So I'm trying to figure out why my external hard drive remains on (light displaying) when the laptop is sleeping.


  • macos 10.15.3
  • macbook pro

energy saver

  • disabled > Enable Power Nap while on battery power disabled in battery and power adapter
  • enabled > Put hard disks to sleep when possible in battery and power adapter
  • 1
    USB external drive? The drive itself may have stopped spinning, but is still receiving power, thus the LED is illuminated. What brand and model of external drive?
    – IconDaemon
    Apr 3, 2020 at 16:39
  • Does the LED on the external drive remain lit when it is disconnected from the MacBook Pro?
    – Nic
    Apr 4, 2020 at 23:11
  • thanks for the response. @IconDaemon Yes it's USB external drive. It's an Western Digital Easy Store 2TB drive 2.5. I feel its what you described but before there was no LED illumination at all.
    – Lacer
    Apr 5, 2020 at 4:52
  • @Nic No when the drive disconnected the light goes away. It's a 2.5"
    – Lacer
    Apr 5, 2020 at 4:52
  • 1
    Also, the USB port still receives power in sleep, but not in hibernate: apple.stackexchange.com/a/157843/119271
    – Allan
    Apr 5, 2020 at 5:13

1 Answer 1


The LED on your USB external drive probably just indicates that it is connected to power.

The MacBook Pro provides connected USB devices with at least 0.50 watts of power (according to the USB power specification and Apple technote HT204377) even when the laptop has been put to sleep. This low level of power is particularly helpful for input devices like keyboards and mice, because it ensures they have enough power to register activity that can be used to wake the system.

If you want the drive LED to turn off, you can either unplug it from the laptop or you can shut down the laptop completely.

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