Skip to content

Schedule a Mac to turn on or off automatically

There are many processes on a Mac computer that don’t require our attention. A clear example of this is downloading and uploading files to the Internet. Sure, many times you have had to perform a process of these characteristics and it has taken you some time, sometimes even hours, but there is a way to completely forget about having to turn off your computer afterwards: schedule the Mac to turn off. There’s also the ability to schedule a power-on time if you’re used to using your Mac after a certain time and want it to be on by the time you sit down in front of the screen. Here’s how.

Programming power off, sleep, reboot and startup of a Mac

As we mentioned earlier, there are many reasons why we may need automation when starting or shutting down the Mac. In macOS there are multiple programming possibilities, being able to turn off the computer at a certain time, make it stay in standby or restart and even make it turn on automatically at a certain time without having to do it manually.

Schedule a Mac to turn on or off automaticallySchedule a Mac to turn on or off automatically

This is all the same on every Mac , regardless of whether it’s a desktop or a portable MacBook model. The following steps must be followed:

  1. Go to System Preferences. You can access it from the Apple logo on the top bar, by looking for it in the Spotlight with cmd+space or by clicking on the dock if you have the icon there.
  2. Now click on Economizer, which has a light bulb icon on it.
  3. Click on Program, at the bottom right of the window.
  4. Set the time you want your computer to shut down, turn on, suspend or restart. You can combine the auto power option and the sleep, restart or shutdown options.

It is generally recommended to activate these options in specific cases to avoid that it turns off without noticing it, although a minute before the programmed time it will be informed by means of a pop-up window. We recommend the same for automatic power-up, because you may not always want to use your Mac at a certain time and it could be a problem if it always turns on at the time you’ve scheduled. You can, however, choose specific days of the week in your schedule.

More options of the MacOS Economizer

You may have noticed that within Economizer there are other options beyond those explained for scheduling the power on and off of the Mac. These include other features such as automatic shutdown when the computer is idle and others directly related to saving battery power on a MacBook.

If you go to the battery tab you’ll find the following options, which will work when is not connected to the power:

  • Turn off the display after X minutes of inactivity, which will allow you to select a time period between 1 minute and 3 hours for the display to turn off if you are not using the device. Here again, you have the option of preventing the screen from turning off even after a long period of inactivity.
  • Put the hard drives to sleep when possible, i.e. if you have mechanical hard drives they will no longer be at full capacity when no data is being recorded or read from them.
  • Enable Power Nap with battery power so that even when your Mac is idle, you can still perform background processes such as checking for new email or iCloud updates.

In the tab for power adapter we find the same options, but in this case for when the MacBook is connected to the power. We only found a new option not available when the computer is not charging:

  • Preventing the computer from automatically going into sleep mode when the screen is turned off, which is useful if you only want the screen to turn off while all processes are still running.

Ultimately, these Mac Saver options can help you to take your mind off your computer when you’re doing certain things, which can also save you money and battery life when you have a MacBook.