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I have a Mac mini that is on my network but not connected to any displays or input devices. It's running El Capitan.

I want to be able to put the Mac to sleep and awake it as easily as possible (i.e. not using VNC). My main machine is Windows, so ideally I just want to press the power button to toggle the Mac between sleeping and awake.

Is this possible? From what I've read, it seems like this used to be possible but now it isn't? Are there any workarounds that would enable this?

  • Does this do what you need? defaults write com.apple.loginwindow PowerButtonSleepsSystem -bool yes – Allan Jul 20 '16 at 10:42
  • @Allan: no, that doesn't make any difference. – Kent Boogaart Jul 21 '16 at 0:46
  • To put your mac to sleep, try tapping the power button once. That should do it. The power button needs to be held down to turn it off that way. – NoahL Jul 25 '16 at 4:34
  • @NoahL as per my question, that's the first thing I tried. – Kent Boogaart Jul 25 '16 at 4:38
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    If your need to wake and sleep the Mac is regular, it is possible to schedule this on macOS; see apple.stackexchange.com/questions/2655/… – Graham Miln Jul 25 '16 at 7:49
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+50

You can no longer just tap the Power Button on a Mac to put it to Sleep. On any Mac running Mavericks or newer the Power Button should function as follows:

Power Button:
1~2 second hold = Sleep
3~5 second hold = Options Dialog
8~12 second hold = Force Shut Down

Alternatively, if you have a keyboard hooked into the Mac you should be able to hit:
Control+Shift+(Power Button on the Mac or Media Eject on Mac keyboard) to put your Mac to sleep.

To wake it up just hit the Power Button, or enable Wake On Network if you want to remotely wake the system.

EDIT:
If you need to sleep your system across the network (with no physical access), and have access to the command line you can do one of the following.

  1. Using AppleScript from the command line.
    osascript -e 'tell application "Finder" to sleep'
  2. From any command line connection you can also try.
    pmset sleep now

ADDITION:
Network traffic (active network connection allowing file sharing for example) can stop the standard Sleep action on a Mac when hitting the power button. You need to make sure that there are no active network connections, especially if you have "Wake on Network" enabled.

On some system you will need to make sure that the System Preferences... -> Energy Saver settings are set properly to allow the power button to sleep the system. Depending on the Mac hardware you are running on (Mac Mini vs MacBook) some settings will or won't be on the Energy Saver panel.

Mac Mini Energy Saver Screen

For a complete list of Energy Saving info, and to learn more about Apple Power Setting for El Capitan head over to Apple's website.

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    :sob: I'm not on the Mac. Please read the question again. – Kent Boogaart Jul 25 '16 at 7:26
  • Sorry, your question makes it sound like you have physical access to the system even though it's on the network. – kenjikato Jul 25 '16 at 7:30
  • I do have physical access, but there's no keyboard attached. Thus I'd have to VNC just to try what you suggest. I need this to be quick and easy because the Mac will be up and down several times on a daily basis. – Kent Boogaart Jul 25 '16 at 7:31
  • I added a minor clarification to my question. Can you please delete your answer? – Kent Boogaart Jul 25 '16 at 7:31
  • Sorry I had added a clarification, but just saw your change to the question. – kenjikato Jul 25 '16 at 7:38

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