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Over the years, Apple has made efforts to produce devices that are more energy efficient, but the energy efficiency of your Mac is only as good as the energy settings you use. We look at configuring those settings now in the Energy Saver System Preference. So back up to System Preferences, and I select Energy Saver. What you see in the Energy Saver tab depends on the kind of Mac you're using. If you have a desktop Mac, you may see only one setting because it doesn't use battery power, instead it's always on the power adapter.
On laptops, however, you'll see settings for both battery and power adapter. You configure each separately because with a battery, you want to be more miserly with the power, and not so much when the Mac's plugged in. So let's take a look at the options. On my laptop, we're going to look at Battery. The first one on this particular MacBook Pro that we're using, it has two graphic subsystems. One uses a lot of power because it's using the big graphics chip. It can also use an integrated graphics chip, and that takes less power, so I can configure it to automatically switch depending on the power needs.
If I go to Power Adapter, I may choose to turn that off. In that case, it always uses the high performance graphics. And we'll flip that back on for now and go back to Battery. You see a couple of sliders here, one is Computer sleep and the other one is Display sleep. So, when your computer goes to sleep, it uses less power. So again, when you're on battery, you want that to happen more quickly than you would with a power adapter. So, in this case, I've got it set to about 10 minutes.
I can change that if I want. I can make it go to sleep right away but it does make your computer hard to use, and it can go on up to never or three hours. Now note, this will only kick in if you're not doing something with your computer. So as long as I'm typing and doing things with my computer, it won't go to sleep, but if I take a break and do nothing with it, then it will. As you can see, your Mac tries to take care of you in terms of energy savings, so if you set a setting that's pretty high and leave it there, you'll see a little warning saying, by the way, if you choose this, this is going to use more energy and you may run out of your battery power sooner.
In this case, i'll say, Yep, that's fine, go ahead. It's possible you'll be involved in some kind of routine where you need your computer running but you don't need the display to be asleep. For example, you're downloading a huge file that you know is going to take about an hour and a half. Well you want to keep your computer awake, in this case, I'd want to go up to, say, an hour and 56 minutes, but I don't need my display to be on at the same time, so I can set that very low. It can be down to a minute, six minutes, whatever. At that point, the display goes to sleep, but the computer continues to operate and it finishes that job.
You can also choose to put your hard drive to sleep when possible. If your hard drive is awake, it's using more power. Also, when you're on battery power, you can slightly dim the display. At the bottom, when you choose battery, you see a battery read out. It tells us that the battery is charged. If you want to go back to the recommended settings, just click on Restore Defaults. If you'd like to see how much power you have left on your battery, enable Show Battery Status in menu bar, and here it is. This icon indicates that it's plugged in.
Let me unplug it and I'll show you what that looks like. I've just unplugged the power, and you see that it still got a fair amount of power, indicated by the black. If you click and hold on that, it will do some calculations and it will make its best guess of how much power remains. You can also choose to show percentage, so right now, I have 100%, over time that will decrease. And we can turn off that display. Then there's Power Adapter, let's restore the defaults.
You notice that with power adapter, you have more time, so the computer will stay awake longer and the display will stay awake longer, as well, same idea here, hard drives. Wake for network access is different. The difference here is that if you have your Mac plugged in, it's gone to sleep on its own or you've put it to sleep, and it receives some kind of network access call. For example, you have another Mac on your network and it wants to access some files that are on your hard drive, it will wake up to do that so that you can get that stuff and then copy it over, at which point, it will follow these settings again and then go back to sleep.
One other thing you can do here is you can schedule this, so that you can ask your Mac to wake up or start up at a particular time, either every day, a particular day, weekends, or week days. You can also choose what time that's going to happen. So, let's say I want my Mac to start up at six, will download my email, it will update my calendar events, and so when I sit down at the computer at seven, it's ready to go. And you can also schedule sleeping, or you can have it restart or shut down at particular times of the day. Very convenient, but I will say, OK and not have it scheduled for now.
Then there's one little hidden treat and it requires that we turn on Show Battery Status in menu bar one more time. Hold on the Option key and click on that battery icon, and it will tell you the condition of your battery. So, if you've had your laptop for a while and it seems to lose power pretty quickly when on battery power, there maybe something wrong with the battery. If it says Normal, you're in good shape. However, if it says, Check battery, there's a good chance that that battery is on its way out, at which point, you may wish to take it in to Apple.
If your Mac spends all its time plugged in, energy saving settings are important only for your power bill, but if you depend on an unplugged laptop, these are settings that you want to spend a long time configuring.
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