Recently (in the past month or 2) my Mac (2012 Macbook Pro 13 inch) will take at least a minute to 90 seconds to wake up from being asleep. It usually happens when it is asleep overnight and. When it's asleep for about 20 minutes to an hour, it only takes a few seconds to wake up (like I expect it to).

When I first bought my Mac about 7 months ago, it would wake up really quickly, which makes me think that I changed a setting somewhere.

What setting should I change to relieve this problem?

  • What model Mac are we talking about? Did you purchase it new? Does it have a mechanical hard drive or an SSD?
    – Dan J
    Feb 5, 2013 at 17:01
  • If this is a laptop, are you leaving it plugged in overnight, or unplugged? If unplugged, the battery could be draining and forcing it to move from sleep to hibernate mode. Resuming from hibernate takes much longer than sleep. Feb 5, 2013 at 18:51
  • I couldn't tell you if it was plugged in or not, I can't remember. Feb 5, 2013 at 22:42
  • I have been seeing a similar issue with the iMac 5k. When coming back from sleep, with a locked screen, I get the password filed immediately but once starting to login past that, screen goes black with a visible usable mouse pointer. Has taken up to 30sec before the desktop is visible. This also happens when first booting up.
    – user115677
    Feb 22, 2015 at 0:47

3 Answers 3

  • As soon as it wakes up next time, examine the file /var/log/system.log (open a terminal and type less /var/log/system.log; Or open the Console app and find Files/system.log).
  • Scroll to the bottom (the most recent entries) and find the time at which you just woke the machine, scrolling up if necessary. The entries from there to the bottom should give a clue as to what was going on during the wake-up period.

You can also look through previous wake-ups the same way, to look at what was happening during the long delay.



What is actually happening is that these new MacBook Pro’s (and recent MacBook Air’s) have a new powersaving mode which Apple calls standby. Standby mode kicks in after the laptop has been in normal sleep mode for about an hour. When that happens, the contents of RAM are written to the hard drive and the RAM is powered down to further extend battery life. In theory, the laptop will last up to 30 days in standby mode. The trade off is that, when waking up, it takes a long time to reload 16 GB of RAM from the hard drive (even with SSD).

Now on wake it needs to reload the contents of memory. During this time you get no cursor in your login field.

You can extend the time before entering standby mode by following this tip:


  • Note that the article prescribes sudo pmset -a standbydelay <number_of_seconds>, but recently the interface has changed to use sudo pmset -a standbydelaylow <number_of_seconds> and sudo pmset -a standbydelayhigh <number_of_seconds> for (configurable) behavior depending on battery levels.
    – ijoseph
    Nov 11, 2019 at 1:15

Open a Terminal or xterm window, and enter the following command:

grep hibernate /var/log/kernel.log

If this command does display anything, this means that (as suggested Waren) your MacBook Pro entered into hibernate mode. In this case, MacOS X is restarted by

  1. copying back into memory /var/vm/sleepimage which does take approximately 20 s / Gbyte of main memory,
  2. and then jumping back at the right code location within this recovered memory.

You can also know when your MacBook Pro went through this hibernate mode by issuing:

ls -lT /var/vm/sleepimage

If you want to avoid this slow awakening, just plug your MacBook Pro when you expect to let it sleep a long time (approximately more than 8 hours).

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