7 Ways to Fix Mac Sleep-Wake Failure Problems

Businessman Sleeping on Laptop

It’s safe to say that nearly every Mac user wants to update to the newer macOS versions. However, what they do not know is that even a stable macOS like High Sierra or Mojave has its disadvantages. That means if you are thinking about an upgrade, you have to prepare to troubleshoot some issues at some point.

One of the most common issues with High Sierra is the sleep-wake failure, which causes a MacBook not to wake up from sleep or just randomly restart itself.

After some Mac users updated to High Sierra or Mojave, they reported having this problem, where they find it difficult to wake their devices from sleep. Regardless of the model or type of Apple computer they’re using, they just cannot wake up their devices from sleep.

Mac’s Sleep Mode

Woman Using LaptopApple introduced an interesting feature to Mac computers: sleep mode. It allows a Mac user to quickly reboot the computer in order to save energy and time.

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Sleep Mode is an energy-saving option that keeps all your work open but puts the machine into a low power state so it doesn’t waste electricity or take up unnecessary space on your desk.

The best part about this setting is that once you wake up from sleep, everything pops back exactly where you left off! Amazing, right?

Sleep Mode may not be ideal if you are working with sensitive data or are expecting an important email any minute now, but otherwise, it’s perfect for protecting against possible theft that happens if you leave your device open.

How to Set Up Sleep Mode on Macs

The sleep mode is not a mandatory feature. But it is quite handy for Mac computer owners who have to take breaks occasionally and forget to switch off their devices. So, how do you set this mode on your Mac computer? Simply do the following:

  1. Go to the Apple menu and click System Preferences.
  2. Navigate to Energy Saver and select any of the available options.

But how does this sleep function activate?

Go to System Preferences to Put Your Mac in Sleep Mode

Mac Monitor

The sleep mode is only an optional feature, but it is quite handy for Mac users who need to regularly take a break from using their devices yet forget to switch them off. It’s also a useful feature that can help you achieve your energy-saving goals.

To activate this feature, do the following:

  1. Open the Apple menu.
  2. Go to Settings > Energy Saver.
  3. Apply the settings you want. You can set the display to switch off after a certain span of time. You can also make the hard drive sleep if you want.
  4. Once you’re satisfied with the settings, hit Apply.

Waking Up Your Mac from a Long Sleep

Apple MacBook Pro

So, you have just upgraded to High Sierra or Mojave and your computer has entered sleep mode. Now, you are faced with a sleep-wake failure issue. What should you do?

Don’t panic! There is a way to fix MacBook sleep-wake failures. Below, we’ve listed the most obvious and effective solutions to resolve your problem, and you can try all of them as needed.

Fix #1: Check Your Power and Screen Brightness.

Before you do anything, you need to check the most obvious possibilities. Is your screen brightness set to a minimum? Is your Mac computer powered on?

If you are using an external display, is it actually switched on? Is your Mac plugged into a power source?

If you are using a MacBook, is the battery drained? Did you press the Power button? Can your system detect the signal sent by your Power button?

Oftentimes, your Mac computer may not be in sleep mode. It is possible that its screen brightness might just be adjusted down lower. It is also likely that your MacBook is just turned off. Simply adjusting the brightness or switching on your Mac can resolve your sleep-wake failure nightmares.

If the issue is not resolved, then proceed to the next fix.

Fix #2: Switch Off Your Mac and Turn It Back On.

This step involves forcibly turning off and then turning on your Mac. Doing this will allow you to access your computer again and possibly fix your sleep-wake failure problem. To force-restart your Mac, follow these instructions:

  1. Hold down the Power button for a few seconds until your Mac shuts down.
  2. Wait for 10 to 15 seconds and switch on your Mac again.

Check if the issue persists.

Fix #3: Reset SMC and NVRAM.

The SMC is a central hub for the hardware of your Mac. If you reset it, you may be able to fix issues on your computer that are related to power management or display settings.

This process is not particularly difficult and only takes a few minutes – but if you’re uncomfortable with this article, please consult an Apple Genius before proceeding.

The NVRAM, on the other hand, is a hardware component on the motherboard of your computer that stores settings and configurations for certain parts of the system as well as other information.

This process can be used if you need to change any part of these settings or are experiencing issues with some aspect of the computer’s performance.

Performing an SMC and NVRAM reset is a common troubleshooting technique used to fix display and power issues. If your Mac repeatedly gets stuck on a blank screen every time you wake it up from sleep, you should try resetting the SMC and NVRAM.

Here’s how to perform an SMC and NVRAM reset and hopefully resolve your sleep-wake failure problem:

  1. Switch off your Mac OS X.
  2. Disconnect the power cord.
  3. Hold down the Shift, Control, Option, and Power buttons for 10 seconds.
  4. Release the keys together.
  5. Reconnect the power cord.
  6. Switch on your Mac OS X again.
  7. Reboot your Mac again, but this time, hold down the Option, Command, P and R keys for 20 seconds.

