I just got a new MacBook Pro, and is looking at how the power modes work, and according to this article: About Energy Saver sleep and idle modes in Mac OS X, making it sleep by closing the lid (say) will put it into a low-power mode.

However, the article also says that it uses power to keep RAM contents. What I'm wondering is if the sleep mode is just a mode meant for "sleep on my desk", or meant for transport.

So, tomorrow I will bring my computer to work, by car, I have a computer bag I'll use so it'll be protected, but I'm worried that if I just put it to sleep, it'll get hotter than just regular off, and I know that you're not supposed to stash a running computer into a confined space, like a computer bag, because the heat might induce wear'n'tear problems on various parts.

So, should I:

  1. Just make it sleep by closing the lid?
  2. or, should I turn it completely off before transport?

Also, if option 1 is OK for a 5-10 minute ride, but not OK for, say, a train-ride to our offices in the capital (2-3 hours by bus and train), I would like to know that as well.

I've had a Windows machine for quite some time and I always put the unit into hibernation before transporting it, in order to make it go completely off, but also start somewhat faster than a complete reboot. Is sleep similar to hibernation, or is there some other mode like hibernation I should use?

  • Hope this isn't a too stupid question Commented Oct 16, 2011 at 14:13
  • Remember that it might take a few seconds to go into standby. You shouldn't move your computer before that if you have a regular hard disk. Wait for the pulsating light to appear. Commented Oct 16, 2011 at 14:58
  • I noticed that, I'll be sure to wait for the light :) Thanks for the heads up! Commented Oct 16, 2011 at 15:16
  • For the sake of your hands, floor, bag and MacBook, make sure you see the pulsing light before putting in your bag, and make sure the fans are silent/off. You don't what to take it out, nearly burn your hands and drop it front the shock of the heat. I did this once, had I left it in my bag much longer it would have caught fire.
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 22:22
  • @DanielBeck - would you never move a laptop while it was open? I move mine all the time with a "regular hard disk" - never had an issue.
    – warren
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 15:42

2 Answers 2


It's perfectly OK to transport it while it's sleeping - I do this all the time. The disk is stopped and the only power draw is what is required to keep the memory contents (and the fading in/out of the power light). Any heat it generates during sleep is pretty much undetectable (in human terms). As long as nothing is connected to it, it shouldn't wake up in the bag.


I almost never shut down my Macbooks, either MBP or MBA. I not only transport them to work while asleep, I travel by car, motorcycle, and air with them sleeping. I motorcycle camp and my MBA rides under the seat, sleeping, so I can access the net quickly when I arrive at the campground. (Campfires are better with a movie from Amazon on Demand--LOL) I only fully shut them down when an update requires it. Otherwise, I shut the lid, wait a few seconds for RAM to store to memory "just in case," and go. I've never had one get even warmish, let alone hot, and it's never resulted in damage to the Macbooks. This is one of the best features of OSX, and I take full advantage of it.

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