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macOS System Sleep Issues: Apple Mail a Possible Factor?

Note: due to travel and limited bandwidth, I have not installed macOS Mojave updates lately, and my 2019 Mac Pro with macOS Catalina is at home, so I have not been running Catalina for weeks.

See also system sleep.

Don H writes:

With an absolutely clean install of Mojave and painstaking migration of all my files and preferences by hand (not using Migration Assistant) I’m now having a problem with the 2013 Mac Pro waking, where the screen will come up all wonky at times, the Dock won’t appear for 30 seconds, and the seconds on the menu bar clock stall for over a minute. The rest of the UI will be frozen during all this, making the machine unusable. The first few days after the Mojave upgrade/install everything seemed fine, but recently it has developed the problem as described.

What seems to make a difference is whether I have Mail running or not when waking from sleep. It looks like that might be a connection, but the problem is intermittent so I’m still gathering troubleshooting data.

My mail configuration includes a lot of sorting rules and archive mailboxes (I have retained every message I’ve ever sent or received since the early 90s when POP first became usable) so it’s not a trivial number of messages or mailboxes. But all of this worked fine in Mavericks (and Snow Leopard, and all previous OS versions I’ve used), so I know it’s actually possible to maintain this large of a message count.

Anyway, I just thought I’d relay my experience with this problem. I have no idea if it’s at all related to what you’re seeing with Catalina but it might be worth isolating Mail if you haven’t already done so.

... PowerNap one of the first things I turned off. It turns out this machine doesn’t support it anyway.

I’m also a little dismayed that the Energy Saver control panel has dumbed things down even more than before, with no separate setting for computer sleep (independent of the display sleep setting).

... I performed the initial Mojave installation last Thursday with a stand-alone installer that I downloaded direct from Apple, and then after setting up an admin account performed the trick you wrote about to disable Catalina upgrade nags. (It turns out if you do that *after* installing any other updates the nagging will turn off but you’ll still be left with a permanent ‘1’ badge on the Preferences app icon.) Then I installed all the latest Safari and security updates before doing anything else. So this installation is *clean*.

MPG: I suppose it would take only one bug in one program to schedule some kind of system wakeup? I turn off all features that might cause the system to wake up, and it still won’t sleep on Catalina (but Don H’s issue in on Mojave).

In my case it’s not that the computer is waking up on its own or won’t sleep, but instead when I intentionally wake it myself to use it the screen takes a long time to illuminate and the system freezes up for a minute or more.

Also, for what it’s worth, I do have a user-specified wake-up routine, namely Carbon Copy Cloner wakes the machine at 4:30am on Sunday morning and performs a weekly boot disk clone including checks for bad files (which takes an hour to run). But otherwise the machine isn’t sporadically waking on its own.

And, by the way, there are two key combos you might want to use at times:
Control-Shift-Eject (all on the right edge of a standard keyboard) will sleep the display on demand (no need for hot corners with the mouse)
Command-Option-Eject will sleep the computer on demand (which includes the display). I use those all the time, and as an old habit I hit the Shift key to wake a computer, which ensures that no unintentional keyboard input gets applied to whatever window has the top focus.

As to no separate preference for computer sleep vs display sleep, the engineer who thought that one up should be summarily fired for wasting megawatts of power; I am forced to click the Prevent computer frin sleeping automatically... option, thus wasting considerable power year in and year out. What I need is a separate sleep setting or the computer, which might be one or two hours, and one for the display e.g., 5 minutes.

System Preferences => Energy Saver

Michael G writes:

I have no clue about how to fix MacOS bugs, but have you considered using the pmset terminal command for adjusting the sleep time? You know - the sliders that Apple took away.

ere’s a convenient listing of pmset commands. Dunno if these will help you or not. https://eclecticlight.co/2017/01/20/power-management-in-detail-using-pmset/

DIGLLOYD: good idea! Though I don’t know if all settings work here in 2020.

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