I would like to disable some power hungry services once I disconnect the power cord. Was thinking of creating a launchd agent that can monitor a file and run a script.

If there are other ways of doing this without purchasing a separate app, that would be OK as well. Although, preferred way would be to do it with existing macOS commands.

  • Which "power hungry services"? Perhaps the problem is "why are these services using a lot of power, and is there a way to fix it?"
    – benwiggy
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 8:55
  • A cloud backup service that should really be doing its job when it is on AC power rather than when on battery.
    – HanSooloo
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 19:23

2 Answers 2


To get notifications about power source changes, see IOPowerSources.h and the kIOPSNotifyPowerSource notification:


C-string key for a notification of changes to the active power source.

Use this notification to discover when the active power source changes from AC power (unlimited/wall power), to Battery Power or UPS Power (limited power). IOKit will not deliver this notification when a battery's time remaining changes, only when the active power source changes. This makes it a more effiicent choice for clients only interested in differentiating AC vs Battery.

Third Party: Power Manager

Power Manager can run a script when switching to battery power. Use the built-in task Run a script on switch to battery to create the event:

Power Manager on macOS

Power Manager is a commercial product which I work on. Feel free to get in touch and ask technical questions about how it works.


You can use system_profiler to get this info.

% system_profiler SPPowerDataType | grep -i “current power source” -B10

You will get the current power source and the relevant details. For example, on my iMac, I get the following:

AC Power:
      System Sleep Timer (Minutes): 45
      Disk Sleep Timer (Minutes): 10
      Display Sleep Timer (Minutes): 10
      Sleep on Power Button: Yes
      Automatic Restart on Power Loss: No
      Wake on LAN: Yes
      AutoPowerOff Delay: 259200
      AutoPowerOff Enabled: 1
      Current Power Source: Yes.      <- This tells you this is the current power source
      DarkWakeBackgroundTasks: 0
      Display Sleep Uses Dim: Yes
      Hibernate Mode: 0
      High Standby Delay: 86400
      PrioritizeNetworkReachabilityOverSleep: 0
      Standby Battery Threshold: 50
      Standby Delay: 86400
      Standby Enabled: 1
  • Wondering if there is a way to detect it when it happens, i.e., via a call-back or monitoring a file change. I believe in older macOS versions, a file would change when the power state changed.
    – HanSooloo
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 19:24
  • You would need a process continually running to detect this.
    – Allan
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 19:36

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