How To: Get your MacBook Pro to sleep in OS X Lion - Macenstein

How To: Get your MacBook Pro to sleep in OS X Lion

Pre-OS X Lion, all I needed to do to put my 2008 MacBook Pro to sleep was close the lid. However, since upgrading Lion, I’ve noticed that it never really seemed to go to sleep anymore, especially when plugged in to a power source. I would be watching TV and hear the sound of my MBP’s fans whirring from across the room, and even though the lid was closed and I assumed it would be asleep, when I opened it I would find it was actively running a Time Machine back up or a Sophos Anti Virus scheduled scan or something. I would also still see it on my network as an available share. A couple times I even noticed it happening while on battery power โ€“ and on one emotionally scaring occasion I removed my nearly scalding-hot MBP from its laptop bag to find the fans whirring and the battery down to 8 percent.

I’m not sure if this behavior is specific to my model of MacBook, or just my MacBook in particular (I had modded it in the past by removing the optical drive and adding an SSD drive – no idea if that is to blame or not), but it was annoying, and had worked fine in Snow Leopard. After doing a little sleuthing, I eventually found the cure, which seems to make no sense, but I can’t argue with the results. So if you are having the same problem, let me know if this works for you.

Step 1: Open System Preferences, and Click on SHARING

Step 2: Uncheck EVERYTHING that is checked.

Mac OS X Lion Sleep Problem

Uncheck all your sharing options

Step 3: Close System Preference.

Step 4: Open System Preferences > Sharing, and re-check whatever you want.

Problem solved. (For ME at least).

I have no idea why this unchecking/rechecking of options would work, but it seems to have done the trick for me. Good luck.

35 Responses to “How To: Get your MacBook Pro to sleep in OS X Lion”
  1. Richard says:

    Wow – finally solved the the no-sleep-since-Lion that my iMac was suffering! Thanks.

  2. right_geek says:


    It still doesn’t work on my MB Pro :-(.

    Resetting PRAM and SMC haven’t helped either.

    And, finally, Apple Support won’t help me.

    Of course, it is not critical, but still it sucks.

  3. andrew says:

    My 1st. gen 17″ MBP with Lion 10.7.1 sleeps when I close the lid like it’s always has done. I see the slowly pulsing light on the lid latch, and it doesn’t appear in my Power Mac G5’s shared lint in Finder. It does seen to be sleeping when it should be awake, at least the screen goes dark and touching the touch pad won’t light it up – but pressing a key (I use the shift key) brings up the screen. The touch pad used to always bring back the screen, but under Lion it won’t.

  4. Jonro says:

    My 27″ iMac use to wake when I moved the mouse. Now I have to press a key or click the mouse button. Not sure if that’s expected behavior or a bug.

    • Boo says:

      It is better to wake with keystroke or click. I usually accidentialy started mac by cleaning mess on my desktop and slightly moved mouse. Now in Lion i’m fine ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Justin says:

      Moving the mouse on a desktop mac will only wake it from a screensaver. This is the case for all macs regardless of OS.

  5. Billy says:

    I still use an apple remote to put my lion mbp to sleep, works great!

  6. Hoong Ern says:

    Have you tried running โ€œpmset -g assertionsโ€ from the terminal when it wonโ€™t sleep? This will give you an idea on what is causing your mac to be sleepless. I had the same headache with my iMac.

    The command lets you know any conditions which may be preventing the mac from sleeping, but Apple doesn’t let you know this when you use the sleep button!

    For those confused by pmset, I also wrote a tiny app which should hopefully help with diagnosing/sleeping –

    Hopefully Apple will fix this permanently soon, and hopefully provide an option to force sleep

  7. Ana says:

    Worked perfectly for me! Thanks was looking for this solution EVERYWHERE!!!! Thank YOU!

  8. Sean says:

    This worked for me!!! I have a 17″ Santa Rosa MBP that would not sleep after Lion was installed. I unchecked everything activated under Sharing, and now it sleeps when I close the lid. Excellent! Hopefully this bug will be fixed soon, but in the meantime this fix is more than acceptable. Thanks for posting!

