Anyone else use a MacBook Pro with an External Display and find waking from sleep to be very slow?

I don’t know if it’s because I bought a cheap display but I’ve had the same issue with my old 2014 MacBook Pro and now my 2019 MacBook Pro. The only difference now is the 2019 is going through a dongle with power and HDMI but the 2014 used the built-in HDMI and still had the same issue. So I don’t think it’s the dongle’s fault.

Without using a monitor in clamshell mode the MacBook Pro wakes instantly. If I put it to sleep with the external monitor connected and go away and come back I have to shake the mouse and press a button on the keyboard at least 50 times before everything comes on and I can log in. This gets very annoying fast.

I’m wondering if anyone else is having this problem? What monitors are you using with your MacBook’s in clamshell mode?

I haven’t seen then. Earlier this year I had a 2013 MBP connected directly to a Dell monitor. Now I have a 2018 MBP connected via a USB-C hub. It usually wakes up quickly. Occasionally it takes a few seconds but that happen whether I’m connected to an external display or not.

Do you have a link to your type of monitor?

In troubleshooting third-party SSD issues, I learned that there are different depths of sleep for Mac laptops. It could be that with an external monitor and mouse connected, the laptop goes into a deeper sleep mode, since the laptop knows it is not portable at that time. Speculation on my part.

I don’t think I’ve ever had it take quite as long as you’re describing, but I’ve seen my share of weirdness waking Mac laptops connected to external displays (including just not waking and all and requiring a forced reboot). It’s one of the reasons I’ve moved to an iMac.

Sounds like it is your monitor. I would ping Dave Hamilton at On his Mac Geek Gab podcast he talked about a while back buying a 4K monitor from Monoprice and had issues with it waking from sleep. He worked with Monoprice and determined why that particular monitor had the issue and got a different one from them that worked fine.

I’ve had that problem with a 30" cinema display driven through a dual link DVI adapter because the adapter would loose power when the laptop went to sleep. Connecting to permanent external power solved that problem but that type of issue doesn’t apply here.


I’ve seen someone else on MPU forum talk about this podcast and if I remember correctly it was something to do with a 8-bit or 10-bit monitor?

I’ve been trying to find that podcast episode but I’m coming up short.

I’m using a Dell SE2417HG.

That could be it. I wasn’t able to find the episode either. I’d ping him at his feedback email address, I’m sure he will reply.

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I’ve had this issue with a 2018 MacBook Pro 15-inch. My hypothesis is it has something to do with switching to the discrete graphics card that is automatically used when connecting to an external monitor. When the computer goes to sleep, it switches back to integrated graphics and has trouble switching to discrete. So my workaround is setting my display to never turn-off and preventing the computer from sleeping.

So far, the issue hasn’t reappeared.

I have a 13-inch MacBook Pro which doesn’t have the two graphic cards.

I prefer my Mac sleep so that it locks and doesn’t use much power. I’m really thinking it’s something to do with the monitor itself.

So far I’ve reset the NVRAM and it seems to have fixed the issue for now.

I don’t have to press a button the keyboard 50 times to have the screen come on, only need to do it once now. I’m wondering if me going from clamshell to laptop mode often is causing this issue?

I have a mid 2014 MacBook Pro, it’s been hooked up to an external display for the last 2 years. It’s hooked up to a Dell 27 Ultra HD 4K Monitor P2715Q via Thunderbolt. Never had an issue. I click the keyboard once, or move my mouse, and that’s all. Maybe the monitor? Sometimes I have it in clamshell, sometimes I just leave it open.

A little update if anyone else is having this issue.

Reseting the NVRAM did help but eventually the problem came back.

I think my problem is not the Mac or the display but instead my keyboard and mouse. I use a bluetooth mouse and keyboard with my Mac, the keyboard is the Apple Keyboard with number pad. The battery on the keyboard started to die so I charged it this time through my USBC hub connected to the Mac instead of the normal wall charger. I left it and now when I hit a button on the keyboard with it connected via usb the display comes on within 2 seconds like it should.

I’m guessing the bluetooth mouse and keyboard go into a deep sleep and so does the Mac. Both don’t seem to want to wake up or get mixed signals. The bluetooth Apple keyboard must work through the USB when plugged in as I’m not having any issues anymore.

So if you’re having this issue it might be worth it to use a physical connection to your Mac with your keyboard. This would have been an issue for me before I got the new MacBook with the USBC but it’s not a huge deals since dongles make this a non-issue - only one thing to plug-in and that is the dongle.

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The latest Mojave release is to address sleep/wake issues.