So I’m sitting here Sunday evening, enjoying the last few hours of the weekend. In my home office, my 2018 MacBook Pro has been running for the past 50 hours or so and I haven’t touched it once. This is not at all unusual for a weekend.
Is there any reason to NOT shut it down when I know I’m not going to be using it, overnight or longer? Does the Mac do any system maintenance when unattended that I should allow to continue?
OTOH, is there any reason to shut it down? How much electricity does it use when idle? The external display is dark.
Whether or not to shut off a computer when not using it has been a matter of debate for decades. I’m of the school to leave it on because power cycling causes the most stress on components. We’ve got five desktop Macs (2 iMacs, 3 minis) and never turn them off. The oldest is a 2009 mini. The only one that has ever had a repair is a 2012 mini (bought in 2014) used as our server computer which had a hard drive get flakey so I replaced it with an SSD. The iMacs were bought in 2014 and 2017 – no repairs.
Honestly, I think you can do as please. The Mac runs some maintenance some times, but if you would like to power it down, do that. If you would like not to, then don’t.
I have 12" MacBook, it is my portable Mac for work, and I use it, when I am not using my iMac at work. Because the 12" MacBook is in my backpack along with my keys and my lunch and all my other stuff, I take it home with me every day and weekend.
In the weekends it is not in use at all. As in ever. But I never turn it off.
I am too schooled from having used portables only from 2009-2016, so I just open the lid and is off to the races, and if I have any projects or apps running, they are just right there, ready to go.
If it is good to the hardware or not, what stress it puts on it. I think we are beyond that. Does one hurt more than the other. Maybe, but that’s a deep rabbit hole to jump into.
There may have once been a time when powercycling caused stress on a computer, but that time is long gone; shut it down or not as you feel the need. Shutting it down has the advantage of reducing wear on fans (unless you put your computer to sleep), but I think the biggest reason to shut down once is that your computer comes up in a clean state: even the best desktop OSs still seem to exhibit bits of occasional weirdness with months of uptime.
On the other hand, not shutting down means that your computer is always ready for you, with your apps already open and windows just where your want them, which is no small thing either.
I have an older MBP running 24/7 as a home server, and another for work that gets shut down twice each day when I travel to/from work. My 2007 MBP ran litterally for years with only occasional reboots.
I usually close the cover and sleep my MacBook Pro, when it’s not in use, overnight, etc. It may get shut down once a week, not always. The usual reason for shutdown is some misbehavior from an app – not every app is cool with sleeping. (I’m looking at you iMazing.) Daytimes, I’m using the laptop 60-70% of the time from 4:30 am to 10 pm. I throw it in pack; carry it around from one place to another. It’s very reliable. Since the Watch unlocks it every time I open it, it’s no hassle just to keep it running.
I have a Keyboard Maestro macro as well that quits all apps besides my writing apps. This is mainly so that I can start writing in the morning without getting distracted by the mail app or Safari etc. But it also diminishes the need to shut down the Mac. I start pretty clean each morning …
I guess the only good reason to turn it off is saving energy and paying less. Energy is more expensive in Germany than it is in other countries, so I am a little more sensitive to this topic. As most times, it is a question of scale… if you only have one Mac it makes almost no difference. If you leave on many devices the amount adds up… also from an environmental point of view. I personally tend to turn my Mac off at night or use standby mode.