Cures for the insomniac Mac

Reader Peter Fillion finds his Mac a little too wakeful. He writes:

I use Logitech’s wireless Revolution mouse with my Mac. At the end of the day, I put my Mac to sleep and then put the mouse in its charging cradle. But when I do that, moving the mouse wakes up the Mac. Is there another way I can put my Mac to sleep?

Fortunately, yes. They include:

Use the keyboard. In most cases you can put your Mac to sleep by pressing Command-Option-Eject (the Eject key at the end of the F-key row). Although this key combination worked fine with my wired keyboards, it didn't with my Logitech diNovo wireless keyboard—until I updated Logitech Control Center to the latest version. At that point I could force the Mac to sleep with this combination as well as press Control-Eject to produce a dialog box that offered Restart, Sleep, Cancel, and Shut Down buttons. (Thanks to colleague Dan Frakes for pointing to the solution.)

Use the power button. Open the Energy Saver system preference and you should see the Allow Power Button to Put the Computer to Sleep option. Enable this option and you can put your Mac to sleep simply by giving its power button a short press.

Automate it. While you’re in the Energy Saver system preference, consider using the Computer Sleep slider. Set it to something like 10 minutes and your Mac will automatically go to sleep after that period of activity has expired. If you find that an unworkable option because you dislike waking up your Mac through the course of a day, click the Schedule button in the Energy Saver system preference, enable the second pop-up menu in the resulting sheet, choose Sleep from the pop-up menu, and set a time you’d like your Mac to have a snooze.

One of these options should take care of the problem. If you find that your Mac wakes on its own after you’ve put it to sleep, I have a few hints for this as well.

Check the console. Your Mac keeps a watchful eye on what’s preventing it from getting its 40 winks. It keeps a record of this in its log files. You can explore those log files by launching the Console application (found in the Utilities folder), selecting All Messages in the left pane, and entering “wake” in the Search field. This will produce messages along the lines of The USB device IOUSBWirelessControllerDevice (Port 2 of Hub at 0x5d000000) may have caused a wake by issuing a remote wakeup. Such a message would hint that a USB device is causing your Mac to wake up. Your job is to track down that device.

Watch for incoming connections. Open the Energy Saver system preference and give a hard look at the Wake For Ethernet Network Access option. If it’s enabled and someone or something attempts to access your Mac via the network, your Mac will awaken.

Consider Bluetooth. The Bluetooth system preference has a similar option. Open this system preference and click the Advanced button. In the sheet that appears you'll spy the Allow Bluetooth Devices to Wake This Computer option. If it’s enabled, Bluetooth devices paired with your Mac can force it awake—perhaps with nothing more than a jostle, swipe, or low-battery warning.

Updated 9/28/10 with information about the diNovo keyboard and its current software.

Subscribe to the MacWeek Newsletter