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Builder1 Level 1 (10 points)

My Macbook Pro is not waking from sleep (sometimes). To be very specific; the only time this happens is when it goes to sleep automatically, with the lid open, while plugged into the magsafe power cord. When I hit the space bar to wake it, the keyboard lights come on but the screen remains black. I do not have any problems with waking from sleep if I close the lid to force sleep (while plugged in). I also do not have any problems at all, if the computer goes to sleep while running on battery power. (I have had this MBP for about 18 months, the first year I had no issues at all. The problem started shortly after Lion was installed. (I also have a iMac with all the same software, almost identical set up, purchased at the same time as my MBP but have never had any sleep problems with the iMac, none even since Lion install.)


We do not have an Apple Store near us, but I have had the MBP in for service 3 seperate time to our local authorized Apple service/dealer. It is tricky to diagnose, because the problem does not happen every time. On average it won't wake from sleep 1 out of 3 times. Each time the service techs were able to re-create the problem but could not come up with a cause or solution, their only advice was to re-install Lion.


I have tried 2 different re-installs of Lion. (Both times erasing the hard drive first) The first time I did a clean re-install of Lion, then restored all of my data from Time Capsule. That did not work, the problem presisted. So I tried a second clean re-install of Lion and this time I did not restore from Time Capusle, I only re-installed critical docs from a flash drive and re-installed all other software (such as MS Office, Photoshop, etc.) from their original discs. I though this had fixed the problem but within a few days the problem re-occoured.


Any ideas would be appriciated, I have tried almost everything, I have days and days worth of time invested in trying to fix this issue. Thank you!

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.1)
  • gbrenik Level 3 (525 points)

    I had this problem with my MacBook Pro for a long time, and fixed it by changing the sleep mode. Here's how:


    Open Terminal

    Type the following:

         pmset -g | grep hibernatemode

    It should say something like:

         hibernatemode  3


    Here's an explanation of the different types of hibernate modes:

    • 0 - Old style sleep mode, with RAM powered on while sleeping, safe sleep disabled, and super-fast wake.
    • 1 - Hibernation mode, with RAM contents written to disk, system totally shut down while “sleeping,” and slower wake up, due to reading the contents of RAM off the hard drive.
    • 3 - The default mode on machines introduced since about fall 2005. RAM is powered on while sleeping, but RAM contents are also written to disk before sleeping. In the event of total power loss, the system enters hibernation mode automatically.
    • 5 - This is the same as mode 1, but it’s for those using secure virtual memory (in System Preferences -> Security).
    • 7 - This is the same as mode 3, but it’s for those using secure virtual memory.


    To change your sleep mode, use the following command:

         sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0

    (replace 0 with whatever hibernate mode you desire)


    For my MacBook Pro, I changed it to 0, and it works great. It's super fast to wake and sleep, which is a plus. The only downside of hibernatemode 0 is that if your battery runs out your computer doesn't hibernate - it shuts off. This doesn't matter, though, because with Lion everything is autosaved, so really hibernate 0 is all plusses.

  • Builder1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thank you for the quick response. I was typing the command you suggested into the terminal and got a warning that using sudo could result in data loss so I chickend-out! Is that something I sould be worried about?

  • gbrenik Level 3 (525 points)

    nope - just copy/paste it in, and it'll work fine!

  • Builder1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks again, I have made your suggested changes! I just did a few tests and set the MBP to sleep after 5 minutes. It has woke 3 times in a row with no problem. Since the problem has always occoured randomly I cant say for sure its fixed (time will tell) but this is a very good sign that you may have fixed my issue! Thank you

  • Builder1 Level 1 (10 points)

    A few hours later and the problem still exists.

  • greyskiesblack Level 1 (0 points)

    So the computer is randomly going to sleep while in use? I have the same problem but I'm on 10.6.8. It goes black, sleep light comes on, press random key, wakes back up but goes right black to sleep...eventually it shuts off or screen stays black with solid white light. The only solution left for me is to reinstall the OS...but I'm a bit afraid of doing that. If that doesn't fix the problem then I don't what it is...probably hardware.

  • Builder1 Level 1 (10 points)

    My computer is not going to sleep while in use. It goes to sleep when not in use (as it should) but if it falls to sleep with the lid open (rather than me shutting the lid) and power cord is plugged in, It sometrimes will not wake up. The keyboard lights come on but the display does not wake. I am forced to hold the power button down to restart. (This does not happen when on battery power. On battery power sleep and wake up functions work perfectly). As of now, even Apple cannot figure this out.

  • gbrenik Level 3 (525 points)

    Try upgrading to 10.7.2?

  • vrock Level 1 (0 points)

    Just wondering if you've got anywhere with this yet? I have the same problem but I'm running 10.6.8. Any help greatly appreciated!

  • Builder1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I can't say I have solved it yet, As of last night the problem still presists and for the first time that I know of, the incident happend while on battery power. Every other time it has happened while plugged it. To avoid the problem while plugged in, I just set sleep to "never" while plugged in. When it happend on battery power last night, I started searching for answeres again. I found a suggestion on another forum to delete iStat Pro (which I happen to have). I deleted it and so far it has not happened again. Thats not to say it is solved, I have thought it was fixed before and a day or two later it is back. We'll see.


    PS- I am running 10.7.2. I never had this problem until shortly after upgrading to lion. Not sure if they are related, I have an iMac running all the same software versions, including iStat and I never have problems with sleep on the iMac.

  • vrock Level 1 (0 points)

    I believe I have had this problem while on battery power but not entirely sure - now I need to monitor it quite closely. I don't think I had it to begin with when I bought my mac in April. I feel like I have started to become aware of it in the last few months. Do you get freezing too? Sometimes when the screen finally starts up I don't have a mouse or cursor and I can't scroll with the trackpad at all. Not sure if the two are related. I don't have iStat pro so this can't be the problem. I'm not sure which Big Cat I'm on but its not lion is it (I hate this cat thing!)?


    Thanks for coming back so quick .

  • Builder1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I got my MBP in July 2010. For the first full year, it ran great with no issues at all with Snow Leopard, but all my issues started this summer shortly after the lion install. Not much freezing, mainly this sleep issue...

  • MartinMBP Level 1 (0 points)

    MBP 17" bought in august 2011 so it came with Lion already installed.

    Never a problem with sleep.

    Last week they had to change the motherboard because of a problem w/ the 1/8 audio plug.

    Since i got it back, i've had the exact same problem you have.

    Spent all day trying to figure this out.

    I prefered it when apple stuff worked for me...not the other way around.

  • MartinMBP Level 1 (0 points)

    I unchecked the "require password after sleep or screensaver begins" (security & privacy) and the computer wakes like a charm.

    Still, i DO want to use password for wake so the problem is not solved.

    I dont know how it's related but since the problem started i also loose my wi-fi connection everytime sleep occurs.

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