Lion, it is simpler than ever to go for long periods (perhaps months) without shutting down your iMac (and possibly Mac Mini too).

Is it really necessary to perform a complete shut down of your Mac (and what considerations if any need to be taken account of) ?

share|improve this question
    
You should let it go to sleep as needed. If you have an Apple router it will proxy the Bonjour announced services, and wake the machine as needed. –  Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen May 21 '13 at 22:29
add comment

6 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Shutdown vs. Sleep is a constant question.

It used to be that shutting down the early OS X machines caused issues with timed log cleanup routines. That's pretty much a non-issue these days as the OS recognizes when the routines haven't run and will reschedule them.

Another concern has been restarting to free up memory or just make the machine more stable. This has been overcome to a degree by the sandboxing of apps so that they don't intrude on each other's memory footprint, etc.

The other big consideration is cost. Apple does a good job of making sleep efficient, but it is still uses 4x-5x more power than shutdown (also known as idle). This is dependent on your Mac (iMac = 4x and Mac Mini = 5x).

You can read more about this on Apple's site and select the report for your Mac.

Also, shutting down a Mac still causes some power drain and is referred to as "idle" by Apple. Consider that it always needs power because you can set your Mac to automatically shutdown at a certain time and startup at a certain time (System Preferences > Energy Saver > Schedule). For me, I set automated sleep and wake times and almost never reboot.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Can't believe almost every one of these recommendations is saying to NOT restart your computer on even a semi-regular basis. I have a rMBP which I restart at least once a week. I also have a Early 2008 iMac that acts as a server that I restart at least twice a month. I do this b/c it allows the machine to purge unused memory and temp data that builds up over time.

I work in IT for a large, Mac-based school district. I cannot tell you the number of times that a simple restart fixes simple issues and how much better my staff's computers run if they restart once a week. On average, especially if your machine gets used quite a bit; I would recommend restarting your Mac (or any computer for that matter) at least once a week. A lot of it depends on how you use your Mac.

In the end, if you're Mac isn't a server, then restart it every once in awhile. "Always-on" is meant to be for Servers, and even then, servers have to be restarted from time to time.

share|improve this answer
add comment

It's not necessary... and, speaking about power consumption, it has ho sense (iMac). It was big disapoitment, when I realize (by meter), that iMac (2011) consumes 9W in sleep mode, but also 9W if it is OFF – so you have to unplug it, to have 0. Nine W – that's like one small energy-saving light bulb... :(

share|improve this answer
add comment

I leave all my Mac devices on all the time, has had no effect on battery life (where applicable), or performance.

share|improve this answer
1  
Thank you for your answer. Please note, however, that the OP asked about two machines that don't actually have a battery. Perhaps that would change the answer a little? –  bassplayer7 May 22 '13 at 1:51
add comment

It's mostly a personal preference at this point I think.

I'm happy leaving my 2012 iMac on all the time. I sleep it overnight and any time I'm away from my desk for more than a few minutes. The power consumption during sleep is extremely low; by Apple's data, only 1.03 watts, versus 0.22 W for power off (on the 27" model). Even idling it's a pretty efficient machine.

share|improve this answer
add comment

No, with the exception of restarts for software updates, shutting down your iMac or Mac Mini is not necessary. You are quite correct that you can put your device to sleep for long periods of time or even leave your device up and operating without causing any damage to the device, so long as proper precaution is taken to ensure surge protection for your electronics.

An even better solution would be to provide some form of backup power supply with a USB link to your device that works in OSX so that when a power loss is detected the device will shut down properly for you to be able to resume your uptime later. Most servers or datacenters have operated this way for years already, and the difference between the service life of servers and home hardware has come increasingly closer over the last decade. The days of the recommendation being to shut your PC down whenever you aren't at it are becoming increasingly out-of-date.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.