Mavericks changed the behavior of my MacBook Air's power key to put the Air to sleep immediately when pressed briefly. Prior to Mavericks, the power key would summon the Shut Down dialog.

As detailed in OS X Mavericks: Using the power button, holding the key for 1.5 seconds brings up the old Shut Down dialog, and holding for 5 seconds will shut down unconditionally. Holding control while pressing the power key will also bring up the Shut Down dialog.

Is there any way to restore the old, pre-Mavericks behavior as a preference? I'm used to using the power key to get the Shut Down dialog and seem to not be able to retrain myself particularly effectively.

  • 1
    For what it is worth, ctrl+power brings up the Shut Down dialog immediately. Nov 10 '13 at 22:24
  • Yup, mentioned that, and I'm slowly learning to do that. Was hoping not to have to… 😊
    – zigg
    Nov 10 '13 at 23:22
  • Derp, somehow missed that in your question. :-/ Nov 11 '13 at 16:37

The file to change would be /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.PowerManagement.plist (cf this AD post)

In Lion/Mountain Lion we had a key Power Button. Unfortunately it's not recognized anymore. I'm pessimistic about restoring this behaviour.

  • You're right; looks bleak.
    – zigg
    Oct 31 '13 at 14:08
  • 1
    In OS X 10.9.2 the Power key can be restored to roughly pre-Mavericks behavior with defaults write com.apple.loginwindow PowerButtonSleepsSystem -bool NO
    – pkamb
    Apr 22 '14 at 20:00

Since Mac OS 10.9.2 you can go back to something close to the pre-Mavericks behavior easily.

Type in terminal:
defaults write com.apple.loginwindow PowerButtonSleepsSystem -bool no

It's not exactly the same, since you still need to press the button for 1 sec. But if you press the button accidentally, the shut down dialog is not going to appear.

Note: if you want to go back to the Mavericks behavior, juste change no to yes.


According to the following article, you can: http://binchewer.org/blog/index.php?id=1

  • 1
    Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please summarize or excerpt it in the answer. The idea is to make the answer stand alone.
    – nohillside
    Jan 3 '14 at 10:26
  • We prefer to have the answer actually answer the question directly and not relying on external sites. Links may break (e.g. when the external site gets re-arranged or shutdown) rendering your answer useless. So if you could summarize the content of the linked site in your answer this would be really great.
    – nohillside
    Apr 23 '14 at 10:09
  • @patrix was right. Case in point: this link has gone dead, and isn't archived in the usual places either. Then again, none of the answers are working for me in Sierra / macOS 10.12; nothing happens when I pressing the power button whether the setting mentioned is set to yes, no or unset Oct 3 '16 at 15:46
  • @MatthewElvey Thanks for pointing out the broken link. As for the issue persisting with Sierra, there is already a question for this, unfortunately without an answer so far.
    – nohillside
    Oct 3 '16 at 15:50
  • @Pym Do you still have access to the information provided on the linked page and could add a summary here?
    – nohillside
    Oct 3 '16 at 15:51

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