If the issue persists, try the next one.

Fix #4: Reinstall MacOS.

If you’ve already adjusted your display’s brightness, checked your connection, and performed an NVRAM and SMC reset yet your Mac continuously wakes up to a black screen, you might need to reinstall your macOS.

As a MacOS user, you know it can be pretty difficult to figure out what’s causing the problem. If this happens and you haven’t backed up recently, one of the first things you should do is reinstall your operating system. This will help to solve any software issues on your machine and make sure everything is running smoothly again in no time!

Don’t worry, because you can always reinstall your macOS without having to format your computer completely. The general rule of thumb, however, is to have a backup first before resetting your OS. You’ll realize the importance of a backup once you experience data loss.

To reinstall MacOS, do the following:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Startup Disk.
  2. Select Reinstall OS X.
  3. Click Continue twice then Agree when prompted by the installer.
  4. Wait until installation completes.
  5. Restart computer.

Enjoy your newly updated operating system!

Fix #5: Disable System Hibernation.

Aside from the sleep mode, your Mac also has a hibernation mode, which is also optional. The is a helpful, preventive feature that allows you to keep data in the event when there is no power. However, even without this, you can still proceed with your daily tasks.

If you don’t need to hibernate your Mac and you frequently failure with waking up your computer from sleep, try disabling the hibernate mode. To do this, run these commands in your OS X Terminal:

  • sudo pmset standby 0
  • sudo pmset autopoweroff 0

These commands will disable the settings of the hardware that are responsible for activating the hibernate mode. If you ever decide to activate this setting again, simply run the commands in your OS X Terminal, but this time, change the value 0 to 1.

If this solution works, then great. Otherwise, try the next one.

Fix #6: Reset Your Mac’s FileVault.

It is possible that a glitch is stopping your system from retrieving all necessary contents and files on your hard drive, which are required to wake up your Mac from sleep. As a result, conflict arises between your full-disk encryption protocols like FileVault and your system experiences a failure in waking up.

To resolve this issue, try disabling your full-disk encryption protocols. Next, decrypt your hard drive using third-party tools. After that, re-enable your full-disk encryption protocols. See if this solves your problem.

If you are experiencing issues with your Mac not sleeping or waking up, it might be time to reset its FileVault. This can fix the issue without having to perform a full shutdown of your computer and then reboot from scratch.

If resetting your Mac’s FileVault did not resolve the problem, try the last solution.

Fix #7: Get Rid of System Junk.

System junk files are often the culprit why your Mac device is running slower than you would like. System junk, including cache files, broken downloads, diagnostic reports, and unwanted file logs may have built up in your system over time.

If not removed, they can take up valuable space in your drive and worse, interfere with your system activities, which may lead to system failure.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to get rid of these files in order to speed up your system.

To get rid of system junk, you need to download and install a third-party tool like Mac repair app. Use it to run a quick scan on your system, empty your trash bin, and delete any unwanted files from all common locations.


iMac Monitor Computers

The next time you find Apple device faced with the sleep-wake failure problem, don’t panic just yet. If you are running High Sierra or other latest MacOS versions, you have seven solutions to try.

First, you may need to check your Apple device’s power and screen brightness. It could be the case of your Mac just sleeping.

You can also switch it off then turn it on so you can give your Mac a fresh start. There could be many processes running in the background that your computer can no longer deal with them.

You may also perform an SMC and NVRAM reset. This is a popular troubleshooting method to resolve issues with power and display.

If none of the solutions worked so far, you may try to reinstall your MacOS. Relax, you can always perform this solution without having to lose your important files.

Another solution you can try is to disable system hibernation. If it does not work, try resetting your Mac’s FileVault. It is possible that a glitch is keeping your system from recovering the files and contents on your hard drive. As a result, it cannot wake your Mac computer from sleep.

Finally, just get rid of junk files. These unwanted files could be consuming a significant chunk of your space; hence the sleep-wake failure problem.

What’s Next?

Are you still having the sleep-wake failure problem? The best thing you should do is to contact Apple’s support team or bring your Mac to the nearest Apple Store for service.

Though it rarely happens, it is possible that a hardware problem is keeping your Apple device from waking up from sleep. Just make sure you contact authorized support or a legit repair center for the best results.

Let us know what solutions solved your Mac sleep-wake failure problems. Comment them below!

1 thought on “7 Ways to Fix Mac Sleep-Wake Failure Problems
  1. UKRefugee
    December 10, 2021, 1:42 AM

    I purchased a refurbished MacBook Air and upgraded the hard drive and got the sleep/wake failure. I tried everything on this list including the OS reinstall. By process of elimination the SMC/DVRAM reset through Terminal seems to be the one that worked – Thanks!

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