The Retina MacBooks are fabulous machines. They’re super thin, powerful, and just plain sexy. But have you ever opened your Retina MacBook and watched the screen just sit there in limbo for a few seconds before it actually comes alive again? It’s frustrating that you can see the password box, but you can’t actually type anything until the MacBook fully wakes up.
Apple has baked a feature called “standby mode” into the Retina MacBook Pros and the post-2010 MacBook Airs. Standby mode is the reason newer MacBooks sometimes take a little longer to wake, and there happens to be a simple terminal command you can enter in OS X to change the timing.
Erv Walter was annoyed by his Retina MacBook Pro taking forever to wake, so he did some investigating. “I love almost everything about this laptop,” he said on his blog. “The one thing that has been getting on my nerves is that it is often painfully slow to wake up when I open the lid.”
How Standby Mode Works
Walter found out that the screen remains frozen because what you first see is a screenshot of the display right before it went to sleep. That’s why the password box is static and the time isn’t immediately correct. It usually takes 8-10 seconds for a newer MacBook with a SSD drive to fully wake up. This transition is the MacBook leaving standby mode.
Retina MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs enter standby mode after they’ve been sleeping normally for an hour, according to Apple. The purpose of standby mode is to let your MacBook’s battery last in limbo for up to 30 days without needing to be plugged in. To enter standby mode, you must be running on battery power with no USB/Bluetooth devices, SD cards, and external displays attached.
“Note that if the laptop sleeps for less than an hour, then it will wake up nearly instantly,” said Walter. “I’ve seen this myself in cases where I close the lid briefly while walking between meetings. This fact is the key to my workaround. It turns out that this 1 hour delay is configurable.”
How To Change It
To change this 1 hour interval yourself, open “Terminal” in the “Utilities” folder under “Applications.” Copy and paste the following:
sudo pmset -a standbydelay 86400
The end number is in seconds, which equals 24 hours. You can set the value to whatever you prefer. This command shows your current timing for standby mode:
There shouldn’t be much of a battery life tradeoff by prolonging how long it takes standby mode to kick in. If you charge your MacBook every day, then you shouldn’t need anything more than 24 hours. The best thing to do is play around with it and find the best timing for your daily schedule.