Saturday, 8 August 2009

How to enable Hibernation on a Mac

Did you know that you can still "hibernate" your mac (as in shut down the machine and save all the information in your ram to your hard drive) instead of just putting it to sleep (where the ram is still powered on, and the machine can randomly wake up when it detects change)?

Turns out that Macs also have the hibernate feature. Except, it's not available by default. This is most likely because Apple just wants you to use their sleep feature instead of shutting down the computer all together.

Nevertheless, ever since OS X 10.4.3, all Macs can go into what is called 'Deep Sleep'. How you ask? Very simply put, all you need to do is use this widget called Deep Sleep. Once it's installed (and authenticated) merely clicking on the widget will put your Mac into a deep zzz... To install all you need to do is download it and agree to the prompt that asks you to Install the widget. Then, for your first use, just open Dashboard, and click on the widget. The first time you use it, you will have to authenticate it by providing your administrator password. Thereafter, all you need to do is just click on the moon!

Note: If you have a Intel machine, it should work flawlessly. However, if you have an older PPC machine, you'll have to read the user manual to see if you're in luck.

Alternatively, you can also tinker around with the Terminal if you wish to do so. Normally, this is what the mac uses:

sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 3

However, you can change it to:

sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 1

to enable DeepSleep.

Happy Zzzzzing!

On a side note: the way I came across this feature by "accident" was when my battery ran out of power. So I removed the battery from the computer and plugged in the computer without the battery installed. Interestingly enough, the computer booted into a state that was exactly they way I left it before my reserve battery power ran out. Knowing this fact piqued my curiosity regarding a possible Windows like hibernate feature on the mac, leading to the discovery of the wonderful widget.

Got a question, tip or comment? Send them to and we'll try to answer it in a blog post!

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