When I shut the lid on my Retina MacBook Pro (2014), how can I tell it's gone to sleep correctly?

On my previous MacBook Pro (~2008), the fans were audible, and there was a sleeping LED indicator in the lid latch that changed from "on" to "pulsing" when it was asleep. I used this as an "okay" sign to put it in the laptop bag.

Is there anyway to tell if a more recent MacBook Pro is asleep? I can't hear the fan most of the time, and I can't see any externally visible indicator lights that would indicate it's status.

I'm worried if it hasn't sleep correctly when I close the lid (occasionally this would happen with my old laptop) it will overheat when I put it in my bag.

4 Answers 4


It won't just overheat in its bag, but will also quickly drain its battery. I always press the power button for about 1 to 2 seconds before closing the lid. The screen will go dark when you release. If you hold it too long, a dialog will come up asking if you want to sleep or shutdown. Choose wisely.


One solution I have found is using a Yubikey. When the laptop is on the little press button glows. After shutting the lid it turns off after 20 seconds or so.

The Nano version also glows from what I can tell, and is small enough to leave in the USB slot permanently.

(Edited to add): This may not be the best idea. The yubikey acts appears as a keyboard to the OS. Had an issue recently where I'd closed the lid, but must have touched the yubikey, which behaving like a keyboard, woke the laptop back up with the lid closed. I didn't have time to test, but I feel like it would have stayed awake if I'd left it.


I've found for the newer MacBooks with USB-C is this "nonda USB Type C to USB 3.0 Adapter with Indicator LED" on amazon (ASIN# B015Z7XE0A). It has an indicator led that turns off once the machine has gone to sleep.

I have to strongly disagree with Alphaman on his answer (sorry I can't comment or vote here yet).

I lost my 2010 MacBook Pro to exactly this issue. The system didn't go to sleep and remained awake in my briefcase until it died. The next day, it was failing selftest and I had to take it into the Apple store. Their diagnostics showed that the motherboard went into thermal shutdown, but the GPU was permanently damaged.

  • Peter, I realise you can't comment yet but this isn't an answer - it is definitely a comment. Commented May 24, 2018 at 5:25

I don't think these laptops are quite capable of just 'failing to go to sleep' (it's not a problem I've ever read about before at least). If the lid is closed, it will go into that state, and it'll be safe to put in a bag.

One thing that might be worth a try is hunting around the system preferences to see if anything has the ability to take a laptop out of sleep mode, such as a bluetooth connection or receiving some data. Turning that off would stop the sleep problem.

I've checked the laptop all over, and the ridiculously useful light is gone. Future sucks.

  • I really think you have no idea what you are talking about: google.nl/…
    – iosifv
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 8:20
  • too bad I can't downvote :)
    – iosifv
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 8:20

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