  9. PJ says:

    So unhappy with lion! The worst thing is, it could be great, but the simple issues are bring me down. I have tried everything – EVERY TIP OUT THERE! My MB pro will not sleep. It may not seem like a huge issue, but I bought a mbp because of the battery life.

    ps – I also don’t need sensitive documents opening up on their own ( especially around clients ) How do I PERMANENTLY disable the “reopen” feature ?

  10. Brad says:

    Thanks! It’s not just the MacBook Pro — This worked with my Mac Pro (Early 2008) as well.

  11. Macologist says:

    15″ macbook pro was not sleeping properly but your fix worked for me. Thanks a ton! I have no idea why that would change it unless the sharing options was keeping it from sleeping.

  12. Andres says:

    you are a motherfucking genius, I have no words to describe my first reaction when I realized you just solve the only problem that didn’t let me sleep

  13. Chad says:

    Worked for me on an early 2008 MPB running 10.7.2. Thanks!

  14. Ahzari says:

    hey man thanks for the info, this totally worked, I was getting so annoyed with this problem!

  15. Andyyyy says:


  16. Matt says:

    Thanks, this worked today. I had already reset the SMC by pressing Left Shift, Left Control, Left Option and the Power button with my mac off. That didn’t solve the sleep problem. For me, I had none of the sharing features checked to begin with. I checked all of them, unchecked all of them, closed the lid, and it worked. Thanks!

  17. Casey says:

    ๐Ÿ™ I’m pretty disappointed. This didn’t work for me, because when I got to the Sharing screen in System Preferences, …..everything was ALREADY unchecked. What can I do?

  18. Savvas says:


  19. Rick says:

    Worked for me as well. Many thanks.

  20. Kyle says:

    Thank you!!!!! problem fixed, finally.

  21. souabi says:

    I had the same problem.

    I executed the command: pmset -g assertions in a terminal window and saw PreventSystemSleep set to 1
    The proces that set this was org.cups.cupsd

    Googling show this was the print deamon. I went into settings -> sharing -> enabled and disabled print sharing.
    (Running the commanc again showed PreventSystemSleep was set to 0)

    This solved the sleep issue for me!

    Hope this helps someone.

  22. MarcD says:

    Very useful tip (disabling then re-enabling sharing). It DID resolve my sleep problem!
    OS X Lion 10.7.2, MacBookPro 15″ mid-2010

  23. JoeCanada79 says:

    It worked… Very weird… but hey I’m not gona complain.. What ever works, works for me ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. says:

    Great, thanks! Actually, I had nothing checked on my MBP 13″ late 2011, but I just checked and unchecked random, and it did the job!

  25. guest77 says:

    It is such a simple fix, but thank you. It worked perfectly!

  26. David says:

    Solved my problem on 2008 Mac Pro. Thanks a lot! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Mostafa says:

    Solved my problem on a Final generation MBP 15″, thanks for saving me the time to reinstall Mac OS

  28. Chucky says:

    You’re great! Fixed the issue.. wish i knew what had caused it to start.

  29. Matt says:

    Worked great for me, thanks a lot!!

  30. Gary says:

    Worked for me as well, thanks for posting this! Mid 2009 15-inch Macbook Pro

  31. Bill says:

    Worked for me! Thanks!

  32. Mike says:

    Solved my problem! Thanks! This was driving me crazy!

  33. Brian says:

    i know this is an old post but i just ran into the same problem – i really think it’s the SSD!

    I put a SSD in place of the HDD in my 2008 Macbook 5,1 and upgraded to mountain lion…i can get the machine to sleep manually, but not when closing the lid. i was convinced it was Mountain Lion as loads of people are having this exact problem, but i went through all the steps that seemed to work for most people and no luck…

    shut off all the radios
    turned off sharing
    check the asertions
    reset pram etc

    then i thought it was the HDD in the optical bay so i tried taking out the data-doubler drive and booting up without it but that wasn’t it either.

    no luck. just to prove a point that “it totally worked with SL” i downgraded to leopard and then snow leopard – doesn’t work there either!

    it HAS to the be the SSD.

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