Could use some Wake-on-LAN or similar help

Have Plex sitting on a Mac Mini on the desk in another room. Headless. No monitor, keyboard, or mouse. I can connect to it from my MacBook via screen sharing with no issues as long as the Mini is still awake. And I do have Wake-on-LAN enabled the Mini (2012 model, 3rd Gen Core i7, running Catalina).

But once the Mini has gone to sleep, no luck. Plex can’t see the server, and I can’t connect to the box with screen sharing. I had assumed that WOL enabled by itself would make this work, but I guess not? I read that it doesn’t work for WiFi, so I connected the Mini to the router (Netgear Nighthawk R7000) via Ethernet, but still no luck.

I feel like I’m missing something obvious here (other than never letting the machine sleep :slight_smile: ), any ideas? Thanks in advance!

I do not know very much about screen sharing as I use Jump to access my Mac remotely, so take everything with a grain of salt:

  1. Wake-on-Lan is not the same as Wake on Demand. Wake on LAN is an active way of waking up a Mac. Wake on Demand is something Apple has created as far as I know. Wake on Demand wakes a Mac very easily. If it does work, it just works… :wink: Read more about Wake on Demand at, especially the section Setting up Bonjour Sleep Proxy and Wake on Demand. Screen Sharing should be able to use Wake on Demand if everything is configured correctly. Unfortunately, Apple does not seem to do very much with Wake on Demand these days. The article I linked to has been archived… :frowning: I do not think that Plex has any Wake on Demand capabilities, but I might be wrong. Wake On Demand wakes your Mac if it is being contacted using Bonjour.

  2. Wake on LAN is something that works on any platform, if configured correctly (somewhat complicated). There are “Magic Packets” that are being sent to the Mac address of the network adapter of your Mac. Historically, it did not work via WiFi, but it CAN work via WiFi. You have to make sure that those “Magic Packets” do reach their target in order to successfully wake a device. Those packets have to be sent actively. As far as I know, Plex does nothing like that.

If you are running a Plex server on your Mac, the Mac basically has to be awake. A Plex client will not wake the Mac on its own.

I might be wrong with some of the stuff above, but that is how I have experienced it.

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Thx very much! Leaving the box on isn’t the end of the world, but I figured I’d avoid it if easy. Thanks for the clarification.

I did the WOL dance for some time and it worked for me. But it really did not work in combination with family members… :slight_smile:

I did not like my Mac running 24/7, so I went down the NAS route with a Plex server running on it (17 watts power consumption). The NAS starts in the morning and shuts down late in the evening. Of course that is also something you could do with the Mac Mini: plan the time when the Mac needs to be awake.

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As others have said, you’re best to just leave the Mac on 24/7. Without a monitor, the electricity usage is minimal.


Sometimes a Mac just insist in dozing off. To make sure its stays awake I use a Mouse Jiggler.

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Thx, for that elsewhere I just do this: