On my Macbook Pro, whenever you press the power button it goes into sleep mode. How do I change this to do nothing?


You can control whether pressing the power button should put your mac to sleep or present a dialog with options (sleep/restart/shut-down) using the pmset command. The following:

sudo pmset powerbutton 1

will put it to sleep right away (presumably your current setting) and changing 1 to 0 will present you with the dialog.

Pay attention to the fact that it's not a per-user setting, and changes the behaviour for all users. Something to keep in mind if you share the device with others. From the man page (explore it for other options):

All changes made through pmset are saved in a persistent preferences file (per-system, not per-user) at /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.PowerManagement.plist

  • 2
    Seems this does not work for Mavericks. It gives "Usage: pmset <options>" output. Any thoughts?
    – lulalala
    Oct 28 '13 at 6:33
  • 2
    I can confirm, pmset in Mavericks doesn't accept powerbutton arguments.
    – nine9ths
    Nov 12 '13 at 21:07
  • 4
    So irritating that someone clear used time to remove functionality that everybody is crying for now!
    – mabartibin
    Dec 12 '13 at 14:42
defaults write com.apple.loginwindow PowerButtonSleepsSystem -bool no

Is working for me on 10.9.5, and gives behavior very close to how the power button used to work for me on 10.6. Though there is a bit more of a delay, it's definitely not infuriating anymore.


  • Not working for me in Sierra / macOS 10.12; nothing happens when I pressing the power button. OTOH, I can hit Ctrl-PowerButton to get a dialog, whether this is set to yes, no or unset. Oct 3 '16 at 15:42

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